CBC News is broadcasting the press conference live above.
Ontario reported 2,791 more cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of 25 more people with the disease on Tuesday.
The last time the daily number of cases was below 3,000 in the province was almost a month ago, on April 5. It is also the fewest new infections reported in a single day since April 1.
Notably, however, Tuesdays frequently see the lowest number of new cases compared to other days of the week, possibly due to the processing of weekend tests on Monday.
Today’s tally comes as labs performed just 33,740 tests and Public Health Ontario recorded a province-wide positivity rate of 9.1%. Officials said Monday the average seven-day test positivity rate was 8.3%.
As of Tuesday, 3,265 more cases were confirmed with roughly the same number of tests processed and a 10.2 percent positivity rate.
This could indicate that the growth of infections is continuing its recent slowing trend, but definitive conclusions cannot be drawn from any day of data.It is also possible that the relatively low overall test numbers of recent weeks and high positivity them. rates mean infections are unconfirmed.
Additional cases reported today include:
- 931 in Toronto
- 653 in Peel Region
- 275 in York Region
- 147 in Durham Region
- 128 in Hamilton
- 112 in Ottawa
- 101 in Halton Region
The seven-day average fell to 3,509, its lowest point in more than three weeks. The indicator has been declining steadily since its pandemic high of 4370 on April 17.
Distance learning will be available during the next school year
At a press conference on Tuesday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the province wanted children to return to school this spring and would continue to seek advice from the medical officer of health “on the way forward.”
Lecce, however, did not provide details on the return of students to class for the remainder of the current school year.
“We will not take risks with your child,” he said.
The province also announced Tuesday that it is planning another year of temporary COVID-19 funding for schools, totaling more than $ 1.6 million.
This funding includes support for higher operating costs related to ventilation systems, filter replacement, distance learning, staffing, and “learning recovery and renewal”.
Provincial officials confirmed on Tuesday that distance learning will be available during the next school year for families who choose to take advantage of it.
The province also says part of the funding for the 2020-2021 school year will be maintained for the next school year, for things like personal protective equipment and supplies, public health nurses and asymptomatic testing. , as well as for special education and mental health.
Schools are told to budget about half of these resources for the first half of the school year, including access to 1% of their reserves.
The province says it will confirm the use of remaining funding in the fall if necessary – based on vaccine distribution in the province and public health advice.
NDP calls on long-term care minister to step down
Meanwhile, Ontario Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton has faced an opposition call to step down from her Cabinet post following two reports examining the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by his ministry.
A series of questions from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath about when Fullerton learned that some residents had died from dehydration or basic neglect sparked a tense exchange between the two.
WATCH | Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care responds to calls for her to step down amid a tense exchange:
“The premise of your question borders on obscene,” Fullerton said. “And the reason is that the whole ministry, public health, medical officers of health, thousands of people worked to consolidate these homes and they were not up to COVID-19. “
Fullerton said some long-term care homes became “war zones” days after the first confirmed cases appeared among residents and staff.
“What we were doing around the clock was trying to get support in these homes, with an unknown virus that was not fully understood and a shortage of supplies around the world,” he said. she adds.
Fullerton then said the NDP did not put pressure on the former Liberal government to address the troubled long-term care sector in Ontario.
“Look at your failure. I will let pick up the pieces of 15 devastating years of neglect, ”she said. “I will not be spoken of in this way by the Leader of the Opposition who neglected this sector. “
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk and the Ontario COVID-19 Long-Term Care Commission both released their respective reports last week. As polls examined different aspects of the impact of COVID-19 on the long-term care sector, they came to similar conclusions: The ministry was not prepared for a pandemic, in part due to years of inaction to prevent a crisis.
In recent days, Fullerton has been pressed to explicitly acknowledge whether she feels she shares responsibility for the more than 3,700 deaths of long-term care residents with COVID-19 in Ontario.
“I’ve said before that I’m committed to making long-term care a better place to live, a better place to work. These lost lives cannot be wasted, ”she said this morning.
More Pfizer vaccines are expected to arrive this week
3,323 other cases were marked resolved in today’s provincial update. There are approximately 36,440 confirmed active infections across Ontario.
Yesterday, there were 2,167 people with COVID-19-related illnesses in hospitals, of which 886 were being treated in intensive care units, according to the Department of Health. Of these, 609 required ventilators to breathe.
Critical Care Services Ontario, an agency that does internal reporting for hospitals and health organizations, said 64 more patients were referred to ICUs yesterday. New daily intensive care admissions remained high, with patients spending an average of 11.4 days in intensive care units.
The remaining 25 COVID-related deaths bring Ontario’s official death toll to 8,143 people. The seven-day average of daily deaths edged down to 25.6 from 26.1
Public health units collectively administered 88,871 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, the province said. Some 378,085 people received the two vaccines.
Ontario has distributed 5,467,120 doses, or almost 97%, of the 5,644,975 doses received to date. A shipment of 786,240 additional injections of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to arrive this week.