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Get COVID-19 under control or face another lockdown, OHA warns

Last Updated Sep 14, 2020 at 9:53 am EDT

In this March 11, 2020, file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/John Minchillo

For six months, you’ve been wearing masks, missing your loved ones, and washing your hands raw in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The hard work has paid off, with businesses re-opening and children returning to school.

But the province’s hospitals are warning that progress is slipping away as the number of daily cases continues to climb.

For the third straight day the province of Ontario is reporting more than 200 new cases of COVID-19, prompting a warning from the Ontario Hospital Association.

Provincial health officials reported 204 cases of coronavirus on Sunday, down from the 232 cases reported Saturday and 213 on Friday.

The last time the province recorded three consecutive days of more than 200 new cases was June 9 – 11.

The Ontario Hospital Association says while sacrifice and responsible actions helped keep cases low through much of the summer, the increase in daily case counts over 200 is a sign that all that hard-won progress is “slipping away.”

“Make no mistake, COVID-19 is still a very real threat,” Association president Anthony Dale said in a release on Sunday.

“If current trends continue to accelerate, economic restrictions may tighten once more, and the school year for our children will be in jeopardy.”

“Ultimately, skipping a dinner party or a wedding that isn’t safe is a very small sacrifice to make to protect our loved ones and people who are particularly vulnerable.”

A total of 44,504 people across the province have been infected with the virus with just over 89 per cent of them having recovered.

One new death was reported, bringing the provincial total to 1,815.

Toronto is reporting 63 new cases with 47 in Ottawa and 35 in Peel.

Once again, the majority of new cases – 64 per cent – is among people under the age of 40.

The province processed 31,143 tests in the previous 24 hour period.

While hospitalizations fell, the province is cautioning that a number of hospitals did not submit data, as is the case on weekends. Patients in ICU did increase slightly while those in ventilators remained unchanged.

“Over the past week, an average of 633 cases are now being reported daily across Canada, which is more than 20 per cent higher than last week as this disease activity indicator continues a slow and steady increase nationally,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.

Tam warns the challenge now is to guard against COVID fatigue, especially as more activities shift indoors which will increase the risk factors with spreading the virus.

“Outbreaks are being reported in a greater variety of settings, including private social gatherings and celebrations, community settings and indoor events/public settings, with a large number of exposures and infections linked to single gatherings/events,” said Tam. “Just because you may know the people attending an event outside of your household/close-contacts bubble, it doesn’t mean there is a reduced risk.”

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