Canada Doug Ford urges city-dwellers to avoid cottage country amid COVID-19 outbreak

16:05  28 march  2020
16:05  28 march  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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Premier Ford is asking people not to head north to self-isolate. There are concerns the more rural areas don’t have the capacity or resources to deal with COVID - 19 . Miranda Anthistle reports from Queen’s Park.

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Doug Ford, Rod Phillips are posing for a picture © CBC Doug Ford Ontario reported 135 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases and three new deaths Friday, including two at the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon.

At least 14 staff members at the home are also infected, along with three more residents beyond the two who died.

The cases in the Kawartha Lakes area come as Premier Doug Ford is requesting big-city residents and snowbirds to avoid self-isolating at their cottages and instead stay in their hometowns.

Ford says he's been hearing from mayors in towns scattered throughout the province's extensive cottage country that local health resources are already struggling to keep up with the COVID-19 pandemic and an influx of new arrivals will make the situation worse.

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There were at least 1,405 COVID - 19 cases in the country 's worst hit state by Friday morning, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said. Dr Chant said 877 cases were return travellers and 278 cases had been transmitted locally through close contact with an infected person or a known coronavirus

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Doctors in some of those communities say they don't have enough testing kits, protective gear, or other tools necessary to help keep the pandemic at bay.

Province-wide, there are at least 993 lab-confirmed cases of the virus so far, including 18 people who have died and another eight who have recovered.

Public health officials say 60 of the province's 967 active COVID-19 cases were in hospital on Friday.

According to associate chief medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe, 43 of those people are in intensive care units — up from 29 on Thursday and 17 on Wednesday — and 32 are currently on ventilators.

Ontario aiming for 5,000 tests a day

The rising number of cases in local ICUs, coupled with a large backlog of pending COVID-19 test results and large numbers of residents who haven't been tested at all, is fuelling concern that the virus has spread more widely than the official numbers suggest.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams said Ontario has started to make progress on the backlog, which dropped for the first time Friday, from nearly 11,000 to just over 10,000 pending results.

Health officials say more lab testing sites are opening and Ontario hopes to be doing 5,000 tests a day by the end of the weekend.

Meanwhile, the chair of the province's COVID-19 command table says postponing elective surgeries has freed up capacity in hospitals, noting there were roughly 400 critical care beds available across the province on Friday.

The current ICU occupancy rate in the province is 68 per cent.

'There are risks' to going to rural areas and cottages, chief medical officer says .
'There are risks' to going to rural areas and cottages, chief medical officer says"We are a small province, in terms of trying to maximize our resources to help get us through this pandemic," she said. "There are risks for people to move around in that way and to go to those rural areas.

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