347 new coronavirus cases in Ontario, total reaches 15,728 cases with 996 deaths

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Ontario reported 347 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, the lowest single-day increase in more than three weeks, bringing the provincial total to 15,728 cases.

The death toll has risen to 996 as 45 more deaths were reported.

Meanwhile, 9,612 people have recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which is 61.1 per cent of cases.

Wednesday’s report marks a 2.3 per cent increase in cases compared to the day prior. Ontario has not seen a single-day jump in the 300s since April 7.

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In his daily briefing, Premier Doug Ford commented on the low increase in cases for Wednesday’s report calling it “good news” and a “trend that actually has seen the needle going southward.”

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“This is a positive trend to give people hope that we’re getting close to opening up,” Ford continued.

“I can’t give you dates right now, but what I can give you is hope, that we’re getting closer, day after day. When we see positive trends going down, we’ll make sure that that’s going to be closer to the day we open up.”

On Monday, the Ontario government released a plan, with a series of stages, for gradually reopening the economy, which Ford called a “roadmap,” not a “calendar,” as it did not include any dates for the phases.

The province has completed 264,594 tests so far for the virus. This is up 11,554 tests from the previous day. Ontario has significantly increased testing capacity since mid-April after being heavily criticized for not testing enough.

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Ontario has 977 patients (up by 20) hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 235 patients in an intensive care unit (down by four) and 186 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (down by one).

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According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 775 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is up by 70 deaths, and there are 159 outbreaks.

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The ministry also indicated there are 2,632 confirmed cases among long-term care residents and 1,361 cases among staff.

Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Barbara Yaffee said data has begun to be recorded from retirement homes.

She said 67 retirement homes in the province have been or are currently experiencing an outbreak. There are a total of 419 cases, with 220 among staff. Retirement homes have also seen 77 resident deaths.

Ontario officials have said there may be a discrepancy between overall deaths and deaths at long-term care homes due to how the province’s health database system, called iPHIS, is tracking data and how the Ministry of Long-Term Care is tracking data.

Health-care workers in Ontario account for 2,193 of the total reported cases, which is 13.9 per cent of the infected population.

Greater Toronto Area public health units account for 59.2 per cent of all cases in the province.

Here is a breakdown of Ontario cases by gender and age:

  • 6,546 people are male (41.6 per cent)
  • 9,041 people are female (57.5 per cent)
  • 363 people are 19 and under (2.3 per cent)
  • 3,583 people are 20 to 39 (22.8 per cent)
  • 4,725 people are 40 to 59 (30 per cent)
  • 3,486 people are 60 to 79 (22.2 per cent)
  • 3,564 people are 80 and over (22.7 per cent)

There are 9,530 people currently under investigation awaiting test results.

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The newly reported numbers are valid as of 2 p.m. Tuesday for Toronto and 4 p.m. for the rest of the province.