Province To Expand COVID-19 Testing

Grant Boone
May 24, 2020

During the daily media briefing on Friday, Premier Doug Ford announced new programs and grants to assist hospitality workers and skilled trade workers.

"It's all hands on deck".

The province reported 441 new cases Friday, and 28 more deaths.

He also mentioned a study out of McMaster University that looks at recovered COVID-19 patients and investigating if antibodies remain and continue to fight the virus, as well as a food security project by Western University to study how food retail businesses are impacted by adapting to COVID-19. There have been no deaths recorded in people 19 years of age or younger.

7,496 people are 40 to 59 (30.4 per cent).

The Ontario government has announced that it's moving forward with "groundbreaking" research projects to fight COVID-19, including clinical trials investigating vaccines and treatments. Of those patients, 155 of them are being treated in the intensive care unit.

According to the province, there have been 287 outbreaks of the disease at long-term care homes, 117 outbreaks at retirement homes and 78 outbreaks at hospitals.

Of the 2,021 total deaths, 1,262 were in long-term care, Public Health Ontario reports.

A total of 1,993 people have died from coronavirus in Ontario, and there are 5,051 cases now under investigation.

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Speaking alongside Ford at Thursday's news conference, Minister of Health Christine Elliott responded to this increase, saying that officials are "looking at where the new cases are coming from".

"I'm really hoping guys that we can do that, as the Chief Medical Officer said as he went to visit his grandchildren, the number one rule, as we say the golden rule, just keep the social distancing, keep 2 metres apart".

"What we need to see is that gradual downward trend".

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Public Health Ontario has reported 25,040 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, which includes 19,146 people considered resolved, and 2,048 people who have died.

Across the province, thus far, 577, 682 novel coronavirus tests have been conducted.

Meanwhile, the province fell short of its testing target for the sixth day in a row on Friday, processing 11,028 tests out of a 16,000 daily benchmark.

"As sure as I am standing here, we are going to ramp it up", Ford said on Thursday afternoon. "Can I give you an exact date? Is it frustrating? It's frustrating, believe me it's frustrating - but, in saying that, I do have confidence in Ontario and with public health". "I can tell the people of Ontario, that we are so much better equipped as a Province, as a country to handle the second wave". "We are very grateful and proud to work with the provincial government to ensure that people are provided with support and the opportunity to upgrade their skills and get back to work as soon as possible".

"We have taken a process that would normally take 12 to 18 months and we have managed to reduce that to a three week process while maintaining the integrity of the system", Romano said.

"We aren't doing almost the testing we should", said Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto who has advocated more proactive testing of people in jobs with occupational exposure to the public, such as grocery clerks and bus drivers.

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