Ford promises 'positive' COVID-19 report as Ontario confirms 834 new cases

·4 min read

Premier Doug Ford said a "positive" projection report on COVID-19 numbers in Ontario is coming from the government Thursday, even as Ontario's seven-day average of new cases hit a record high today.

Ontario reported another 834 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, driving the seven-day average up while the number of tests being processed stayed well below capacity for a third day.

Ford said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown will present a report showing the spread of the virus is going "downwards."

"That's really positive," Ford said. The premier also said he understands people are feeling fatigued as the pandemic has stretched on for several months.

"You see the fatigue out there, you see people frustrated … I'm here to give them hope," Ford said.

Consistent with recent months, most of the newly confirmed cases in today's report were found in four public health units:

  • Toronto: 299

  • Peel Region: 186

  • York Region: 121

  • Ottawa: 76

The seven-day average of new daily cases, a measure that helps limit noise in the data to provide a clearer picture of longer-term trends, rose to 886. That's the highest the average has been at any point in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario's labs processed just 30,010 tests for the novel coronavirus, despite capacity for around 45,000 daily.

The relatively low number of tests means there was, roughly, a 2.8 per cent positivity rate, down from yesterday's record high of about 3.45 per cent but still above the threshold for serious concern (2.5 per cent), according to Ontario's own public health standards.

More positively, however, after several consecutive days of a markedly lower number of samples being collected for processing, some 41,000 were taken since the last provincial update. That suggests that the level of tests being processed could potentially rebound by tomorrow.

At the province's daily news conference Wednesday, Ford was asked if the parts of the province that have been placed in a "modified Stage 2" would see things like gyms and restaurants reopen in November. When restrictions were put in place in those regions, they were to last for at least 28 days.

Ford did not give a firm answer, but did say that nobody wants to open the economy up more than him — a phrase he has used multiple times when asked similar questions over the last several months.

"We have to be collaborative, we have to work together," Ford said.

Meanwhile, the number of people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 stayed steady Wednesday at 312. Those being treated in intensive care dropped by four down to 71, and the number of patients on ventilators fell slightly to 51.

Five more COVID-19-linked deaths were added to the province's toll, which now stands at 3,108.

Ontario has now seen 72,885 confirmed cases of the illness since the first was reported on January 25. About 85 per cent of all cases were resolved.

There are currently 7,474 confirmed, active infections of the novel coronavirus provincewide, a new record high.

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health's daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoid lag times found in the provincial system.)

Province orders hospital management at Niagara Falls LTC Home

On Wednesday, the province issued a mandatory management order requiring the Millennium Trail Manor long-term care home in Niagara Falls to be temporarily managed by Niagara Health System.

The hospital will manage the home for 90 days following increasing numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents and staff.

"We are grateful to the Niagara Health System and Millennium Trail Manor for working together to stabilize the home and stop the COVID-19 outbreak," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, the minister of long-term care, in a provincial release.

The ministry has previously issued four mandatory management orders to hand over management of long-term care homes to hospitals.