Ontario reported 114 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 42,309.
It’s a similar increase compared to Sunday, when 112 cases were reported.
“Locally, 30 of Ontario’s 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with 18 reporting no new cases,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.
Forty-one cases are from Toronto, 21 from Ottawa, 16 from Peel Region, and 12 from York Region.
A total of 38,277 cases are considered resolved which is over 90 per cent of all confirmed cases.
Elliott said the province processed nearly 25,100 additional tests.
Ontario has now reported 100 or more COVID-19 cases in 10 of the last 11 days.
One new death was also announced on Monday, bringing the provincial death toll to 2,811.
A total of 49 people are hospitalized with the virus (down by two), with 18 in intensive care (down by two) and nine on a ventilator (down by one).
The province notes that not all hospitals have reported patient statuses for Aug. 29 — as is often the case on weekends — likely causing the reported number of hospitalizations to be lower than it actually is.
The newly reported numbers are valid as of 2 p.m. Sunday for Toronto, Ottawa and London and 4 p.m. for the rest of the province.
Here is a breakdown of Ontario’s cases by age and gender:
- 19,799 people are male
- 22,209 people are female
- 2,798 people are 19 and under
- 13,276 people are 20 to 39
- 12,590 people are 40 to 59
- 7,539 people are 60 to 79
- 6,100 people are 80 and over
The province notes that not all cases have a reported age or gender.
According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 1,848 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is the same as in recent days. There are currently nine outbreaks in long-term care homes.
There are no active cases among long-term care residents and 19 among staff.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Toronto's top doctor issues 'warning to the entire city' as new cases surpass 200 in single day – Toronto Star
As new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto reach the highest point in the pandemic since May, city officials are moving for the first time to shut down establishments that have put members of the public at risk of virus spread.
On Friday afternoon, in a late-scheduled press conference, Dr. Eileen de Villa said there were 236 new cases and the first reported outbreak in a Toronto school with two students infected and more than two dozen isolating at home.
And the medical officer of health, under her own authority, has moved to close four “hospitality-focused” businesses that have flouted public health orders and thwarted investigators, including pressuring employees who are ill to continue working.
“An increase, day-over-day, of this scale is a warning to the entire city,” de Villa said, urging residents to stay six feet apart whenever they can from anyone they don’t live with, wear a mask and wash their hands.
De Villa said “several concerning factors” led to the orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, including: Several infected employees working at multiple locations; illegal buffet dining; unco-operative business owners hampering investigative efforts; and staff working while ill and concerns of staff being pressured to do so.
“These factors combined to create a significant risk to efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
With the orders still outstanding Friday afternoon, de Villa promised to update the public on the names and locations of the businesses once orders were served.
The steps taken Friday are the first time the city is acting to close businesses outside of provincial orders after the province claimed bars and restaurants were not to blame.
On Friday, Toronto Public Health posted the first detailed example of virus spread demonstrating how a night out led to at least 20 confirmed cases and dozens of high- or low-risk contacts across three separate bars and how the infection spread from one place to the next.
“A powerful reminder that #COVID19 spreads when given the chance & we all need to take steps for self-protection: here’s a real-world example of how 1 night out in TO led to 20 cases & at least 80 people exposed to the virus who had to self-monitor, self-isolate & get tested,” the tweet said, showing a chart of cases and contacts across the three locations.
Friday’s new case number is the largest single-day total the city has reported since May 22.
According to the Star’s daily count, the city has averaged 167 new cases each day this week, the highest its seven-day average has been since early June.
That average has been accelerating since the city entered Stage 3 or reopening on July 31, and has more than doubled in just the last eight days.
In early August, Toronto was seeing as few as 13 cases reported each day on average.
Like much of Ontario, Toronto was hit hard in the spring by institutional outbreaks in long-term-care homes and hospitals, and by mid-April these vulnerable settings accounted for the largest share of total cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
So far in the fall, the city is not yet reporting a similar rise in new institutional outbreaks. According to city data, the recent spike has been mostly driven by close contact in non-outbreak settings, such as at home, and by untraceable spread in the community.
The numbers account for more than half of the province’s total Friday and came as Premier Doug Ford announced the province would restrict bars open hours and shut strip clubs.
The limit on drinking in bars comes more than two months after the city requested the province make those rules — ahead of Stage 3 — to help reduce the risk of virus spread.
On Friday, when pressed by a reporter on why it took so long to implement those measures, Ford said they were being “cautious,” noting an earlier decline in cases.
Meanwhile all but one of Toronto’s health indicators on its online dashboard were yellow or red. Only the percentage of positive test results, at 1.9 per cent, was green.
But Dr. Irfan Dhalla, a vice-president and general internist at St. Michael’s Hospital, tweeted even that number may be troubling, saying other targets are much lower than the city’s 10 per cent — less than 0.1 per cent or between 0.1 and 1 per cent.
“So, really, there’s nothing green anymore on Toronto’s scorecard,” he wrote Friday.
Asked how the current case count will affect schools, de Villa said the first outbreak was expected and she anticipates more in future.
Two students at Glen Park Public School, near Bathurst Street and Lawrence Avenue West, have tested positive and are isolating at home. As a precaution, a teacher and two classes, with 35 students total, are also isolating.
A total of 28 other schools in the Toronto District School Board were also reporting cases, for a total of 20 infected students and 14 infected teachers. Richview Collegiate had the most, with three infected students.
The Toronto Catholic District School Board reported eight infected students and three infected staff at 10 schools.
Glen Park is the only Toronto school that meets Ontario’s “outbreak” definition of at least two cases where at least one is “linked to a school setting,” de Villa said. That suggests one student infected another, as opposed to schools where all the infected students contracted the virus at home or another setting.
“This (outbreak) definition supports a swift response that will help manage the spread of COVID-19 aggressively …,” de Villa said.
The Star spoke to a mother of a 10-year-old girl at Glen Park Public School who was among the children sent home to isolate for two weeks.
“We are still on the fence on whether it is worth getting in a lineup for testing,” said the mother, who did not want her name used.
On Wednesday, she said, parents received information from Toronto Public Health saying there was a case of COVID in the school but weren’t given any additional details, such as the grade level, so they could prepare themselves.
“It was really frustrating. It’s a quite a big school and it would have been very helpful to get more information from Toronto Public Health,” she said.
On Friday morning, a new message from Toronto Public Health was waiting.
“I woke up to an email saying there was a case in her class and she would be isolated,” she said.
“There was definitely a sense of high anxiety among the parents initially. It’s not an email you want to get but you put it in perspective.”
It was “bad luck” that Glen Park ended up with positive cases of COVID, she said. Staff have worked hard to get the students familiar with safety practices like social distancing and cohorting classes.
“They have tried to do everything they can to prevent this. Everything is very well planned out. It’s well organized.
“Here, if they have to go to the bathroom every class has 15 minutes where they can go knowing there won’t be a big group of kids,” she said.
The email that detailed the rules for isolation was soon followed by a message from her daughter’s teacher who said classes would continue on Zoom with two or three sessions held each day.
“It was very reassuring,” the mother said. “They are going to learn a lot about resilience and flexibility from all of this.”
“It is obviously unfortunate but it is not unexpected,” said Ryan Bird, TDSB spokesperson.
“With the numbers continuing to climb in Toronto and elsewhere, we did anticipate that we would have these cases start popping up in our schools among our students and staff.”
Bird said the TDSB continues with “enhanced cleaning multiple times a day” along with requirements for universal masking among students and staff, proper physical distancing and hand washing.
In a statement Friday, Coun. Joe Cressy, the city’s board of health chair, warned the city was reaching a “dangerous tipping point in our battle with COVID-19” and risk of future lockdown.
“Other jurisdictions that have been successful at containing the virus have shown that we need policies that directly respond to the very real risks that we’re facing,” his statement said. “While today’s announcement is welcome news, we still need more proactive actions on the part of all governments — and we need it now.”
He said that includes boosting testing capacity across the province and the federal and provincial governments working to provide rapid testing options for those in high-risk workplaces.
Elsewhere, officials were being clear about telling people to stay apart.
Quebec Premier Christian Dubé asked residents to cancel their gatherings over the next few weeks, including Thanksgiving, the CBC reported Thursday, as the province remains the hardest hit by the virus in the country.
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Researchers whose projections for the spread of the novel coronavirus have proven grimly accurate for the United States say the number of deaths in Canada could surge dramatically late this year, unless measures change.
The latest model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington says Canada could see 16,214 deaths by Jan. 1. That number drops down to 12,053 fatalities if masks are universally worn by people across the country.
At least one expert has expressed doubt on the projections, however, saying they don’t take increased protections for vulnerable populations into account.
Since the coronavirus was first detected in Canada in January, 9,244 Canadians to date have died of complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Dr. Ali Mokdad, a member of the IHME’s senior management team and a professor of health metrics sciences, says the majority of the projected deaths will likely occur in December.
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“That’s when the weather will get much colder and align with what we see during a pneumonia season,” he said.
“We’re seeing the same pattern over and over between COVID-19 and pneumonia in every country in the southern hemisphere, and now that’s heading in our direction.”
While coronavirus cases have been surging across Canada over the past week, with over 1,000 new cases being reported daily, deaths have stayed relatively flat for months. The country hasn’t reported over 20 daily deaths since July 3, and has seen fewer than 10 nearly every day in September.
But Mokdad says that could change if cases don’t start trending downward. He pointed to the U.S., where deaths began spiking over 1,000 a day roughly a month after cases surged this past summer.
“We saw this in other countries too: when you start opening schools and businesses, who’s more likely to go there? The younger generation,” he said.
“But they don’t live in a bubble. So they’ll start interacting with their parents and grandparents, and that’s when you’ll start to see a spike in mortality.”
According to the IHME’s modelling, the majority of new deaths in Canada will be seen in Ontario and Quebec, which Mokdad says is based on population size. Ontario could rise from over 2,800 deaths now to 5,773 by Jan. 1 if measures stay the same. Quebec, which has seen more than 5,800 fatalities to date, is projected to jump to 9,825.
The death tolls in British Columbia and Alberta, the other two provinces currently driving up the national case numbers, are projected to remain relatively flat through the winter, according to the modelling.
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Stephen Hoption Cann, an infectious disease expert at the University of British Columbia, thinks the IHME’s model doesn’t reflect protections now in place for vulnerable people like the elderly, which could help limit any new deaths.
“We’re seeing more caution when it comes to long-term care residents, immune compromised people, where we’re limiting their interactions and keeping them protected,” he said.
That, coupled with the lower mortality rate among younger patients, makes Hoption Cann think the fall and winter could be less deadly than anticipated.
“So many people I talk to now who are in that older group, they simply don’t want to take the risk of opening themselves up to more interaction and the like,” he said. “So if that continues, we’ll be in a better place.”
What can bring the numbers down?
The IHME model has been considered a tentpole for data mappers during the pandemic and has been frequently cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. It has also largely aligned with projections from the country’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
After projecting earlier this year that the U.S. would surpass 200,000 deaths in September — which proved to be accurate — the model now estimates there could be up to 371,509 lives lost by Jan. 1.
Modelling released by the Public Health Agency of Canada on Tuesday only goes as far as early October, when it predicts Canada’s death toll will reach up to 9,300. However, it does suggest cases could see a major upswing through October into early November if measures aren’t tightened, potentially reaching up to 5,000 new cases daily.
While Hoption Cann says that upswing could lead to a surge in deaths a month later, he again said the majority of deaths projected by the IHME can be avoided.
“It all depends on what kind of further measures the provinces put in place to tamp down this rise in cases we’re seeing,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll see widespread business closures, but they’ll likely just ask people to kick what they’re already doing into a higher gear.”
Canada’s chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said this week that the current surge can be countered if people “redouble their efforts with personal precautions.” In his address to the nation Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed that plea and said he’s confident Canadians can “bend the curve” together again.
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Mokdad agreed, saying widespread mask-wearing could help control the spread of COVID-19.
“If 95 per cent of people in Canada wear a mask … you can avoid many of the cases and deaths that we are projecting,” he said.
“We can’t avoid new cases and deaths entirely, because we have schools and businesses open and the weather is getting colder. But masks can make a difference.”
Mokdad, who is watching the Canadian response to the pandemic from the U.S., says he admires the steps Ottawa has taken to help flatten the curve — particularly compared to the conflicting messages coming from Washington, D.C.
“(Canada) went by the book,” he said. “The lockdown early on, the testing, all was by the book. But the most important part that was done right was the cohesive national message given to the public.
“And Canadians have done a better job than Americans at following those messages.”
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With 20 years of experience working at the CDC before joining the IHME, he says it’s “frustrating” to watch the institution struggle to deliver a clear message to Americans.
“We have taught other countries how to handle situations like this one,” he said. “So when you’re watching people all over the world dealing with the pandemic, and you know that you taught them how to do it, and they have done what you taught them — why the people here are not doing the same thing here, and not being allowed to in some ways, it’s very frustrating.
“I’m a very optimistic guy. If we get our act together (in the United States), if we are united but not divided and let science dictate policies, then we can do what you guys have done.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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