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Big drop in new COVID cases in Ontario

Ontario has reported its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks, suggesting that the province may finally be on the other side of the epidemic’s peak.

The Ministry of Health says that there were 347 new cases of the virus confirmed on Tuesday. That is the lowest number reported in any 24-hour period since April 6.

It also comes amid an encouraging week in general, as the province finally starts to see the number of new cases trending downwards after weeks on the rise.

After reporting a record 640 cases on April 24, the province has now posted single day totals of 476, 434, 424, 525 and now 347.

Officials, however, have warned that there will need to be a “consistent” two-to-four week decline in new cases and new hospitalizations before the province can begin to loosen restrictions that have shuttered businesses and brought public life to a virtual standstill.

Even then, the province says that it will only reopen the economy in stages with the resumption of some elective surgeries and the reopening of workplaces that can “immediately meet or modify operations” to adhere to public health directives likely happening first.

More than 60 per cent of the province’s 15,728 lab-confirmed cases of the virus are now considered recovered.

While the number of new cases of COVID-19 seems to finally be going down after regularly surpassing the 500 threshold for the better part of a week, the death toll from the virus continues to rise.

The province is reporting another 45 deaths in its latest report, bringing the number of people who have died after contracting the virus so far to 996.

“We need to see those numbers going down consistently. There may be blips in the system from time to time but we definitely need to see a downward trend, it can’t just be a coincidence from day to day,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said at a press conference on Tuesday.

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