Ontario reports 112 new cases of COVID-19, uptick in hospitalizations

·3 min read
Ontario reports 112 new cases of COVID-19, uptick in hospitalizations

Ontario reported an additional 112 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with the majority concentrated in the Greater Toronto Area.

The new numbers bring the province's total to 42,421 cases since the outbreak began in late January.

Tuesday's epidemiological survey shows the majority of the cases are concentrated in the Greater Toronto Area with Peel, York, and Toronto recording 28, 28, and 26 cases respectively.

Windsor is also back up in the double digits with 11 new cases after reporting five cases yesterday and six cases on Sunday.

Ottawa saw just eight newly confirmed infections after reporting 21 in yesterday's provincial update.

Within the province's 34 health units, 27 reported five or fewer cases. Of those 27, 18 saw no new cases at all.

The 0.3 per cent increase in total cases comes as the province's network of community, commercial and hospital labs processed more than 23,500 test samples for the virus on Monday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a series of tweets. More than 700,000 tests have been processed in Ontario this month so far, with a positivity rate below 0.4 per cent.

Surgery backlog could take 84 weeks to clear: study

Also Tuesday, a new study suggests it could take more than a year and a half to clear the backlog of surgeries in Ontario hospitals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Modelling research published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says the estimated time to clear surgeries postponed due to the pandemic is 84 weeks, with a target of 717 surgeries per week.

The provincial government instructed Ontario hospitals to cancel elective surgeries and other activities deemed not urgent in mid-March to prepare for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients.

That directive was lifted in late May and hospitals gradually resumed performing those surgeries.

The study says that between March 15 and June 13, Ontario hospitals accrued a backlog of 148,364 procedures.

Its authors say the data will play an important role in health planning moving forward, and the modelling framework can be adapted to other jurisdictions.

School boards may have to collapse some classrooms

Meanwhile, the head of Ontario's trustees association says school boards will have no choice but to combine and collapse some classrooms as school starts this fall.

Cathy Abraham, who is president of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association, says the decisions will vary at different boards, and possibly happen on a school-to-school basis.

She says combined classes will occur despite there being fewer children in schools as some parents opt to keep their children at home for online learning because of COVID-19.

WATCH: Ontario education minister asked about combining and collapsing classrooms

Abraham says boards must adhere to funding agreements struck with the Ontario government which means class sizes will remain the same despite the student opt outs.

That may mean classes are collapsed, or split classes created, to reach the right government-approved levels in schools.

Premier Doug Ford said yesterday that he was not aware of boards collapsing classes, but acknowledged it could be occurring.

Uptick in hospitalizations, drop in patients in ICUs

The provincial numbers also show an uptick in hospitalizations, with 65 patients with confirmed cases of COVD-19 currently admitted to the hospital.

Ontario's official COVID-19 death toll grew by one and now sits at 2,812. However, a CBC News count based on data from public health units, a measure that avoids lag times in the provincial reporting system, puts the actual toll at 2,841.

Despite the increase in hospitalizations, the number of patients in the ICU and on a ventilator have decreased. Today, there are 17 patients being treated in intensive care, five of whom are on ventilators.

All of the figures in this story can be found in the Ministry of Health's daily update, which includes data 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.