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Ontario nursing home sees 7 coronavirus deaths, 24 staff infected

Last Updated Mar 30, 2020 at 3:43 pm EDT

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via AP)

An Ontario health unit says one nursing home has seen seven COVID-19 deaths and at least 24 staff members infected.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has said the outbreak at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon is believed to be the largest in the province.

The health unit says 10 other staff members are awaiting test results, and another person in the community has died in a case linked to the nursing home.

Ontario reported 351 new COVID-19 cases Monday, the largest single-day increase by far, which health officials attribute at least in part to clearing a backlog of pending test results.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health is recommending that everyone in the province _ especially people over 70 and with compromised immune systems _ stay home except for essential reasons.

Premier Doug Ford says medical supply lines will be “seriously challenged” if there is a massive surge of people into hospitals in the next two weeks, and all options — including further shut downs — are on the table.

The new total of cases in the province is 1,706 — including 431 resolved cases and 23 deaths.

The number of resolved cases had been stuck at eight for many days, but health officials had said to expect a large jump once the data caught up to a new definition for resolved.

The increase in the number of resolved cases also means there are actually fewer active COVID-19 cases in Ontario — 1,252 — than the 1,324 that Sunday’s data had indicated.

A new reporting format from the province also shows that more than 61 per cent of all cases are in the Greater Toronto Area.

Information on how people became infected is still pending for nearly half of all cases in Ontario. About 16 per cent are attributed to community spread, 26 per cent to recent travel, and nearly 10 per cent to close contact with another confirmed case.

About 10 per cent of people in the province who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been hospitalized.

The median age of people infected is 50, with cases ranging in age from under one year old to 100 years old.