Ontario reported 404 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the number of confirmed and presumptive cases across Canada to more than 85,000.
Monday’s figures come a day after Ontario’s premier announced an opening up of COVID-19 testing criteria. Doug Ford said over the weekend that people who feel they need a test should go to one of the province’s assessment centres — even if they don’t have symptoms.
Ford’s message is a major shift for the province, which has faced repeated questions over how it plans to step up testing after falling short of its own benchmark. Previous guidelines for the general public said that only people displaying one or more symptoms of the novel coronavirus should be tested.
“If you are worried you have COVID-19, or that you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, even if you’re not showing symptoms, please go get a test,” Ford said on Sunday, a day after parkgoers in Toronto made headlines when images showed a large number of people in a popular west-end park.
WATCH | Ottawa resident on why they’re seeking COVID-19 tests:
The new cases reported Monday brought the total number of cases in the province to 25,904, with 19,698 considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of coronavirus-related deaths based on provincial health information, regional data and CBC’s reporting stood at 2,188 in the province.
Quebec is the only province in the country that has seen more COVID-19 cases than Ontario, with 47,984 reported cases and 4,069 reported deaths. Quebec lists 14,654 cases as recovered or resolved. While stores and schools have reopened across most of Quebec, the hard-hit island of Montreal — which has been the epicentre of the pandemic in Canada — had delayed its reopening.
For some retailers in Montreal that delay ends Monday, as they are allowed to open with increased public health precautions, including physical distancing rules and stepped-up hygiene requirements.
Like Ontario, Quebec has struggled to meet its testing goals and is still reporting hundreds of new cases a day. Last week, Quebec reported hundreds of new cases daily, with the lowest daily figure coming in at 570 on May 19 and rising to 720 on May 21.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the regional variability of the pandemic on Monday, saying “our approach will have to be tailored to each community.”
“That means the rules and public health recommendations you’re asked to follow may be different depending on where you live, and that can be confusing,” Trudeau said Monday outside Rideau Cottage. “But right across the country, one thing will stay the same — everyone has a responsibility to themselves and the people around them.”
He said moving forward has to happen gradually and carefully, adding that testing and contact tracing are critical to reopening.
1/2 To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested 1,479,762 people for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>, w\ an average ~5% positive overall. Based on the last seven days, an average of 22,360 people have been tested daily (w\ ~4% +ve) as <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/publichealth?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#publichealth</a> continues to <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/TestandTrace?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#TestandTrace</a>.
Trudeau also said the federal government is talking to the provinces about bringing in 10 days of paid sick leave for workers — something the NDP demanded in exchange for supporting the Liberals’ plan to extend the suspension of the House of Commons during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills. Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with COVID-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries,” Trudeau said.
“That’s why the government will continue discussions with the provinces, without delay, on ensuring that as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, every worker in Canada who needs it has access to ten days of paid sick leave a year. And we’ll also consider other mechanisms for the longer term to support workers with sick leave.”
WATCH | Trudeau questioned about paid sick leave plan:
The novel virus that causes COVID-19 first emerged in China in 2019 but has since spread around the world, prompting travel restrictions, lockdowns and massive economic fallout. The virus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
As of 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 85,677 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 44,543 of the cases considered recovered or resolved. CBC’s tally of coronavirus deaths stood at 6,624.
Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories
In British Columbia, the B.C. Parks website crashed just minutes after opening summer bookings for provincial campsites Monday morning. The reservation system reopened at 7 a.m. PT for B.C. residents only, after officials closed reservations for out-of-province residents to curb the spread of COVID-19.
B.C. started reopening provincial parks ahead of the May long weekend, roughly a month after they were closed amid concerns over COVID-19. Recreational camping will be allowed in those parks again as of June 1. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the government has ordered 40 million masks and will soon announce a distribution plan for them.
Meanwhile, businesses in Calgary and Brooks began reopening on Monday. Much of the province was allowed to reopen on May 14, but the two cities reopened at a slower pace due to higher numbers of COVID-19 cases in their regions. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan reported two new coronavirus cases on Sunday — both in the province’s far north region. The province has reported a total of 632 cases, with 538 listed as recovered. A total of seven deaths have been reported by health officials. Read more about what’s happening In Saskatchewan, including a story about door-to-door testing in La Loche, which has seen a large share of the province’s cases.
Manitoba has now gone three straight days without reporting any new cases. The number of active cases remains at 17 on Monday, and no one is in being treated for the illness in hospital. The province’s death toll stands at seven, while 268 people have recovered. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
As Manitoba continues to ease restrictions and plan for the next phase of its reopening plan, here’s what some people dream of doing once life gets back to a “new” normal. <a href=”https://t.co/eIzGx209Wn”>pic.twitter.com/eIzGx209Wn</a>
Ontario will maintain a five-person maximum for gatherings after a recent uptick of positive cases. The province has prohibited gatherings of more than five people, unless they live together, since March 28.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province had been considering allowing groups of more than five to gather in the near future, but those plans have temporarily been put aside. “It is something that will be coming forward, but it has been pushed back a little bit,” Elliott said.
Elliott specifically mentioned the scene at Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park, where large crowds gathered on Saturday, as one of the reasons behind the decision to maintain limits on group sizes. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
WATCH | Ontario delays loosening group restrictions:
In Quebec, public transit users in Laval and Montreal are being encouraged to wear masks as hundreds of thousands of people returned to work this morning.
Politicians and a brigade of Société de transport de Montréal (STM) workers are handing out free masks at Metro stations in Laval and Montreal. Exo staff members are also be giving out masks.
Masks are not obligatory in Quebec, but Premier François Legault, who now wears one to his daily briefing, has strongly encouraged people to wear them. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.
New Brunswick again reported no new coronavirus again on Monday. The province is planning to lift even more restrictions put in place to deal with COVID-19 later this week. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia reported one new coronavirus case on Monday and one new recovery. The vast majority of COVID-19-related deaths in the province have been linked Northwood, a Halifax long-term care home. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.
WATCH | Some good news from around the world on Monday:
Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases again on Monday. Read more about what’s happening in N.L., where the province has pledged $ 25 million to help the tourism sector, which the premier said employs about 20,000 people.
There were no new cases of COVID-19 in the Yukon, Northwest Territories or Nunavut on Sunday. Read more about what’s happening across the North, including the latest details from Nunavut on the territory’s reopening plan. Nunavut remains the only jurisdiction in Canada with no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Here’s what’s happening around the world
WATCH | People enjoy new freedoms but also find unusual ways to live in a world with the coronavirus still present: