Ontario reported 175 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as the number of people in hospital with the novel coronavirus continued to decline.
According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, there were 47 fewer patients in hospital with COVID-19 on Sunday than there were on Saturday.
The Ontario health ministry reported on its website that 286 people were in hospital with the novel coronavirus as of Sunday at 10:30 a.m., with 86 in intensive care units and 59 on ventilators.
A total of 28,719 cases have recovered, while a total of 2,606 people have died of COVID-19, according to provincial counts. A tally by CBC News, using data from public health units, has found that the death toll is 2,640 as of Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, a total of 23,408 tests were completed on Saturday and Elliott said testing in Ontario remains at “all-time” highs.
Ontario has been processing more than 20,000 tests daily since June 9, when 19,941 tests were completed, Elliott said.
“As we gradually reopen, ongoing testing will be critical,” Elliott said in a tweet on Sunday.
After remaining relatively stable yesterday, hospitalizations in Ontario continued their decline today, with 47 fewer <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>-confirmed patients in hospital. As always, today’s numbers will be available at 10:30 a.m. at <a href=”https://t.co/ypmgZbVRvn”>https://t.co/ypmgZbVRvn</a>. Check back daily!
The ministry said the province has a cumulative total of 33,476 cases.
According to Elliott, the number of new cases represented a 0.5 per cent increase. There were 76 fewer active cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as compared to that of Saturday, Elliott added.
The daily report follows a slight increase in the number of new cases on Saturday, when Ontario reported more than 200 new cases.
Troops leave long-term care homes in GTA
Ontario drivers, meanwhile, are being told to stay on the lookout for military vehicles on the roads this week as hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to long-term care facilities in the Greater Toronto Area start to head home.
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are still providing support to Hawthorne Place Care Centre in North York and Woodbridge Vista Care Community in Vaughan, Ont., according to the Department of National Defence.
But the military has left Orchard Villa in Pickering, Altamont Care Community in Scarborough, Downsview Long-Term Care Centre in North York, Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke and Holland Christian Homes Grace Manor in Brampton.
Around 500 military members and their associated equipment were gathered at Canadian Forces Base Borden, north of Toronto, in early April to support the federal government’s response to COVID-19.
Many of those troops were eventually deployed to seven long-term care homes hit hard by the novel coronavirus.
They found cases of abuse and negligence as well as bug infestations, bleeding infections and residents being left crying for help for hours.
Their observations were compiled into a damning report released last month that has sparked several lawsuits as well as calls for an overhaul of how Ontario’s long-term care homes are managed.
The Armed Forces say that with their mission now complete, the troops are scheduled to return to their home units across Ontario on Monday and Thursday, during which time a large number of military vehicles will be on the roads.
Up to $10M available for Indigenous-owned businesses
In time for National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Ontario government announced on Friday that it is providing up to $10 million to Indigenous-owned small and medium-sized businesses to help them with capital as the province continues to reopen the economy amid the pandemic.
The province said it will provide loans of up to $50,000 to businesses that are ineligible for, or unable to access, existing federal and provincial COVID-19 response programs for small businesses.
“Indigenous businesses are experiencing revenue shortfalls at this time, as many are located in rural or remote areas and operate in hard-hit service sectors such as tourism, hospitality and retail,” Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, said in a news release on Friday.
“This funding responds to their unique challenges and will help them get back up and running so they can contribute to the rebuilding of the provincial economy.”
According to the ministry, businesses can use the funds to cover general expenses, such as payroll, rent, utilities and taxes, and to pay for increasing production capacity, developing new products and moving to online marketing.
The funds can also be used for improvements to allow for social distancing, such as the installation of Plexiglass barriers.
The province said the funding is coming from the Support for People and Jobs Fund.
As for the loans, they will be available through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, Indigenous-controlled, community based financial organizations that provide developmental lending, business financing and support services to First Nations, Métis and Inuit businesses, the province said.
Up to 50 per cent of each loan will be in the form of a non-repayable grant, with no interest due on the loan portion until December 31, 2022.
First Nations communities to receive GlobalMedic kits
GlobalMedic, a registered Canadian charity specializing in disaster relief, said it has enlisted the help of Hydro One to put together kits of food and safety supplies for First Nations communities in Ontario.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Rahul Singh, executive director of GlobalMedic, and Mark Poweska, Hydro One president and CEO, packed kits on Friday. A total of 10,000 kits will be delivered to First Nations.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and economic challenges to the forefront, and we have a responsibility to support Indigenous customers and communities while unlocking the economic potential of the Indigenous economy,” Poweska said in a news release on Friday.
GlobalMedic said it plans to work with First Nations leadership and band council offices to distribute the kits to local community members.
“Together, we will deliver aid and have an immediate impact to help families in need,” Singh said in the release.
Torontonians crowd beaches after weeks of lockdown
Meanwhile, after three months of a state of emergency that has still not been lifted, Toronto residents flocked to the beaches of Lake Ontario on Saturday for a little sun and sand.