COVID-19 cases have now been confirmed in all of York Region's nine municipalities with the first case for Georgina among 13 additional cases reported today — for a total of 205 — today, March 29.
The additional confirmed cases today are: one in Georgina; seven in Markham; and five in Vaughan, with York Region public health reporting 23 cases have been resolved.
The number of resolved cases is anticipated to increase at a more rapid pace now the best practice for determining that a patient is no longer infectious has been changed.
Previously, to be considered resolved, a patient had to have two consecutive negative tests at Public Health Ontario Laboratory at least 24 hours apart. That remains the protocol for health-care providers and residents and patients in hospitals and long-term care homes, however, all other cases — those who have been in self-isolation — "are now deemed resolved 14 days after onset of symptoms", according to York Region spokesperson Patrick Casey.
Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffee, said at a March 25 news briefing at Queen’s Park, “As you know, there are a lot of lab tests being required and they have to be prioritized. In looking at the evidence and working with Public Health Ontario, we have just informed the public health units they can use a different criteria for resolving a case. Our number of resolved (cases) is expected to go up."
The majority of the 205 active COVID-19 cases are confirmed as travel related — at 38 per cent — followed by 30 per cent that are "under investigation," which indicates the likelihood of local transmission or community spread, according to York Region public health.
The reminder of the cases are confirmed as close contact and local transmission, at 16 per cent each.
The number of York Region health care workers with confirmed cases of COVID-19 remains at 12. Three employees at Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham — two of whom live in York Region — have tested positive, officials say, as well as a resident in her 70s.
Another person under investigation for COVID-19 has been admitted to Southlake’s intensive care unit while awaiting test results, bringing the total number of patients in the 15-bed unit to seven as of 4 p.m. today, March 29, hospital officials report. All confirmed cases of COVID-19 are being cared for in the ICU.
The number of inpatients at the Newmarket hospital under investigation for the respiratory disease continues to drop, with 14 today compared to 15 on March 28, and 41 last Friday.
As of late this afternoon, 31 individuals who screened positive at Southlake’s COVID-19 assessment centre and emergency have been sent home to quarantine for 14 days.
The majority of cases — 40 per cent — continue to be in Vaughan, followed by Markham with 25 per cent of the cases confirmed there. Newmarket accounts for eight per cent of the total cases in the region, with 16 cases confirmed.
Of the 205 cases in York Region: 81 are confirmed in Vaughan; 52 in Markham; 34 in Richmond Hill; 16 in Newmarket; seven in Whitchurch-Stouffville; seven in Aurora; three in East Gwillimbury; four in King Township; one in Georgina. One case is outside the region. Location is pending in some cases.
— With files from Kim Champion