441 new coronavirus cases, 28 deaths in Ontario as total deaths surpass 2,000

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Ford confident in Ontarians should he have to shut down reopening measures'
Coronavirus outbreak: Ford confident in Ontarians should he have to shut down reopening measures
When asked if people would listen if he was forced to shut down the economy again due to rising COVID-19 numbers, Premier Doug Ford said he was confident Ontarians would follow the rules – May 22, 2020

Ontario reported 441 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, the highest case number reported in the last two weeks, bringing the provincial total to 24,628 cases.

The death toll has risen to 2,021 as 28 more deaths were reported.

Friday’s report marks an increase of 1.8 per cent in total cumulative cases. New daily case numbers have, overall, been steadily climbing over the last week.

At a daily press briefing on Friday, Premier Doug Ford acknowledged the increase in cases and said “we’re seeing some peaks and valleys, but hopefully we’re going to see the trend go down. I know the last few days it’s gone up, and it’s concerning.”

Ontario’s health officials said on Wednesday that Ontario is not out of the “first wave” of the outbreak yet.

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Meanwhile, 18,767 people have recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which is 76 per cent of cases.

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Ontario has completed 588,958 tests so far for the virus. This is up 11,276 tests from the previous day, which is the fifth day in a row that daily testing did not hit the province’s target of 16,000 tests per day.

The province said testing in long-term care homes was completed last week and is urging anyone with symptoms to go get tested.

Health Minister Christine Elliott previously said that there have not been enough people going to assessment centres in the past week, even though the province eased up the testing criteria to include everyone with symptoms.

Ford said he plans to release an expanded COVID-19 testing plan next week. The premier mentioned he wants to see taxi drivers, trucking association workers, automotive workers, people in processing plants, and all healthcare workers to get tested.

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“Please go out and get tested. It’s absolutely critical,” Ford urged, adding that the government will pick up on advertising to people to go get tested.

Ontario has 961 patients (down by 23) hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 153 patients in an intensive care unit (down by two) and 120 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (up by three).

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According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 1,486 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is up by 34 deaths, and there are 171 current outbreaks. Six health-care workers in long-term care homes have died.

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.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Health official suggests public needs to take more responsibility for testing'
Coronavirus: Health official suggests public needs to take more responsibility for testing

The ministry also indicated there are currently 2,252 confirmed cases among long-term care residents and 1,523 cases among staff.

Health-care workers in Ontario account for 4,239 of the total reported cases, which is 17.2 per cent of the infected population.

Greater Toronto Area public health units account for almost 64 per cent of all cases in the province.

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

  • 10,506 people are male (42.7 per cent).
  • 13,935 people are female (56.6 per cent).
  • 742 people are 19 and under (3.0 per cent).
  • 6,099 people are 20 to 39 (24.8 per cent).
  • 7,496 people are 40 to 59 (30.4 per cent).
  • 5,143 people are 60 to 79 (20.9 per cent).
  • 5,132 people are 80 and over (20.8 per cent).

There are 5,516 people currently under investigation awaiting test results.

The newly reported numbers are valid as of 2 p.m. Thursday for Toronto, Ottawa and London public health units, and 4 p.m. for the rest of the province.

— With files from Kamil Karamali.

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