Ontario reported 634 new cases of COVID-19 and 54 more deaths on Thursday, as it extended emergency orders to continue the closure of parks, non-essential workplaces and restaurants for another two weeks.
The latest data reported by public health officials Thursday represents the largest single day increase in cases, bringing the total number in the province to 12,879 — a 5.2 per cent increase over Wednesday.
The total includes 713 deaths and 6,680 cases that have been resolved.
As the province announced the new numbers, Premier Doug Ford extended a series of emergency orders issued last month until May 6 and urged people to continue to stay home.
“We are making steady progress in our battle against this deadly virus, but we are not out of the woods by a long shot,” Ford said in a statement. “It is absolutely necessary to extend these emergency orders to continue keeping all Ontarians safe and healthy.”
The pandemic emergency orders, which had been set to expire Thursday, will also now grant mental health and addictions agencies the ability to redeploy staff during the pandemic. Similar measures have been introduced across the health-care and long-term care sectors.
The extension will also see continued restrictions that limit long-term care or retirement home staff to working in only one facility.
The government had been criticized for short duration of that order when it was issued last week.
According to government data, there were 68 additional deaths in long-term care homes across the province over the past 24 hours.
There have been at least 516 deaths in long-term care — including one personal support worker — amid outbreaks at 132 facilities, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
That data is taken from a different system than the provincewide data and the two are often out of sync.
Also on Thursday morning, the federal minister of public safety issued a brief statement confirming Ontario’s request for help from the Canadian Forces and Public Health Agency of Canada has been granted.
“Long-term care is a unique vulnerability in this pandemic,” Bill Blair said on Twitter. “We will continue working together as Team Canada to defeat (COVID-19).”