Ontario could hit peak COVID-19 cases this week Health Canada approves rapid test

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4:21 pm Over half of Toronto’s COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term care homes

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to hit the Toronto’s long-term care facilities hard, but the rate of infection is slowing in these settings, the city’s medical officer of health Eileen de Villa said at the city’s daily press briefing.

“We are starting to see that our stringent outbreak control measures are starting to have a positive effect,” she said. “In long-term care homes that had a high number of cases, the rate of new infections is slowing.”

In Toronto, 39 long-term care homes have one or more COVID-19 cases and there have been 50 COVID-19 deaths in these homes. The total number of people that have died in Toronto is 92.

De Villa also said there are 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among clients of the city’s shelter system. She promised to give a more detailed update on the shelter situation tomorrow.

Overall, there are 2,363 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto as of 12:30 pm today, including 2,088 confirmed cases and 274 probable cases. There are 210 people hospitalized and 80 in intensive care units. 

3:25 pm Ontario likely to hit peak cases this week: heath officials

Provincial health officials expect the province’s COVID-19 cases to peak at some point this week based on predictive modelling. Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health Barbara Yaffe said the number of cases will then go down but “there will still be cases.”

“The peak is likely going to happen this week,” she said during a press briefing on Monday afternoon. “That does give me a glimmer of hope but with some caution.”

Earlier today, the province reported 421 new cases of COVID-19, a six per cent increase over the previous day. Ontario’s total number of known cases is now 7,470.

2:15 pm Ontario chartered accountants offer free tax services to healthcare workers

The Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA Ontario) is offering to prepare the tax returns of frontline health care workers for free.

The association representing the province’s chartered accountants announced its “Accounting for Bravery” initiative in a statement this afternoon. The program will cover nurses, paramedics, lab technicians and even cleaners in the health care field.

Those who are interested will need to complete an online form, after which they will be contacted by the organization. Applicants must be able to supply documentation electronically. There will be no face-to-face meetings.

Says CPA Ontario President Carol Wilding: “While we cannot be on the frontlines with them, CPAs across Ontario are providing their time and expertise to help support healthcare workers.”

The program will cover individual, spousal and dependent children’s tax returns for any frontline healthcare workers in hospitals or nursing homes. Frontline healthcare workers can sign up at www.cpaontario.caAccountingforBravery.

1:28 pm Province acquires 13 million surgical masks

During his daily media briefing, premier Doug Ford said the province has beefed up supplies of personal protective gear. Over the past five days, Ontario has acquired 13 million surgical masks, 200,000 N95 respirator masks and 38 ventilators.

11:05 am Health Canada approves rapid COVID-19 test

Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience announced on Monday that its rapid and portable COVID-19 test has been approved by Health Canada. 

The hand-held Spartan Cube, which is the size of a coffee cup, will likely be used in rural and Indigenous communities that lack high-volume testing capabilities. It is automated and can be operated by non-laboratory personnel in a variety of settings. The kits use test cartridges and proprietary swabs and is manufactured in Ottawa.

 Ontario purchased nearly 1 million test kits from Spartan prior to Health Canada’s approval and Alberta Health Services have signed a $9.5-million contract for 250 handheld devices, along with 100,000 test kits.

11 am Ontario’s COVID-19 cases go up by 421

Public health officials reported on Monday that the province’s COVID-19 cases went up by 421 – or six per cent – over the previous day, bringing Ontario’s total to 7,470.

The number of cases that have been resolved is 3,357 and 291 people have died. There are 760 people in hospital, 263 patients are in intensive care, with 203 in intensive care on ventilators.

The total number of people tested is 108,230 and 1,534 cases are under investigation.

10 am Mayor has considered designating directions on sidewalks

In an interview with CP24 this morning, Mayor John Tory said he has considered designating travel directions on sidewalks to encourage physical distancing among pedestrians.

“The thing is I don’t know how you police that but maybe you can put up some signage. I am not adverse to that if it is proving to be a problem in given areas,” he told the news channel. “If there are places in the city where there is real congestion on sidewalks, I would ask people to call 311 because we need that information in order to make a decision about something like one-way sidewalks.”

Some have called on the city to close some streets to vehicle traffic to allow pedestrians to walk on the road, but Tory said that he is against the idea because closed streets may attract more people to head outside.

9:50 am Toronto opens two more emergency child-care centres

The city is opening two additional emergency child care centres for frontline workers this week. Toronto received authorization from the province to open the centres, which bring the total of city-run child-care facilities serving essential workers to six.

The centres will be staffed by city child-care workers and located at 34 Bathurst and 1125 Danforth. Parents or guardians with no other child-care alternatives are able to use the centre. Otherwise, people are encouraged to keep children at home if possible.

9:30 am Canada has more than 24,000 cases of COVID-19

There are 24,383 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 717 people have died. The outbreak is a serious public health threat though most people who contract the virus have not been hospitalized. 

Symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing and pneumonia in both lungs and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. People age 65 and over and people with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of contracting a severe case.


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