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Ontario reports 1,396 new cases of COVID-19, 19 more deaths

While Ontario saw a slight dip in its daily COVID-19 case count today, the rolling seven-day average of new cases and new deaths continues to climb.

Ontario health officials confirmed 1,396 new infections today, down from the record 1,575 logged one day earlier.

The seven-day average however, has increased to 1,355, up from 1,299 on Thursday and 997 one week ago.

Nineteen more COVID-related deaths were also confirmed in the province on Friday, the highest single-day death toll reported since the start of the pandemic’s second wave.

Ten of those fatalities involved residents of long-term care homes and there are now 95 active outbreaks of COVID-19 in those facilities.

The average number of deaths reported in a single day has more than doubled over the past two weeks.

Over the past seven days, Ontario has seen an average of 15 virus-related deaths per day, up from 12 last week and seven two weeks ago.

Provincial officials said 40,500 COVID-19 tests were completed in Ontario in the past 24 hours, resulting in a test positivity rate of an estimated 3.4 per cent provincewide, up from about 2.4 per cent at this point last week.

New infections outpaced the 1,018 recoveries confirmed today, pushing the number of active cases in Ontario to 11,630.

More than 100 COVID-19 patients now in ICU

Hospitalizations also continues to rise, with 452 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment at Ontario hospitals. That number is up from 431 on Thursday and 380 at this point last week.

The number of patients in intensive care also rose to 106 today, up from 98 on Thursday.

New modelling data released by the province on Thursday suggests that the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units in the province will exceed the 150 threshold within two weeks, forcing some hospitals to cancel elective surgeries and other procedures.

The province’s startling new projections also indicate Ontario could see daily COVID-19 case counts of 6,500 by mid-December if further public health measures are not taken to control the spread of the disease.

“I do not believe there is a way the cases will change without action,” Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, co-chair of Ontario’s COVID-19 science table, said while releasing the modelling data on Thursday.

More than 80 per cent of all new infections logged today were from local public health units in the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto and Peel Region each reported 440 new infections, while York Region confirmed 155 new cases today.

Toronto and Peel are currently the only two regions the province has placed in the “red” or “control” category of its colour-coded framework for COVID-19 restrictions.

‘Maintaining the status quo is not the right path’

When asked if further restrictions should be implemented, Premier Doug Ford said that he will be briefed on the situation Friday morning and “will make a decision.”

“I can assure you I haven’t hesitated to make a tough decision and I promise you I will not hesitate for a second. If we have to go further, that is what we will do,” he told CP24 in an interview on Thursday evening.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist, told CP24 that the recent data has made it clear that “maintaining the status quo is not the right path.”

“They certainly were very sobering projections and I hope people are paying attention and I hope this helps drive change. Change both at the policy level, change at the personal level,” he said.

“When you see numbers like that…It just is going to result in a large number of cases and we know that translates into a large number of hospitalizations and sadly that translates into death and we are heading along that pathway.”

Bogoch said a full lockdown, similar to the one Ontario saw in the spring, may be possible if numbers don’t come down.

“I think it is important that we keep an open mind that probably that’s on the table if things don’t pivot… I would imagine that would be the last straw. That would be the final tool in the toolkit if things aren’t changing,” he said.

“There are probably some very strong policy changes that could be made well before then that can keep us out of that.”

News Credit: cp24.com

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