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Cases rise as variants surge; 18 more people die – but none in long-term care

Posted: March 14, 2021

(March 13, 2021)

By: Antonella Artuso, Toronto Sun (Print Edition)

There were 1,371 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 more deaths reported Friday.

Provincial modelling released this week warned that numbers would likely rise over the next few weeks as variants of concern (VOC) became the more dominant strains.

Testing confirmed 49 more cases of the United Kingdom variant, one case of the South African variant and six cases of the Brazilian variant, and 346 more cases where initial testing indicated a VOC.

None of the additional deaths were in long-term care (LTC) homes, a sign that the aggressive vaccination program has saved lives in nursing homes, according to public health officials.

However, the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) said the second wave of the pandemic was still deadlier for LTC residents than the first wave.

The OHC said that the total number of LTC cases since Sept. 1 has reached 13,114, an increase of 53% over the previous wave that began a year ago.

“The total number of long-term care residents and staff deaths in Wave 2 so far is 2,062, which is 13% more than there were in the first wave,” the OHC said Friday in a statement.

There were no new cases of COVID-19 in LTC residents Friday, but nine additional infections were identified in LTC staff.

Of the provincewide new cases, 371 were in Toronto, 225 were in Peel, 111 were in York, 109 in Hamilton, 83 in Ottawa, 35 were in Durham and 34 in Halton.

In Sudbury, where the province applied its emergency brake Friday to move the zone back into lockdown, there were 40 cases, up from the previous day’s 11.

Ontario is moving three regions on the COVID-19 colour-coded framework effective Monday – Lambton to grey-lockdown, Northwestern Health Unit to red-control and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District to yellow-protect.

“The latest modelling suggests we are at a critical stage in our fight against this devastating virus, and that the actions we take now will help ensure people stay safe,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement Friday.

Ontario administered 43,503 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, a total of 1.06 million, and 282,748 people have received the required double doses.

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