Ontario posts more than 400 new COVID-19 cases as rate of infections continues to rise; Most new coronavirus cases in Ontario found in broader community – Toronto Star

By Star staffwiresSat., May 23, 2020timer6 min. readThe latest novel coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday (this file will be updated throughout the day). Web links to longer stories if available. May 231:30 p.m. The NBA said Saturday it’s eyeing a late-July return to play in Orlando, Fla., while keeping in mind health concerns and government restrictions.“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place,” a statement from league spokesman Mike Bass said.The league and players association are engaged in “exploratory” talks with vast Disney-ESPN complex in Orlando for a late-July re-start to the season that was suspended March 11 with the first public announcement of a player testing positive for the coronavirus.1:00 p.m. Toronto Mayor John Tory joined pedestrians and cyclists enjoying extra space on city streets Saturday afternoon as part of the ActiveTO program.Tory said the initiative is being monitored and is intended to help residents maintain their mental and physical health during the pandemic. “We are taking it week by week…so far it seems to be a great success,” Tory said. The ActiveTO program restricts vehicle access on parts of some major roads to create more space for walking, running and biking this Saturday and Sunday. The closures began at 6 a.m. Saturday and end at 11 p.m. Sunday.They include: Lake Shore Boulevard West (eastbound lanes only) from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road. The eastbound Gardiner Expressway off-ramp to Lake Shore Boulevard West (exit 146) will also be closed. Lake Shore Boulevard East (eastbound lanes only) from Coxwell Avenue to just south of Woodbine Avenue (Kew Beach Avenue). Bayview Avenue from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road, and River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue.11:35 a.m. Ontario’s regional health units are reporting another 24-hour period with more than 400 new COVID-19 cases as the rate of new infections has continued to rise in recent days, according to the Star’s latest count. As of 11 a.m. Saturday, the health units had reported a total of 26,301 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,114 deaths.The total of 475 new confirmed and probable cases reported since the same time Friday morning was once again up from recent daily averages, a sign the provincewide decline in infection rate has reversed in recent days. Meanwhile, the recent increase in cases is now primarily coming from infections in the broader community outside outbreaks in places like seniors homes, according to a Star analysis based on data from Ontario’s hardest-hit health units. In mid-April, at the peak of infections in the province, most new case appeared in institutional outbreaks; since then, the rate of outbreak cases have fallen, and now about 70 per cent of new infections are coming in the broader community.On Saturday morning, the province released its version of the same data, which showed the same trends.The province once again reported another day in which testing labs completed far fewer COVID-19 tests than the target of 16,000 daily. The 11,028 tests completed the previous day was the sixth straight well below the target. The province says the labs have the capacity to complete about 20,000 tests daily; last week they completed as many as 18,354 in a day. In the past, spikes in case counts have followed days with high testing rates, and vice versa for days of low testing.The number of new cases reported each day had been on a downward trend since hitting a peak of more than 700 in late April. However, the average has begun to rise slightly after flattening out to about 360 cases per day last week; before this week, the province last saw more than 400 cases on May 8.Meanwhile, the 24 fatal cases reported in the province since Friday morning was back in line with the recent falling trend. The rate of deaths is down considerably since peaking at more than 90 deaths in a day earlier this month, about two weeks after the peak in the daily case totals. Because many health units publish tallies to their websites before reporting to Public Health Ontario, the Star’s count is more current than the data the province puts out each morning.The province also reported 912 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 147 in intensive care, of whom 119 are on a ventilator — numbers that are down in recent days. The province also says more than 19,000 patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus have now recovered from the disease — about three-quarters of the total infected.The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,048 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.11:00 a.m. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says Spain will reopen its borders to foreign tourists in July.Get the latest in your inboxNever miss the latest news from the Star, including up-to-date coronavirus coverage, with our email newslettersSign Up NowSpain’s tourism sector has been grounded since the government declared a state of emergency to fight the pandemic in March, halting international travel and shuttering hotels.Spain receives more than 80 million visitors each year. The tourism industry represents 12 per cent of Spain’s GDP and employs 2.6 million people. There have been more than 28,000 confirmed deaths in Spain from the virus, the fourth highest total behind the United States, Britain and Italy.9:30 a.m. New coronavirus cases in China fell to zero on Saturday for the first time but surged in India and overwhelmed hospitals across Latin America – both in countries lax about lockdowns and those lauded for firm, early confinement. The virus hit a reopened church in Germany and probably a restaurant, too.The pandemic’s persistence stymied authorities struggling to keep people safe and revive their economies at the same time, disrupting Memorial Day weekend in the United States and collective celebrations around the Muslim world marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.8:30 a.m. New infections from outbreaks in seniors homes and other institutional settings are down sharply since spiking in mid-April.But the number of new cases caught each day everywhere else remains high — near the highest levels the province has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.A Star analysis has found that far more people in Ontario are catching COVID-19 in community settings than was previously known.May 2211:30 p.m. President Donald Trump has labeled churches and other houses of worship as “essential” and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen this weekend even though some areas remain under coronavirus lockdown.The president threatened Friday to “override” governors who defy him, but it was unclear what authority he has to do so.5 p.m. Ontario’s regional health units are reporting their fourth consecutive day with more than 400 new COVID-19 cases as the rate of new infections has continued to rise in recent days, according to the Star’s latest count.The health units reported a total of 26,260 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,113 deaths.The total of 492 new confirmed and probable cases reported since the same time Thursday was once again up from recent daily averages, a sign the province-wide decline in the infection rate has reversed in recent days.The recent increase in cases has not been felt equally across the province. The daily rate of new COVID-19 has been largely flat in the GTA, outside of Toronto, this month, with about 125 new cases reported per day on average. Likewise, the rate of new infections has flattened out in rest of the province, outside the GTA, with an average of about 80 new cases reported per day since May 10.New cases have spiked this week in Toronto; the city is seeing among the highest levels of new case reports since the beginning of the pandemic.The 194 cases reported per day on average over the last seven days in Toronto is only lower than the number the city saw for a short period in mid-April, when the epidemic was peaking in the province.
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