Ontario reports its second lowest number of new cases of COVID-19 in months
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, July 7, 2020 10:16AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 7, 2020 3:43PM EDT
Ontario is reporting 112 new cases of COVID-19 and two new deaths but the relatively low numbers come amid a drop off in testing.
The 112 new cases confirmed reported on Tuesday morning represent the lowest number in any 24-hour period since June 26 (111) and the second lowest number since late March.
The five-day rolling average of new cases now stands at 138. It stood at 173 at this point last week.
Of the new cases, about 61 per cent of them were in either Toronto (30 cases) or Peel Region (39 cases).
There were also nine new cases in Windsor-Essex, where there have been a number of outbreaks amongst seasonal workers at area farms.
Meanwhile, 23 of the province’s 34 public health units reported no new cases over the last 24 hours and another five reported five or fewer cases.
It should be noted that the number of tests completed on Monday — 15,122 — did dip below the 20,000 mark for the second day in a row for the first time in weeks.
The good news is that despite the slight decline in testing, the overall positive rate remains comparatively low at just 0.74 per cent.
At one point in April, the province’s positive rate neared seventeen per cent as officials scrambled to ramp up testing efforts.
“It is not concerning to me. This is generally what we see happen at the beginning of the week because the test volumes over the weekend are just not as high. People are doing other things, they are just not going in to be tested,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said of the drop in testing during a news conference at Queen’s Park on Tuesday afternoon. “We have seen this at the beginning of the week every step along the way. But I am very confident that our numbers will go up significantly higher again towards the end of the week.”
While it is true that the number of tests conducted over the weekend is often lower, the province did turn around nearly 24,000 tests on the same day last week (June 30).
Elliott said that the province is generally doing about 25,000 tests a day at this point in the pandemic but plans to up its capacity to 50,000 tests a day in time for the fall flu season.
Premier Doug Ford also spoke out in favour of the province’s testing regime on Tuesday, calling it a “well-oiled machine.”
“Can I be frank with you? I never heard the media saying way to go you did 32,000, 30,000 or 28,000 (tests), these guys are champions,” he said. “You know, overall we have tested 1.5 million people. They are like a well-oiled machine but over the weekend as the minister of health said people are doing other things and they don’t want to get tested. But we have an incredible team right now, they are a well-oiled machine and everything is running tickety-boo."
1,766 active cases remain
Ontario reported a record 634 new cases of COVID-19 back on April 23 but since then the levels of infections have consistently trended downward, outside of a slight uptick in mid-May.
Of the more than 36,000 lab-confirmed cases in Ontario since the beginning of the pandemic, only 1,766 remain active. That number is down 65 since one day prior after an additional 177 existing patients recovered from infection.
Hospitalizations also remain at levels not seen since the early days of the pandemic.
The latest data reveals that here are just 131 COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals with 36 of them in intensive care units and 24 of those people on ventilators.
Speaking with reporters at a news conference on Monday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said that the province may finally be getting to a “containment phase” in the pandemic, where community transmission has been reduced but outbreaks still happen from time to time.
“Most of the health units are looking at a cluster here or a cluster there and you may have no new cases for a day or two and then all of a sudden you find a cluster like Kingston (at a nail salon) and you go up to 25 or 30 and then back down to zero again,” he said.
Other highlights from the data:
- There were three more outbreaks reported at long-term care homes over the last 24 hours. Since March, there have been 371 outbreaks at long-term care homes but only 46 of them are still considered active.
- There were no new deaths reported in long-term care residents over the last 24 hours. Since the beginning of the outbreak, 1,717 long-term care residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
- The province has now conducted 1,559,529 individual tests for COVID-19
- The total number of people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 now stands at 4,447, accounting for more than 12 per cent of all cases. Of those people, 965 have ended up in the ICU at some point.
- People between the ages of 20 to 39 (44 new cases) and 40 to 59 (33 new cases) continue to make up the greatest share of cases. There were just seven new cases in people over the age of 80 over the last 24 hours.