Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Saturday, May 23, 2020 10:30AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 23, 2020 10:49AM EDT
Ontario is reporting another 412 cases of COVID-19 and has now seen the numbers slowly rise for close to a week.
It is the sixth straight day in which the rolling five-day average of new cases has increased after being on the decline for weeks.
The rolling five-day average had dipped to 326 on Monday but since then has risen to 360, 370, 375, 395 and now 416.
The rise coincides with the beginning of phase one of Ontario’s reopening plan, which saw the reopening of retail stores on Tuesday. Officials have, however, said that the increase in cases is likely not a direct result of the loosening of restrictions since there is usually a delay in onset of symptoms.
It should be noted that the 412 new cases do represent a decrease from the 441 new cases confirmed one day prior, which was the highest number in two weeks.
The number, nonetheless, is much higher than the volumes of new cases seen earlier this month, which at one point had dipped as low as 294, sparking some degree of optimism that the province had indeed flattened the curve.
Earlier this week, Premier Doug Ford told reporters that he wouldn’t hesitate “to roll things back” if he upward trend continues but when questioned on Friday he wouldn’t say what sort of numbers would make him reconsider the gradual reopening of the province.
“These are things that you are up all night thinking about. It is tough,” he admitted.
Testing struggles continue
The province has the capacity to turn around 20,000 tests a day but has struggled to hit that number despite continued pressure by Ford, who has said that he would be “like an 800-pound gorilla” on the backs of Ontario’s health team.
On Friday, the province conducted 11,028 tests which was actually down a few hundred from one day prior.
The Ministry of Health, meanwhile, reported another 27 deaths in people who had contracted COVID-19.
Those numbers have been trending downwards for weeks after peaking on April 30 when there were 86 deaths reported.
Hospitalization also continue to slowly decline.
There were nearly 50 fewer COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Friday (912) than one day prior and just 147 of them were in intensive care units.
The total death toll confirmed by the province now stands at 2,048.
More to come…