Coronavirus updates: Ford promises detailed testing strategy as Ontario reports 460 new COVID-19 cases; City officials have harsh words for Bellwoods crowds

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Top COVID-19 stories and news

Case summary

  • As of May 23, there are 25,500 known cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.
  • 19,477 cases have been resolved in the province and 2,073 people have died.
  • As of May 22, there are 9,835 cases in Toronto, 7,202 cases are resolved and 750 people have died.

The latest local and Canadian news on novel coronavirus

12:15 am de Villa: “I think some young people feel that they’re not at risk”

Echoing other officials, including John Tory, Doug Ford and Joe Cressy, the city’s chief medical officer of health Eileen de Villa urged Torontonians to stay home after images emerged of throngs of people hanging out in Trinity Bellwoods Park on Saturday.

“We are disappointed, given all we’ve been through,” de Villa said in an interview on CP24 Sunday.

“The whole city – whether you’re talking about health care, public health, young people, old – we have all sacrificed for many weeks. We have averted disaster thus far … We don’t want to undo the progress.”

When asked to explain the crowding, de Villa replied, “I think some young people feel that they’re not at risk, or this doesn’t impact them. But this isn’t true – we know this.”

She added that demographic second most impacted in Canada by COVID-19 are those between 20 and 39.

de Villa added that the city is seeing residents successfully physically distancing in other parks, and that they have left green spaces open to the public for a number of health reasons.

“We recognize that in a city like Toronto we have a lot of people living in condos and smaller apartments, and having access to spaces like parks is really important … It’s important to balance things out,” she said. “We want to prevent COVID-19, but we also want to make sure people are taking care of their health.”


11:13 am Ontario reports 460 new cases of COVID-19, 25 deaths

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario is continuing to go up, with 460 reported on Sunday morning. That’s an increase over 412 on Saturday and 441 on Friday.

The province’s total number of confirmed cases is now 25,500.

Another 25 people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,073. Of those deaths, 1,300 were long-term care residents.

The number of resolved cases in the province is 19,477.

The province continues to fall short of testing targets, with 11,383 tests completed since yesterday. Another 3,216 cases are under investigation.

Earlier this month, new COVID-19 cases began to decline but the number of new cases has not fallen below 300 since May 9. 


11 am Ford promises “detailed” testing strategy as Ontario reports 460 new cases

In a brief press conference Sunday morning, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he would be releasing a detailed testing strategy for the province next week.

Ford urged Ontarians to visit one of the province’s 129 testing centres if they felt they may have been exposed, regardless of whether they were exhibiting symptoms: “You will not be turned away. You don’t need an appointment. Just show up to a testing centre,” he said.

“Our assessment centres are ready to receive you, and the only way we can get those testing numbers up is for everyone who feels like they need it to get a test.”

The province has come under fire for a recent drop in COVID-19 testing while the number of new cases reported daily has stayed around the 400 mark or higher for the past several days. 

During the conference, Ford also said he was “absolutely shocked” by images of thousands of people congregating in Trinity Bellwoods Park yesterday.

“I thought it was a rock concert at the beginning,” Ford said. “It’s a beautiful day, and everyone wants to get out and have a good time. I fully understand. But the images I saw – we just can’t have that right now. It’s too many people, too close.”

View Ford’s announcement below:


10 am Canada has more than 83,000 cases of COVID-19

There are 83,621 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 6,355 people have died.

The outbreak is a serious public health threat though most people who contract the virus have not been hospitalized. 

Symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing and pneumonia in both lungs and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. People age 65 and over and people with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of contracting a severe case.


12 am City of Toronto officials furious at massive crowds in Trinity Bellwoods Park

The city of Toronto released a sternly worded statement late Saturday night to denounce “unacceptable” photos of videos of thousands of people hanging out in Trinity Bellwoods Park that circulated online.

“Images today of thousands of people gathered in Trinity Bellwoods Park were unacceptable,” the unattributed statement reads.

“More than 700 people from Toronto have tragically lost their lives due to COVID-19. Public gatherings, like today’s in Trinity Bellwoods Park, threaten to undo the difficult and challenging work residents of this city have done over the last 10 weeks in their collective effort to beat COVID-19.”

Bylaw enforcement officers and police will have a “visible presence” in the park on Sunday morning, the statement continues. “The physical distancing bylaw and provincial emergency order around gatherings will be strictly enforced.”

Read more here.

@nowtoronto