Ontario reports more than 1,800 new COVID-19 cases as 200 patients are now in ICU for the virus, doctor says
Published Thursday, December 3, 2020 10:14AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 3, 2020 3:35PM EST
Ontario is reporting more than 1,800 new COVID-19 cases and 14 more deaths but Thursday’s case count reflects an overestimate due to a processing error.
Provincial health officials logged 1,824 new infections in the last 24 hours, up from the 1,723 new cases recorded on Wednesday.
According to the Ministry of Health, today’s total case count includes an overestimate of new cases from the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
“Due to a data processing error, the number of new cases for Middlesex-London Health Unit in today's report (127 cases) represents cases reported over the previous three days,” a spokesperson said in an email to CP24.
Middlesex-London recorded zero new cases on Wednesday, a reduction of 10 on Tuesday and 14 on Monday. Many of the more recent cases from that region may involve a major COVID-19 outbreak at the London Health Sciences Centre.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the fact that there was an overcount today gives him little comfort given prevailing trends.
"That doesn’t give us much solace because the overall average was still higher than last week," he said.
Most of the province’s new cases continue to be from the GTA, particularly in the hot spots of Toronto and Peel and Region.
“Locally, there are 592 new cases in Peel, 396 in Toronto and 187 in York Region,” Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted on Thursday.
Elsewhere in the GTA, Durham Region logged 57 new infections, down from 124 a day ago and Halton recorded 68 new cases, up from 45 on Wednesday.
Five of Ontario’s 34 public health units are recording zero new cases of the virus.
The seven-day rolling average now stands at 1,768 up from 1,427 a week ago.
Provincial health officials processed nearly 52,900 tests in the past 24 hours, up from more than 44,200 tests a day ago. More than 58,300 tests are currently under investigation.
The rise in testing helped drop the province’s positivity rate to at least 4.4 per cent, compared to 4.7 per cent a day ago, according to provincial health officials.
The province logged 1,707 new cases on Tuesday and 1,746 on Monday.
There are 1,541 more recoveries from the virus across the province bringing the total number of active cases to 14,795. A total of 3,712 Ontarians have now died from the virus.
Of today’s fatalities, 11 were long-term care home residents.
There are currently 116 long-term care homes with an active outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Ontario.
Ontario Chief Coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer said that approximately one-third of all documented outbreaks in the past month were in schools, while another third were in the vulnerable sector including long-term care homes, retirement residences and hospitals.
To date, there have been more than 121,700 cases of the virus in Ontario since January and 103,239 recoveries.
WIlliams said the number of cases occurring in the hardest-hit areas continues to drop, with more cases seen in outlying areas where the spread was historically lower.
"Where we used to have in our main three or four zones had 80 to 90 per cent of our cases, that has spread out. Some (health units) are being pushed hard to keep up with case contact management."
Ontario hits 200-bed threshold for COVID-19 patients in ICU
The number of patients hospitalized with the virus continue to climb across the province amid a second wave of the disease.
There are currently 666 patients hospitalized with the virus in the province, up from 656 on Wednesday.
Of those hospitalized patients, 195 are in an intensive care unit (ICU) and 107 are breathing with the help of a ventilator, according to provincial health officials.
However, Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, told CP24 that the province reached the 200-bed threshold for COVID-19 patients in ICUs on Thursday, roughly five days earlier than provincial modelling data predicted.
Elliott responded to the grim milestone during the province's daily press conference Thursday afternoon.
“Well I know this is a concern not only for hospitals but for people who have been waiting to have surgeries or procedures done that had to be postponed during wave one. I can tell you that we are in regular communication with the Ontario Hospital Association and there are some hospitals that are under strain and had to put some of their procedures and surgeries on hold for the present time,” Elliott said.
The Ford government released its latest modelling on Nov. 12 and said that in all of their scenarios within roughly six weeks the 200-bed threshold would be reached, and that the 450-bed threshold would be reached under the worst case scenario.
Despite the rise in hospitalizations, Elliott said Ontario hospitals are not “in a crisis” situation during a press conference on Wednesday.
“There is no question that many Ontario hospitals are under stress right now, particularly in the lockdown areas,” she said. “To say they are in crisis is not the case. Alberta is in crisis when you have to have double cohorts in a single intensive care room. That’s a crisis. We are not at that stage in Ontario.”
Meanwhile, GTA residents are anxiously waiting to learn if more regions will enter a lockdown, particularly the regions of York and Halton where cases continue to rise.
Toronto and Peel Region entered a 28-day lockdown on Nov. 23 to curb the spread of the virus in the hot spots.
Under the province’s grey “lockdown” level of it’s colour-coded COVID-19 response framework, restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery service and non-essential businesses can only provide curbside pickup. Gyms, movie theatres and casinos must also close their doors.