Ontario reports missed COVID-19 cases, day after reopening plan revealed

Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott reported a "glitch" in the province's COVID-19 reporting Friday, which caused some cases to be missed.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 'glitch' caused 87 cases to be missed Thursday

Ontario reported 428 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, but Ontario's Health Minister says some of those were from the previous day, where a 'glitch' in the province's reporting caused some cases to be missed. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott reported a "glitch" in the province's COVID-19 reporting Friday, which caused some new cases to be missed in yesterday's update.

This comes a day after the province announced its plan for the first phase of reopening in the coming days.

"We've learned of a small glitch with yesterday's #COVID19 reporting," Elliott said in a tweet, moments before the province's new numbers were published this morning. 

"Because of a one-time data upload issue, yesterday missed 87 cases. While they're captured in today's update, the real day-over-day numbers are 345 new cases on May 14 and 341 today."

At the province's daily news briefing Friday afternoon, Elliott said the problem arose when cases out of Toronto weren't uploaded into Ontario's system.

"We don't expect it's going to be happening again," she said. "The number isn't as good as we thought yesterday, but it is still good."

The official reporting on the province's website listed 428 new cases of COVID-19 Friday. Ontario has seen 21,494 instances of COVID-19 since the outbreak began in late January, with slightly over 75 per cent now resolved.

There were initially 258 cases reported Thursday, when Premier Doug Ford said his government would be lifting some of its restrictions this weekend, before entering "phase one" of the reopening process on Tuesday. That actual number was 345 new cases.

Testing levels were again above the daily target, with 18,354 processed since the last update.

The province also reported 1,825 total deaths Friday, an increase of 27. But figures CBC News has collected from local public health units show at least 1,927 deaths.

The province's data from Friday reported 986 hospitalizations and 179 people in intensive care, which represents drops of 40 and five, respectively. There were also six fewer people reported to be on ventilators, with that number now standing at 135.

Ontario is reporting 1,320 resident deaths in long-term care facilities, alongside 186 current outbreaks in the province's 630 long-term care homes.

Barbara Yaffe, the province's associate chief medical officer of health, said Friday that health officials have almost finished universal and surveillance testing at Ontario's long-term care homes.

Now, she said, the province is planning to open up capacity to test more people at assessment centres, and is encouraging people who feel they need to be tested to go to those centres.

"Now we want to get a better picture of that's happening in the community," said Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health.

The Canadian Armed Forces also announced Friday that one member of the military stationed to help in a long-term care home in Ontario had contracted COVID-19.

The military says 275 members are currently stationed at five of the province's long-term care facilities.

First phase of reopening to happen in coming days

Ford announced yesterday that starting May 19, retail stores outside of shopping malls with street entrances can begin reopening with physical distancing measures. Outdoor recreational activities and many individual sport competitions will also get the green light starting Tuesday. 

Golf courses, marinas and private parks will be allowed to open earlier, starting Saturday. 

Ford said again Friday that businesses should only open if they're ready. 

"If businesses aren't ready to open … by all means, don't open up," Ford said.

Elliott also told reporters that provincial health officials are currently examining the idea of families "bubbling" or "cohorting" with other households, and expects to have more to say next week about the issue.

"That's something we're studying very closely right now," she said.

Ford says if businesses don't feel prepared to reopen next week, they don't have to. (Steve Russell/Pool/The Canadian Press)

Right now, Ontario's emergency legislation prohibits social gatherings of more than five people — even if held at a "private dwelling." The province's website states that everyone should practice physical distancing, which "means staying at least two metres away from anyone outside your household."

However, Ford did speak Friday about people seeing their grandchildren or kids.

"If you're going to have a barbeque, make sure to stay two metres away from each other," he said.

Williams said Friday that heading into the long weekend, the public needs to "maintain the discipline of distancing."

That means "stay home if you can," but also get out and enjoy spring weather in "a planned way," and wear masks in situations where you can't physically distance, he said.

"We're going to see how we do over this weekend," Williams said, adding that the province will be monitoring the first stage of its reopening for "at least two to three weeks."

1 in 3 workers affected by pandemic

Ontario's fiscal watchdog announced Friday that about one in three workers in the province has been affected by the economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Financial Accountability Office released the finding in a new report today on job losses in Ontario since the crisis began.

The FAO says an estimated 1.1 million workers in the province have lost their jobs, and another 1.1 million have seen their hours sharply reduced.

According to Statistics Canada, Ontario lost 689,200 jobs in April, bringing its employment down to the lowest level since 2009.

Ontario's unemployment rate climbed to 11.3 per cent in April, the highest it has been since 1993.

The FAO says nearly 87 per cent of the job losses between February and April came in the private sector.

With files from The Canadian Press


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