Coronavirus Updates Canada: Ontario Reports Highest Number of Deaths in One Day

Ontario could hit its peak this week; Andrew Scheer gets called out for not physical distancing; and the Canada-U.S. border closure will likely be extended.
Anya Zoledziowski
Toronto, CA
April 14, 2020, 1:16pm
Ontario Premier Doug Ford
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a new emergency order aimed to preventing more COVID-19 infections in seniors' care facilities. Photo by Tijana Martin (CP)

Updated at 3:30 p.m. (EDT): Ontario reported its largest death toll jump in a single day on Tuesday as MPPs met to discuss a 28-day extension for the province’s state of emergency.

The death toll in Ontario jumped from 291 to 334—a 43 case increase on Tuesday. Ontario has reported 7,953 COVID-19 cases so far.

One of the province’s top doctors said Ontario could hit its peak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases this week.

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According to Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer, predictive modelling suggests Ontario could hit its peak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases this week.

"That does give me a glimmer of hope but with some caution,” Yaffe told reporters on Monday.

Ford told reporters last week that the province isn’t testing enough patients for COVID-19; Ontario was testing about 5,000 people per day—about half the number that Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia are testing.

Ontario has the second highest number of known and probable COVID-19 cases behind Quebec (13,557).

On Tuesday, Ford also issued a new emergency order to prevent new COVID-19 infections in seniors’ facilities. Effective Tuesday evening, long-term care home staff will only be allowed to work in one facility.

He also confirmed students will not go back to school on May 4, but did not rule out their return before the school year ends.

Politicians take day off from physical distancing

Canada’s outgoing Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer spent the holiday weekend ignoring physical distancing, despite guidelines issued by Canada’s chief medical officer.

Dr. Theresa Tam has repeatedly told Canadians to stay at home as much as possible, to avoid non-essential travel, and to maintain at least 2 metres distance from others.

Scheer boarded a government-issued jet on Friday that first picked up Green Party parliamentary leader Elizabeth May and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough in British Columbia, CBC News first reported.

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Instead of boarding the flight alone, Scheer invited his wife and children, which made physical distancing on the plane impossible.

Tam has also said people should avoid travelling to their cottages, which is exactly what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did over the weekend. Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, shared photos that captured their holiday.

Gregoire Trudeau has been living with her kids in the Trudeau family’s Quebec cottage since she recovered from COVID-19 more than two weeks ago.

“After three weeks of my family living in Harrington and me working from here, I decided to join them for Easter,” Trudeau said at his daily press conference on Tuesday, adding that his family followed physical distancing guidelines.

On Tuesday, Trudeau further strengthened quarantine guidelines. Anyone, including asymptomatic travellers, who returns to Canada will now have to detail an adequate two-week isolation plan at the border. If there is no plan, or the plan isn’t feasible, they will have to self-isolate in a hotel.

An example of an “inadequate” plan includes travellers that “don’t have a set destination if they’ve been outside the country for many years,” Trudeau said, or travellers who will expose themselves to seniors during the two-week quarantine period.

The order, part of the Quarantine Act, is effective at midnight on Tuesday night.

Doctors Without Borders to help Toronto’s homeless

On Monday, Toronto’s chief medical officer said 25 homeless people from seven shelters have tested positive for the virus. The figure did not appear to include 11 residents and more than a dozen staff from Willowdale Welcome Centre in North York, a refugee shelter, who tested positive, the Globe and Mail reported.Two homeless clients from Willowdale are reportedly in hospital.

Humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it will operate inside Canada for the first time to support Toronto’s homeless community.

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Extending the Canada-US border closure

U.S. and Canada officials are engaging in talks to extend the shared border closure beyond April 19 for at least another few weeks, according to the Globe and Mail.

As of March 21, all non-essential travel between the two countries was temporarily banned for 30 days.

Aid for territories

Trudeau announced $130 million to help northern communities fight COVID-19 and access medical equipment.

About $72.6 million will be allocated to healthcare in Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Funds will also go to Nutrition North Canada to ensure already high food costs don’t get even higher.

Good news elsewhere in Canada

Saskatchewan reported two new COVID-19 cases on Monday—the lowest daily increase since March 15—and P.E.I. has not reported any new cases in five days.

Saskatchewan is already talking about loosening physical distancing gradually, while officials in P.E.I. said they aren’t ready to relax them yet.

Overall, Canada has reported 26,163 cases and deaths, nearly half of which have taken place in long-term care homes.

Canadian COVID-19 breakdown

As of Tuesday morning, the country had 26,163 probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 823 deaths.

Here is the breakdown of confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases across Canada:

British Columbia: 1,490

Alberta: 1,732

Saskatchewan: 300

Manitoba: 246

Ontario: 7,953

Quebec: 13,557

Newfoundland and Labrador: 244

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New Brunswick: 116

Nova Scotia: 474

Prince Edward Island: 25

Yukon: 8

Northwest Territories: 5

Nunavut: 0

Late Monday, the global total of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 1.7 million, with more than 111,000 deaths.

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