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Ontario reports 85 new coronavirus cases, provincial total at 588

Last Updated Mar 24, 2020 at 10:08 pm EDT

A technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/John Minchillo
Summary

The large increase includes two more death, meaning eight people have now died of the illness in the province.


The deceased people are is a women in her 90s from Durham Region and an 80-year-old woman from Hamilton.


The updated numbers also show there is now a backlog of more than 10,000 people waiting for test results.


Ontario reported 85 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 588.

The large increase included two more deaths, both in long-term care home residents. An 80-year-old woman who lived in a facility in Hamilton died in hospital, where she had been treated for the past week.

The death of a woman in her 90s from Durham Region was also reported. She had been living in a long-term care facility that had five confirmed cases. Twenty residents were in isolation, a spokeswoman for the Durham Region Health Department said.

Eight people have now died of the illness in the province.

Ontario further tightened restrictions at long-term care facilities Tuesday, banning residents from leaving for off-site visits with friends and family. The facilities were already restricting non-essential visits.

The updated numbers also show there is now a backlog of more than 10,000 people waiting for test results.

Ontario has ordered all non-essential businesses to close by midnight tonight in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

A lengthy list of businesses that will be allowed to remain open includes grocery stores and pharmacies, alcohol and cannabis retail stores, gas stations, construction sites and dry cleaners.

Businesses that support IT infrastructure service providers, power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water will also stay open.

The government has said working from home and online commerce are permitted to continue for all businesses.

The shutdown will last for at least 14 days.