Canada’s most populated province has reported 4,456 new coronavirus cases within 24 hours, setting a new record for single-day COVID-19 infections.
In addition to the new staggering number of COVID-19 cases, Ontario also reported an additional 21 coronavirus-related deaths.
The news comes just days after Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency and imposed a new stay-at-home order due to the rapid rise of infections, in part due to the new variants of the virus.
The increase in intensive care unit admissions across Ontario has also drawn concern from healthcare workers and public health experts. As of Sunday morning, nearly 605 COVID-19 patients were in ICUs, 20 more than the day before.
Dr. Michael Warner, a medical director for critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto warned Saturday that the situation “is going to get much worse.”
“On paper, Ontario has about 2,300 ICU beds. In practice, though, we have far fewer because we simply cannot staff them,” Warner explained in a video on Twitter. He also asked the government to help coordinate the transfer of healthcare workers, including ICU nurses, from parts of Canada that currently remain less affected by the virus.
“We need ICU nurses here in the GTA to care for the patients that are coming and the patients we have already,” He said.
The Ontario government annouced Sunday that it would authorize 700 additional pharmacies to administer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people over the age of 55.
On Friday, the province issued emergency orders to allow healthcare workers to be redeployed to hospitals in need of assistance, and to make it easier for hospitals to transfer patients to other facilities if they reach maximum capacity.
Last week, the Hospital for Sick Children, a paediatric care facility in Toronto commonly reffered to as SickKids, volunteered to open up eight beds in its ICU for COVID-19 patients aged 40 and under.
“Patient transfers will only occur once certain hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) exhaust available capacity after activating their surge plans, and all potiental transfers to neighboring regions have been attempted,” The hospital said in a statement.
Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that the nation was facing “a very serious third wave” of the pandemic.
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