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Ontario confirms 426 new cases of coronavirus, 4 more deaths

Last Updated Apr 1, 2020 at 4:12 pm EDT

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

Ontario is reporting 426 new COVID-19 cases today — the largest number so far — including four new deaths.

It represents a nearly 22 per cent increase and brings the provincial total to 2,392.

That includes 37 deaths and 689 cases that have been resolved.

The number of pending test results has dropped by 1,145 in the past 24 hours to 3,135.

A total of 332 have been hospitalized in the province, 145 are in the ICU and 89 are on ventilators.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says the number of deaths they have might not be accurate based on what the local health units have put out, because they don’t include non-lab-confirmed cases.

That will change as Dr. Yaffe says in long-term care homes, all symptomatic individuals including staff, will now be tested. That wasn’t the case previously.

The news comes as two more residents of Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon that is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak have died.

Fourteen residents and the spouse of a resident of the nursing home have now died amid what the local health unit is calling the largest COVID-19 outbreak in the province.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health is suggesting mandated isolation for people with COVID-19 and their contacts.

Dr. David Williams sent a letter Wednesday to the province’s local medical officers of health “strongly recommending” they use powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to require COVID-19 patients and their close contacts isolate themselves.

Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said the city will be issuing those orders to those people, as well as others suspected of having COVID-19.

In anticipation of a surge in patients, a hospital in Burlington is building a temporary COVID-19 unit. Joseph Brant Hospital said the structure being built on hospital grounds will have 93 beds.

The hospital’s chief of staff, Dr. Ian Preyra, said the pandemic response unit will allow the hospital to keep its critical care and high acuity beds for the sickest patients.

The Ministry of Health is also allowing all public hospitals to lease or acquire temporary space in institutions or other buildings, such as hotels or retirement homes.

The ministry says hospitals could use those spaces to house COVID-19 or other patients.

Hayley Chazan, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott, says as Ontario works to contain the COVID-19 outbreak there is a critical need for hospitals to maximize their capacity.