The Ministry of Health reported 31 fatalities 413 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, increasing its totals to 1,993 and 24,187, respectively.
Health officials were able to identify the new patients after completing 10,506 tests for COVID-19 in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch, setting a positive test rate of 3.9 per cent.
Despite it being an increase compared to days prior, it marks the fourth straight time that Ontario has failed to meet its quota of 16,000 tests a day, or its anticipated goal of 20,000, which labs have the capacity to administer.
On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford said he was shocked by the low testing numbers.
“It kind of shocked me too. But in saying that, we have a strong plan to ramp up testing,” Ford said.
“We’re watching the trends like a hawk right now…We’re watching the rate of the spread. We’re watching closely for any sudden surges or flare-ups…We won’t hesitate to roll things back if necessary.”
It’s not clear what’s behind the low testing outputs, but health officials have pointed to multiple factors; all testing of long-term care residents and staff has been completed, and the province “can’t force” people to be tested, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, David Williams, said earlier this week.
Health officials and the premier have made it clear that increased testing is crucial for understanding the scope of the COVID-19 situation in Ontario, since it has an influence in what restrictions will be lifted.
Along with the new cases and victims, the Ministry of Health reported that there are now 18,509 people who have recovered, an increase of 319. In hospitals around the province, there are 984 patients (down by seven since Wednesday), which includes 155 in intensive care (down by five) and 117 who require a ventilator (down by three).
In long-term care facilities there are 175 outbreaks, which is a decrease of eight, according to the Ministry of Long-Term Health.
In those facilities, 1,564 staff members are currently infected with COVID-19 (a decrease of 47), while among residents there are 2,458 infected (a decrease of 105), and 1,452 who have passed away (an increase of 25). Six staff members have also died after contracting the virus (an increase of one).