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New cases in Ontario at lowest so far this month

It’s still a lot of cases but with Ontario reporting 548 cases of COVID19 and over 42,000 tests completed, it is the lowest new COVID count since September 30. Locally, there are 201 new cases in Toronto, 90 in Peel, 62 in Ottawa and 56 in York Region. 61% of today’s cases are in people under the age of 40. There are 546 more resolved cases. Hamilton reported 11 new cases overnight. Halton Region reported 27 new cases, seven in Burlington and five in Oakville. Hospitalizations were up by 16 to 192, but ICU patients and those on ventilator remained relatively stable at 41 and 26 respectively.

Meanwhile the COVID testing backlog continues to be a problem. The CBC is reporting that swabs from COVID-19 tests being done at Ontario pharmacies are being sent to a lab in California for analysis before being shipped back to Canada.  

Ontario is dealing with a severe backlog of coronavirus tests during this second wave of the pandemic. According to Ontario’s ministry of health, the backlog of tests was 68,000 this past weekend. Yesterday Premier Doug Ford said the problem is a shortage of Diagnostic technicians and also a shortage of the reagent needed to process the swabs.  He reiterated his plea for Health Canada to green-light some of the new “instant” test systems that are being introduced.

There is also a growing tension between the Province and Toronto over measures that should be taken to combat the current surge in cases. Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen DeVilla wants a 28 day shutdown on indoor dining and bars. She says in the long run this is the best way to dampen the curve and make it possible for a fuller re-opening. Premier Doug Ford has resisted such a drastic measure citing the precarious state of the hospitality industry.

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