Spread of COVID-19 in the community remains stubbornly high, says Ontario’s top doctor


The spread of COVID-19 from person to person in the community is stubbornly persistent and difficult to pinpoint, says the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario.

“It still puzzles me that we are not making significant progress,” said Dr. David Williams at a press conference on Friday, as the daily number of community transmission cases stuck in the 200 range and the total number of deaths from the epidemic exceeded 1,600.

But with public health units across the province struggling to track down about 2,000 more positive Ontarians each week, it’s hard to find sources of infection.

There is a backlog of 6,727 cases awaiting investigation – 34% of the province’s official count since the end of January.

This is where the most subtle details will be found, perhaps in a cluster of cases from a party or a store, Williams said.

“We want to move on to this type of intense case contact management to examine these areas,” said Williams. “We have to come up with this kind of granularity. “

He said that 55 percent of all new cases appear to be some sort of community-based transmission, the rest mostly in nursing homes.

He reiterated his call for people to stand two meters apart, wash their hands frequently and wear a mask or other face covering in tight areas where physical distance is difficult – especially with garden centers and hardware stores opening this weekend and other retailers with authorized street entrances. to allow curbside pickup from Monday.

“Be disciplined … or we’ll be in that plateau for a while,” warned Williams, who set his threshold to recommend further relaxation of store opening restrictions and other measures at community spread rates “well less than “200 cases per day.

A Star compilation of data from regional health units at 5 p.m. Friday, 417 new confirmed or probable cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours, increasing the number of COVID-19 infections to 20,948 since the start of l epidemic in late January.

There were 58 additional deaths, bringing the total to 1,648. This is eight times higher than the same period last month.

At least 1,150 of the deaths have occurred in nursing homes where the new coronavirus has spread rapidly, according to figures from the Ministry of Long-Term Care released on Friday.

New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath Renewed Calls for Independent Public Inquiry into Long-Term Care, Including Review of the Role of For-Profit Homes, Which According to the Ontario Health Coalition, Have a Mortality Rate higher than non-profit organizations or long-term care facilities owned by the municipality.

Outbreaks have occurred in 175 of more than 600 nursing homes in the province, where 2,782 residents and 1,707 workers have COVID-19, resulting in staff shortages.

Premier Doug Ford acknowledged that the nursing home system, which was under pressure before the pandemic, is “broken” and needs a review, but has ducked questions about whether it will call for an investigation.

The Department of Health reported that there were 1,043 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, a number which has increased from 800 in the past two weeks as more residents of nursing homes have been referred for treatment.

There were 223 intensive care patients, including 166 on respirators.

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Nearly 13,000 Ontarians with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered.

After missing the target of 16,000 daily tests for most of the week, the province’s laboratories provided results on 16,295 samples on Thursday, the health ministry said.

Ontario’s laboratory testing capacity has been increased by about 1,200 in the past week and can now process 20,697 samples per day, said Williams.

At least 4,471 Canadians have died from the highly contagious new coronavirus, of which 65,399 have tested positive. Thousands of others with mild or moderate symptoms have never been checked.

Rob Ferguson


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