Investigation into long-term care facilities
Ontario’s Ombudsman will conduct an investigation into the province’s oversight of long-term care homes.
The office of the Ombudsman says the review will determine whether it has been adequate enough to ensure the safety and well-being of the homes’ residents.
More than 70 per cent of the coronavirus deaths in Ontario have been in such facilities.
The move comes after last month’s report from the Canadian Armed Forces, which condemned the standards of care in the five homes in which soldiers were working.
Premier Doug Ford says he welcomes the inquiry.
Ford says he wants answers too.
The numbers in Ontario
Provincial health officials report 404 new coronavirus cases across Ontario yesterday, a slight uptick from previous days.
The increase of 1.5 per cent is in line with those seen over the past several days.
There have now been more than 28-thousand positive COVID-19 diagnoses, with 78 per cent of those infected now considered recovered.
Ten more deaths were also announced yesterday, the lowest increase since April 1st.
So far, 22-hundred and 76 people have died of the virus in our province.
Meantime, the CBC is reporting that more than 700 cases in southern Ontario weren’t reported to provincial health units until late last week.
Samples taken at the William Osler Health Care sites in April and May were sent to Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital for testing.
But each hospital thought the other was responsible for communicating the results to the province.
The numbers across the country
Canada now has recorded 7, 305 deaths from COVID-19.
The updated number was provided during an afternoon press update featuring dignitaries including Minister of Health Patty Hajdu and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
There are 91,351 cases of the virus recorded in the country with 49,000, or 54 percent of all cases, recovered.
1.69 million people have been tested across the country with 5 percent of those having tested positive.
Hajdu says they are seeing new cases of COVID-19 popping up in places away from major cities and she reminded those that are feeling unwell to stay home.
Despite the good weather and some measures being lifted, Hajdu says everyone still needs to physical distance, wear a mask when they can’t physical distance and wash their hands regularly.
As reopening continues, she says “we can’t lose the progress that we have made” against the virus by following safety measures that were put in place.
She says if an app is developed for tracing, it needs to be an app that Canadians feel safe using.
She says everything they’ve done so far has been in collaboration with provinces and territories to make sure they use methods that Canadians are comfortable with.
Dr. Tam says they are seeing unintended consequences of pandemic response including an impact on opioid-related deaths and problematic substance use.
She says together Canadians can reduce drug-related harm.
Legislature in session
The Ontario Legislature will be back in session today, to vote on a motion to extend the state of emergency another four weeks, until the end of June.
Premier Ford says they need more time to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
The premier won’t say when more restrictions might be lifted, but adds they are considering a plan to reopen regions on different schedules.
He admits it’s a complicated proposal to put together.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says they need to see a longer downward trend in the number of new infections before there’s a further reopening of the economy.
Feds fast track money for municipalities
The federal government is fast-tracking funding to municipalities across Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the $2.2-billion is from the Gas Tax Fund and will be sent in one payment this year to help cities and towns facing a cash crunch because of COVID-19.
The money is typically sent out in two payments every year.
The Gas Tax Fund supports 3,600 municipalities across Canada annually.
Trudeau says the federal government needs to do more for municipalities and discussions with provinces and territories continue.