Ontario reports another 634 new cases of COVID-19 today

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Every day, Public Health Ontario publishes some information on confirmed cases and deaths in long-term-care home outbreaks, but the Star has found this data vastly under-reports the true number of people dying in these settings, as well as in retirement homes.

There have been at least 516 deaths in long-term care - including one personal support worker - amid outbreaks at 132 facilities, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Health officials also confirmed 128 outbreaks within the province's 630 long-term care residences. Also for the first time Ontario is reporting more than 50% of COVID-19 cases have recovered.

The additional personnel will provide staffing relief, as well as " with operations, co-ordination, or medical care, logistics and general assistance to support the day-to-day operations", Ford said.

The reported death toll has risen to 763.

On Tuesday, Ford said that he was facing mounting pressure to ease up on restrictions imposed by public health officials after updated modelling data suggested that community-spread cases may have peaked.

In addition, the government says it has introduced a new measure to allow mental health and addictions agencies to redeploy staff within different locations or between programs, and employ extra part-time staff, temporary staff or contractors in order to ensure people continue receiving care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Ontario's Associate Chief Medical Officer says long-term care homes have become the province's priority in the fight against the virus.

Canadian Armed Forces operational help is en route to five long-term care homes in Ontario, expected to arrive this weekend, after the province made the request this week.

"I relate to it in our own family as I mentioned with my wife Karla." he told gathered reporters as the topic of elderly and long-term care homes was raised.

The Toronto Star originally reported the news Thursday afternoon, following the premier's daily COVID-19 press briefing. Some 2,189 residents have been infected by the novel coronavirus, while 1,058 staff members have tested positive.

Long-term care residents represent the majority of the 659 deaths in the province.

Thursday's report marks the highest single-day increase in positive cases.

For the second day in a row the growth rate of new cases in Ontario is at the lowest it's been for weeks.

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