Public Health Ontario confirms 58 new variant cases

Grant Boone
February 1, 2021

"That's why today, our government is taking swift and decisive action".

Public Health Ontario is reporting 55 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on the eve of students returning to class for in-person learning.

Provincial health officials confirmed 1,848 new infections, a decrease from the 2,063 cases reported the previous day.

He also added that new information on morbidity and mortality rates of the new variants, which were initially thought to be simply more transmissible than the initial strain, is starting to show that the variants may indeed be more fatal. According to Public Health Ontario more than 10 per cent of hospitals do not report to the daily bed census on the weekends, so hospitalization numbers could be underreported.

"These new measures are extra precautions we must take in our battle to keep COVID-19 out of our buildings, particularly as we see the new variant in our province", Shannex communications manager Gillian Costello said in a Sunday statement.

"I'm relieved to learn that Doug Ford has seen the light and has finally made a decision to introduce the antigen rapid tests in our most vulnerable settings", he said in a statement, calling for a transparent plan on how the tests will be used.

Ford said that, while he welcomes the federal government's new measures, they won't be in place for a few weeks and "that is a few weeks too long".

The plan new plan includes the following.

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Premier Doug Ford is implementing stricter mandatory testing for those coming into Ontario from outside the province.

Ford went on to say that Ontarians should not be leaving the province and individuals from other regions of Canada, including Manitoba and Quebec, shouldn't be coming to Ontario for non-essential reasons.

Screening all positive COVID-19 tests in Ontario for known variants within two to three days of initial processing. This new measure will take effect as of February 3, 2021.

Also today, schools will reopen in four more public health units in southern Ontario. The declared provincial emergency and stay-at-home order were recently extended until February 9, 2021.

To strengthen case and contact management, the government is asking asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases to get retested after day 10 of their quarantine.

Enhancing Protections for Vulnerable Populations: Dependent on supply from the federal government, the province will continue with the accelerated vaccination of residents in long-term care, high-risk retirement, and First Nations elder care homes.

A plan is also being developed to expand rapid testing in high priority settings, such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, essential workplaces, schools, and congregate living settings.

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