Ontario health officials say virus is slowing as province reports 934 new COVID-19 cases

Intensive care unit usage is less than previously estimated, but cases and deaths are 'sharply increasing' in long-term care homes

Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, speaks about updated modelling projections for COVID-19 at a media conference in Queen's Park on October 29, 2020. (CPAC screenshot)
Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, speaks about updated modelling projections for COVID-19 at a media conference in Queen's Park on October 29, 2020. (CPAC screenshot)

Here’s an update on COVID-19 cases in Ontario as well as in the greater Kawarthas region.

Today, Ontario is reporting 934 new COVID-19 cases, an increase of 100 new cases from yesterday. Most of today’s new cases are in Toronto (420), Peel (169), and York (95).

As a media conference at Queen’s Park on Thursday (October 29) releasing updated COVID-19 modelling projections for Ontario, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, pointed out that around 100 of the new cases in Toronto were a result of “extra entry of data”.

“That means our provincial numbers, if we take that off and balance it, we’re still in the range of plateauing around the mid-800s,” Williams said.

There are smaller increases in Ottawa (58), Halton (35), Hamilton (28), Durham (19), Niagara (16), Simcoe Muskoka (15), Waterloo (13), Eastern Ontario Health Unit (13), Middlesex-London (9), Brant County (9), and Leeds, Grenville & Lanark (6). The remaining 20 public health units are reporting 5 or fewer cases, with 10 health units reporting no new cases at all.

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At the media conference, Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto who is advising the government, said Ontario is no longer in a “worst-case scenario”, with current modelling projections showing a slower growth of the spread of the virus.

“We’re estimating a steady state level of cases for a while, between 800 and 1,200 cases,” Brown said. “Although cases are continuing to grow, that growth has slowed and we’re starting to see a more gentle curve.”

Of today’s cases, 52% are among people under the age of 40.

“The average age of a case is now moving up — it’s now 40 in Ontario,” Brown said. “It creates a bit of a warning signal because it is in the older age population where we see the biggest health and health system consequences.”

With 820 more cases resolved since yesterday, the percentage of resolved cases is unchanged at 85.5%. The positivity rate has decreased by 0.1% to 2.9%, meaning that 2.9% of all tests performed were positive for COVID-19 on October 28.

There have been 10 new deaths, including 5 new deaths in long-term care homes.

“We’re starting to see now a much sharper growth in cases in our long-term care homes,” Brown said. “This is one of the places where we have the greatest vulnerability to infection, and the greatest consequences of infection as we saw in the first wave.”

Brown added that reported deaths are also climbing more sharply, especially in long-term care homes.

“On October 9th, there had been only 25 deaths since August 15th — that number is now 85,” he said. “And to put the speed of change now in perspective, we have more deaths in the last week — 27 deaths — than we did between that entire period between August 15th and about October 8th. We’re starting to see a sharply increasing curve of reported deaths in long-term care homes.”

Hospitalizations have increased by 10 to 322, with 7 more patients admitted to ICUs and 1 new patient on a ventilator. Brown said that current modelling shows a slower growth in ICU usage that projected back in September.

“Estimates of intensive care unit use are much more within the limits of the health care system right now,” Brown said. “We are showing much slower growth in intensive care unit use, and it’s only in that worst-case scenario now that we actually exceed the threshold of 150 beds in the intensive care units. This is the threshold at which we start to limit access to surgery.”

Brown cautioned that the projections of slower growth could change at any time.

“This disease, particularly because it can spread so quickly with these super-spreader events, can dramatically turn, and you can have rapid, rapid growth, quite quickly,” he said.

With a total of 35,621 tests completed yesterday, the province has now completed more than 5 million tests since the pandemic began. The backlog of tests under investigation has increased by 6,168 to 40,074.

There are 99 new cases in Ontario schools today, an increase of 7 from yesterday, with 55 student cases, 9 staff cases, and 35 cases among unidentified individuals. There are 16 cases in licensed child care settings, an increase of 7 from yesterday, with 9 cases among children and 7 cases among staff.

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In the greater Kawarthas region, there is 1 new case to report today in Peterborough. There are no new cases to report in Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland, Haliburton, or Hastings and Prince Edward counties. An additional case has been resolved in Hastings and Prince Edward counties.

None of the new cases in Ontario schools and child care settings are in the greater Kawarthas region.

There are currently 15 active cases in the greater Kawarthas region, including 7 in Peterborough, 5 in Hastings and Prince Edward counties, 1 in Kawartha Lakes, and 2 in Northumberland.

Since the pandemic began in the greater Kawarthas region, there have been 148 confirmed positive cases in the Peterborough area (139 resolved with 2 deaths), 185 in the City of Kawartha Lakes (165 resolved with 32 deaths), 48 in Northumberland County (45 resolved with 1 death), 19 in Haliburton County (19 resolved with no deaths), and 75 in Hastings and Prince Edward counties (65 resolved with 5 deaths). The most recent death was reported in Northumberland on September 8.

Note: in late breaking news, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Warkworth Place, a long-term care home in Warkworth, on Thursday afternoon (October 29) after a symptomatic staff person tested positive for COVID-19. The administration and staff at Warkworth Place are implementing all outbreak control measures including additional environmental cleaning and infection prevention and control measures. The information about this confirmed case is not captured in the data on cases reported today on the health unit’s website or in this story (it will be included in tomorrow’s update).

Province-wide, there have been 73,819 confirmed cases, an increase of 934 from yesterday, with 63,123 cases resolved (85.5% of all cases), an increase of 820. There have been 3,118 deaths, an increase of 10 from yesterday, with 2,001 deaths in long-term care homes, an increase of 5 from yesterday. The number of hospitalizations has increased by 10 to 322, with 6 more patients admitted to ICUs and 1 additional patient on a ventilator. A total of 5,026,999 tests have been completed, an increase of 35,621 from yesterday, with 40,074 tests under investigation, an increase of 6,168 from yesterday.

This report is based on data supplied by the province’s integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), as well as any additional information supplied by health units. This information is at least 24 hours old, so it is not real-time data. Note that each health unit reports the information in a different way.

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Peterborough Public Health

Peterborough Public Health’s service area is the City and County of Peterborough and the Hiawatha and Curve Lake First Nations.

The health unit provides daily reports, including on weekends.

Confirmed positive: 148 (increase of 1)
Active cases: 7 (increase of 1)
Close contacts: 68 (decrease of 7)
Deaths: 2 (no change)
Resolved: 139 (no change)
Hospitalizations (total to date): 9 (no change)
Total tests completed: Over 34,100 (increase of 100)
Institutional outbreaks: None (no change)

 

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s service area is the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County, and Haliburton County.

The health unit provides reports from Monday to Friday, excluding statutory holidays.

Confirmed positive: 252, including 185 in Kawartha Lakes, 48 in Northumberland, 19 in Haliburton (no change)
Probable cases: 0 (no change)
High-risk contacts: 14, including 11 in Kawartha Lakes and 3 in Northumberland (increase of 1 in Northumberland)
Hospitalizations (total to date): 15 (no change)
Deaths: 33 (no change)
Resolved: 229, including 165 in Kawartha Lakes, 45 in Northumberland, 19 in Haliburton (no change)
Active cases: 3, including 1 in Kawartha Lakes and 2 in Northumberland (no change)
Institutional outbreaks: None (no change)

 

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health’s service area is Hastings County (including Bancroft) and Prince Edward County.

The health unit provides reports from Monday to Friday, excluding statutory holidays.

Confirmed positive: 75 (no change)
Active cases: 5 (decrease of 1)
Deaths: 5 (no change)
Hospitalized: 0 (no change)
Hospitalized and in ICU: 0 (no change)
Hospitalized and in ICU on ventilator: 0 (no change)
Resolved: 65 (increase of 1)
Total tests completed: 46,073 (increase of 36)
Institutional outbreaks: None (no change)

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Province of Ontario

Confirmed positive: 73,819 (increase of 934)
Resolved: 63,123 (increase of 820, 85.5% of all cases)
Hospitalized: 322 (increase of 10)
Hospitalized and in ICU: 77 (increase of 6)
Hospitalized and in ICU on ventilator: 52 (increase of 1)
Deaths: 3,118 (increase of 10)
Deaths of residents in long-term care homes: 2,001 (increase of 5)
Total tests completed: 5,026,999 (increase of 35,621)
Tests under investigation: 40,074 (increase of 6,168)

New COVID-19 cases in Ontario from September 28 - October 28, 2020. The red line is the number of new cases reported daily, and the dotted green line is a five-day moving average of new cases. (Graphic: kawarthaNOW.com)
New COVID-19 cases in Ontario from September 28 – October 28, 2020. The red line is the number of new cases reported daily, and the dotted green line is a five-day moving average of new cases. (Graphic: kawarthaNOW.com)
COVID-19 tests completed in Ontario from September 28 - October 28, 2020. The red line is the number of tests completed daily, and the dotted green line is a five-day moving average of tests completed. (Graphic: kawarthaNOW.com)
COVID-19 tests completed in Ontario from September 28 – October 28, 2020. The red line is the number of tests completed daily, and the dotted green line is a five-day moving average of tests completed. (Graphic: kawarthaNOW.com)

 

For more information about COVID-19 in Ontario, visit covid-19.ontario.ca.

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