The Ministry of Health reported 460 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, after performing 11,383 tests in its latest 24-hour stretch.
It’s the biggest spike the province has recorded since May 8, while it marks the fourth straight day that it has eclipsed 400 new daily cases. It’s also the seventh straight day that Ontario has failed to meet its goal of 16,000 tests a day, or its max capacity of 21,000.
Between May 9 and May 18, the province had gone through a stretch where it stayed below the 400 daily case mark each day, while also hitting its testing goal on six of those 10 occasions.
Throughout the past week, Premier Doug Ford and health officials have both called the most recent trends “concerning.” As of May 24, Ontario’s seven-day averages are 407 cases out of 9,506 tests. It’s a steady rise compared to May 17, when the seven-day averages stood at 345 cases out of 15,833 tests.
The premier said that the only way for the province to move into the next phase of its reopening plan, is if health officials see a downward trend in its daily case numbers. On the contrary, if there aren’t any improvements, he said he won’t hesitate to roll back the province’s reopening plans, with Ontario currently in its first phase, which kicked off Tuesday.
Despite the warnings from officials, Ontario saw thousands of people gather in a downtown Toronto park on Saturday, despite the city being the province’s epicentre.
The full impact of the large gathering in Trinity Bellwoods Park won’t be known for weeks, but the City of Toronto said in a press release that it can “run the risk of setting Toronto back significantly in its efforts to stop the transmission of COVID-19.”
On Sunday morning, while condemning the large Toronto gathering, Ford said he’s going to open testing to everyone in Ontario. Previously, you needed to have at least one COVID-19 symptom or a history of exposure in a high-risk setting to have qualified for a test in Ontario.
“I am here to ask for your help today,” Ford said on Sunday. If you feel you need a test, you’ll be able to get a test. So please don’t wait…You will not be turned away, even if you or your family don’t have symptoms.”
Ford said the province has 129 assessment centres for COVID-19. Next week, he also plans on releasing a detailed testing strategy, in which health officials will target various hotspots and sectors around the province, such as truckers, taxi drivers, and workers in automotive and food processing plants province-wide.
Ministry of Health update
Along with the new cases on Sunday, 25 more people have died after contracting the respiratory virus, increasing Ontario’s death toll to 2,073.
There are now 19,477 who have recovered, an increase of 331 since Saturday’s update, setting a recovery rate of 76.4 per cent in Ontario.
In hospitals around the province, there are 878 patients (down by 34), which includes 148 in intensive care (up by one) and 104 who require a ventilator (down by 15).
In long-term care facilities there are 161 outbreaks, which is a decrease of four, according to the Ministry of Long-Term Health.
In those facilities, 1,392 staff members are currently infected with COVID-19 (a decrease of 45). Among residents there are 1,954 infected (a decrease of 194), and 1,525 who have passed away (an increase of 30). Six staff members have also died after contracting the virus.