COVID-19: Ontario public health officials mulling more restrictions; Province reports a record-high 4,736 new cases

The province has surpassed the 400,000 total COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic

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Ontario public health officials considering further restrictions: Yaffe

5:15 pm Ontario’s Associate Medical Officer of Health Barbara Yaffe said today the province is in a “dire,” “worrisome” and “scary” situation and further pandemic restrictions are under consideration.

“In terms of what more can be done, I know that we’re working very hard with the science table, Public Health Ontario on other potential measures,” she said during a press briefing today at Queen’s Park.

The province is in the midst of a stay-at-home order, but Yaffe said due to COVID-19’s 14-day incubation period, it will take two-three weeks to see impacts of the current restrictions reflected in the daily case counts and other public health indicators.

“It is likely we will see our daily cases remain high for the next while and the number of people in hospital and intensive care will increase even more,” she said. “While we have a stay-at-home order and stronger public health measures in place it will take some time before we see the effect of these interventions. But we do know that those measures work.”

Pressed by reporters on what measures are under consideration, Yaffe said a “variety of options” are on the table.

“We are taking the advice of the science table, Public Health Ontario and other experts around what evidence there is around potential effective measures that have not been taken yet, what changes that perhaps could be a benefit and looking at what other jurisdictions have done. So I understand a variety of options are being considered. But the specifics are not available at this point. Once decisions are made, they will come out.”

Ontario has reported more than 4,000 daily cases for five of the past seven days. This morning, the province confirmed a single-day increase of 4,736, the highest number ever.

“If we don’t change what we’re doing, things will in fact get worse. That’s the bottom line,” she said, the streets need to be empty like they were last spring to bring the pandemic under control.

The province’s chief coroner Dirk Huyer added officials are in a race to get vaccines to hot spot areas as fast-spreading variants drive up case counts.

“We can’t win that race this month. These numbers aren’t going to be stopped by the vaccine,” he said, adding Ontarians to stay home, only socialize with people they live with and follow public health advice.

Huyer added Ontario is seeing a “significant” number of outbreaks – there were 66 reported today. Over the past seven days, there were 140 outbreaks. However, he said outbreaks represent the smaller proportion of new cases overall and are spread across a variety of settings, including workplaces, schools, child-care centres and other congregate settings. The most common causes of spread is close contact between people in a household and community spread.

Yaffe said the “vast majority” of people are complying with the rules and a “very small proportion” of people are not complying.

Ontario reports another single-day record high increase

Ontario is reporting an all-time high of 4,736 new COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths on April 15 as the province surpasses the 400,000 mark for total cases since the start of the pandemic.

The province detected 4,156 new cases on Wednesday, 3,670 on Tuesday and 4,401 on Monday. The seven-day rolling average, which has been growing by almost 200 cases every day, has reached 4,208.

Labs have completed 65,559 tests in the past 24 hours, and the province is reporting a positivity rate of eight per cent.

The province has administered an additional 105,430 doses of the vaccine in the past day, with 3,528,404 doses administered in total across Ontario so far and 339,491 people fully vaccinated.

There are now 38,341 active cases in the province, including 1,932 people hospitalized. A total of 659 people are currently in intensive care, with 442 patients on ventilators.

“Locally, there are 1,188 new cases in Toronto, 983 in Peel, 526 in York Region, 342 in Ottawa, 216 in Durham and 215 in Niagara,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.

Of the deaths reported today, one was someone between the ages of 40 and 59 and one was someone between the ages of 20 and 39.

In Grey Bruce, the local public health declared it has reached a critical threshold of COVID-19 cases after reporting a single-day increase of 46 new infections.

“We have identified over 70 new confirmed cases across Grey Bruce in the last thirty-six hours with the potential to generate hundreds of additional close contacts,” officials said in a statement. “The sources of transmission are identified as individuals not following lockdown with people visiting others when symptomatic as well as social gatherings and ‘bush parties’ by high school aged youth. The issue is worsened by individuals being untruthful to public health contact tracing and case management inquiries.”

Due to the increase in new cases, contact tracing staff in the area are stretched to capacity and unable to keep up. All residents in the region, which is home to Owen Sound, are being told consider themselves a carrier for the next 48 hours until we reach all case and their contacts.”

An additional 2,811 B117 cases have been confirmed in Ontario in the past day, along with 11 more B1351 cases and 15 more P1 cases. This comes after the news that Ottawa has dropped specific travel restrictions for travellers from Brazil, where the P1 variant is currently prevalent.

To date, the province has seen 403,571 total COVID-19 cases and 7,639 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on April 15

The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:

Toronto = 1,188

Peel = 983

York Region = 526

Ottawa = 342

Durham Region = 216

Niagara Region = 215

Middlesex-London = 181

City of Hamilton = 150

Halton Region = 140

Simcoe Muskoka District = 118

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 102

Windsor-Essex County = 95

Region of Waterloo = 81

Eastern Ontario = 74

Grey Bruce = 46

Southwestern = 36

Brant County = 31

Haldimand-Norfolk = 31

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District = 29

Huron Perth = 22

Lambton = 20

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington = 18

Peterborough = 18

Sudbury & Districts = 16

Hastings Prince Edward = 15

Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District = 8

Thunder Bay District = 7

Chatham-Kent = 7

Porcupine = 6

Northwestern = 5


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