Coronavirus Canada updates: Ford starts delivering on promise as Ontario continues to hit its testing goal

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Coronavirus Canada Update: Five new cases reported in Sarnia-Lambton Sunday night
Coronavirus Canada Update: Five new cases reported in Sarnia-Lambton Sunday night

For the third straight day, the Ministry of Health has reported a record-high testing output, this time by completing 23,105 tests.

The province is above its goal of 16,000 tests in a day, and Saturday marks the closest it has come to reaching its max capacity of 25,000.

Ontario’s seven-day testing average is now at its highest ever mark at 18,690 tests. It’s the start of a promise that Premier Doug Ford made in late May, after the province had come under fire for its testing outputs.

“We’re going to ramp up the testing like this province has never seen. Another three, four weeks, we’re going to do a lot of testing, I can stand here and promise you that, I’m going to be all over this testing,” said Ford on May 20, noting that he was “shocked” by Ontario’s outputs.

Over the past month and a half, the province has seen its testing outputs fluctuate. Between April 28-May 7, Ontario had a three-day stretch (May 1-3) where it hit its goal of 16,000 tests each time, but failed to meet that mark on the days before and after. Between May 8-17, the province went through a 10-day stretch where it hit its goal on seven different occasions. In the following 10-day stretch (May 18-27), it failed to meet it each time.

In an effort to increase testing, Ford said on May 25 that anyone who is concerned they may have COVID-19 won’t be refused a test at any of the province’s assessment centres. On May 29, the province released a new testing plan, which includes “targeted campaigns” aimed at testing employees in key, high-risk sectors such as agri-food, auto and retail industries.

The province has now hit its goal (16,000) over eight of the last 10 days. Ford and health officials have said on multiple occasions that increased testing is crucial in understanding the scope of the virus’ impact on the province, and that without it they won’t be able to make follow-up decisions for how to further reopen the economy.

On Saturday, the province announced that it’s extending its emergency orders for another 10 days to June 19. The orders include bannining people from gathering in groups larger than five, and from dining in bars and restaurants.

Along with the record-high testing, the province on Saturday announced 455 additional cases to its total of 30,202.

Of those new patients, 68 were impacted by a laboratory-to-public health reporting delay, according to Ontario’s epidemiology summary. It’s not clear at this point which day those cases belong to. Of the 455 cases announced Saturday, 387 of them were discovered in the past 24 hours.

The Ministry of Health also recorded 35 more fatalities, increasing the death toll to 2,407.

Of its total case count, there are 23,947 people who have recovered from the virus, an increase of 364 since Friday. Of the 3,848 active cases that remain, there are 673 in hospital (down by 76), which includes 117 in intensive care (down by one) and 97 who require a ventilator (up by three).

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 83 outbreaks in facilities across the province (down by two), where there are 923 active cases among residents (down by 46) and 685 among staff (down by 47). Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,717 residents (up by 25) and seven staff who have passed away after contracting COVID-19.

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