Ontario has reported 424 new cases of COVID-19, making today the third straight day with a decline in new occurrences of the virus.

The province reported a record 640 new cases on Friday but since then it has reported 476, 434 and now 424, giving rise to hopes that we could finally be seeing the other side of the pandemic’s peak locally after public health officials said last week that they were hopeful that the spread of the virus appeared to be “coming under control.”

The decline in new cases also comes amid an increase in testing with the province having completed a record 12,550 tests on Sunday, reaching the 12,500 daily threshold that they had hoped to reach by April 22 for the first time.

“We have started to see a slight downward trend over the last three days but we don’t yet know whether that is a trend or a coincidence." Health Minister Christine Elliott said during a news conference on Monday afternoon. "There is still more work to do in terms of keeping the number of cases down."

The 424 new cases reported today represent the lowest number of new cases confirmed since April 13. The 476 new cases confirmed on Saturday and the 424 new cases confirmed on Sunday also represented multi-week lows.

Unfortunately, as the numbers of new cases being reported continues to decline, the death toll from the virus continues to rise.

The province is reporting a record 57 deaths today, which is more than double the 24 deaths reported on Sunday. That brings the number of fatalities in people who had contracted the virus to 892 provincewide.

Hospitalizations also continue to trend upwards, though the number of people in intensive care units is holding relatively steady. The latest data suggests that there eight more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than one day prior, bringing the total number to 945. The number of those people in intensive care units stands at 241, which is down from 252 one day prior. That number has held mostly steady for weeks now after reaching a high of 264 on April 9.

Long-term care facilities, meanwhile, continue to be on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. There are now 170 outbreaks at Ontario long-term care facilities with those outbreaks resulting in 671 deaths, including another 17 since yesterday. The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in long-term care facility residents now stands at 2,523. There are also 1,187 confirmed cases among staff.

It should be noted that there has also been an increase in younger people dying after contracting the virus, however.

One more fatality was added in the age 20 to 39 demographic over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of people in that group who have died to five. It was two as recently as April 23.

Ontario's Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said she is "pleased" with the recent downward trend in new cases.

"While these are very encouraging numbers, we have to continue engaging in physical distancing and remaining at home as much as possible," she said on Monday. 

COVID graph April 27

Officials have said that new cases need to be fewer than 200 to restart economy

The latest decline in new cases came ahead of an afternoon news conference in which Premier Doug Ford announced a framework for restarting the economy.

The plan calls for a three-phase approach to reopening the province but does not provide any dates for the lifting of restrictions. It also says that any reopening of the province must be preceeded by a two to four week decline in the number of new cases being reported.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said we still "have a ways to go" before we can begin the first two-week period.

“This is a road map; it is not a calendar. So we are going to continue working hard and I just encourage everyone to please continue following the protocols," Ford said on Monday afternoon. "We have come so far with this fight and we just don’t want to give up now. We want to continue and the quicker we see the numbers come down the quicker we can get things back to normal,.”

The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario now stands at 14,856, including deaths and recoveries. That is up about 33 per cent from the 11,148 cases that had been confirmed at this time last week.

Other highlights from the data:

  • There have been 2,016 confirmed cases in healthcare workers, accounting for 13.6 per cent of all known cases
  • Greater Toronto Area public health units account for 59.5 per cent of all cases
  • 170 outbreaks have now been reported on long-term care homes, up three from one day prior
  • So far 1,701 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 at some point, accounting for 11.4 per cent of all cases
  • Females continue to make up a greater portion of confirmed cases (57.5 per cent) than males (41.5 per cent)
  • More than half of all cases are now considered resolves (8,525 cases)
  • Ontario has conducted 242,188 tests for COVID-19, including a record 12,550 on Sunday