Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Thursday:
Status of COVID-19 cases in Toronto
According to the most recent data on the Toronto Public Health (TPH) website Thursday evening, there were 371 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19. To date, there have been a total of 25,618 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases. There were 21,509 resolved cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday. TPH also reported 1,344 residents in Toronto, to date, have died after contracting the virus.
The City reported there are currently 125 residents in Toronto hospitals.
Scarborough hospital declares COVID-19 outbreak after 6 patients test positive
The Scarborough Health Network says six patients are infected in one unit at its general hospital in the city’s east end.
A spokeswoman for the health network says the unit has been closed to admissions in order to protect patients and staff.
St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto Western Hospital and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have also declared outbreaks among staff or patients.
Ontario reports 841 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday
According to Thursday’s provincial report, 335 new cases were recorded in Toronto, 162 in Peel Region, 106 in York Region, 72 in Ottawa and 29 each in Durham and Halton regions.
All other public health units in Ontario reported under 35 new cases.
The death toll in the province has risen to 3,071 as nine more deaths were reported.
More than 38,900 tests were processed in the last 24 hours. Resolved cases increased by 741 from the previous day.
Ontario man’s COVID-19 ‘mega-thread’ argues daily case count doesn’t count most
For the past several months, health officials across Canada have been delivering daily COVID-19 updates.
While many tend to hone in on the daily case count, an Ontario man took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to share his thoughts.
“Ontario, stop reacting to the daily COVID case counts,” wrote Jean-Paul R. Soucy.
Soucy, a PhD student in epidemiology, then proceeded to lay out his rationale in dozens of subsequent posts. He said while the case count does constitute fresh information, it is “too noisy a metric” to base decisions on.
“This doesn’t necessarily reflect the meaningful change in the trajectory of the epidemic,” he said in an interview with Global News.
“What we should be looking at is the seven-day average in the daily case count, in the context of what’s going on with testing in the province.”
When asked about what should inform policy decisions, Soucy offered several suggestions. They include the examination of trends, and paying close attention to long-term care and hospitalization rates.
“There’s a million reasons why you could have one day with a particularly high or a particularly low number. And so we really shouldn’t get too excited about one day’s numbers.”
Ontario child care centres and schools
Meanwhile, government figures show there have been a total of 1,641 school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario — 920 among students and 241 among staff (480 individuals were not identified). This is an increase of 74 more cases from the previous day.
In the last 14 days, the province indicates there are 444 cases reported among students and 101 cases among staff (250 individuals were not identified) — totaling 795 cases.
The COVID-19 cases are currently from 501 out of 4,828 schools in the province. Five schools in Ontario are currently closed as a result of positive cases, the government indicated.
There have been a total of 349 confirmed cases within child care centres and homes — an increase of seven (three new child cases and four new staff cases).
Ontario long-term care homes
According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 1,910 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is an increase of two since the previous day. Eight health-care workers and staff in long-term care homes have died.
There are 80 current outbreaks in homes, an decrease of six.
The ministry also indicated there are currently 203 active cases among long-term care residents and 243 active cases among staff — down by 13 and up by 17 cases respectively in the last day.
Law to shield businesses that spread COVID-19 could benefit insurers, be harder on consumers
A new bill in Ontario could make it harder for consumers to sue a business that was involved in the transmission of COVID-19, lawyers say.
Bill 218, which Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey has dubbed the Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, proposes protecting people from legal action if they made a “good faith effort” to stop the spread of COVID-19 after March 17.
The biggest impact will be on the long-term care industry, notes Mohsen Seddigh, a lawyer at Sotos LLP. But the bill also has the potential to “wipe out” claims from patrons at other businesses, he said.
—With files from The Canadian PressView link »