Ontario reports 103 new COVID-19 cases, uptick in hospitalizations
31 of 34 public health units will be in Stage 3 of reopening by tomorrow
Ontario reported an additional 103 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the second-fewest on any single day in July so far— but also saw a significant jump in hospitalizations.
The news comes after several days of new case numbers that Health Minister Christine Elliott called "concerning."
There are now 1,492 active cases of COVID-19 provincewide.
The number of patients in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise again and is now up to 154, up 28 from yesterday, after hitting a low of 101 earlier this month. Thirty-five of those patients are being treated in intensive care units, and 19 are on ventilators.
The province's official death toll stayed put, with no new deaths reported today. A CBC News count based on data provided directly by public health units — a measure that avoids lag times in provincial reporting — puts the real current toll at 2,789 as of yesterday evening.
At a news conference Thursday, Premier Doug Ford said he was pleased to see Ontario's new daily cases coming down, adding he's confident the province is well positioned for a possible second wave of the virus.
"We're equipped. We're ready more than we've ever been ready for a second wave, flu season," Ford said, pointing to the province processing some 20,000 tests daily and an increase in the availability of personal protective equipment.
Ford also doubled down on his goal to see children back in school five days a week come September.
Meanwhile, Ontario's network of labs processed 26,001 tests for the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours. Another 21,825 samples are in the queue waiting to be completed.
Meanwhile, 28 of the province's 34 public health units confirmed five or fewer cases today. Of those 28, 21 saw no new infections at all.
Ottawa, which has seen a recent spike in new daily cases, reported just 14. Windsor-Essex, another region that has dealt with relatively higher case numbers in recent days, confirmed 23 cases.
Peel Region reported 15 new cases, and Toronto 24.
As of 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, 31 public health units will have moved into Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan. Only Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will remain in Stage 2.
Ontario has seen a total of 38,210 confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus since the outbreak began in late January. Of those, nearly 89 per cent are considered resolved by the Ministry of Health. Another 151 were marked resolved today.
Several unions call for end to for-profit long-term care
Also Thursday, several unions issued a call for an end to for-profit companies in long-term care.
The unions point out COVID-19 has hit for-profit homes harder than their non-profit or municipally run counterparts.
For example, 13 of the worst-hit facilities in Ontario are owned by money-making businesses. Studies have attributed that in part to lower staffing levels.
While the unions' campaign is initially aimed at the Ontario government, the plan is to take it nationally.
The Progressive Conservative government under Ford has previously said a commission will review long term care.
Asked for his response to the call, Ford made no firm commitments, but cited a working group tasked with examining long-term care, saying an announcement will be coming by the end of the month.
"Everything is on the table," he said.
With files from Lucas Powers and The Canadian Press