Medical masks, such as surgical and N95 masks, should be reserved for use by health care workers, those providing direct care, first responders and individuals who are ill and must leave their home for essential reasons such as seeking medical care, picking up medication or groceries.
Ontario's growth rate in cases has steadily hovered between 1.5 and 1.9 per cent for 11 of the past 12 days.
The province says 984 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, with 155 being treated in intensive care units. This phase of our testing strategy will help ensure we identify and contain new cases and allow us to closely monitor any shifts in community spread.
Speaking alongside Ford at Thursday's news conference, Minister of Health Christine Elliott responded to this increase, saying that officials are "looking at where the new cases are coming from". "We need to be doing that testing frequently, perhaps weekly".
Ontario reported 413 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, and 31 more deaths.
Across the province, thus far, 577, 682 novel coronavirus tests have been conducted.
"We aren't doing almost the testing we should", said Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. However, the number of patients in ICU and on a ventilator climbed by three over the last 24 hours. This is an increase from the 7,382 done on Wednesday and the 5,813 done on Tuesday. "Can I give you an exact date?"
According to a press release, Ontario is also leading the country with 22 clinical trials now operating, including eleven that have already gotten approval from Health Canada to "advance potential vaccines and therapeutics". "As you can tell, I'm a little wound up today because I want to see the testing, simple. We will get there".
"Research will not only play an important role in the fight against COVID-19, but it will also drive innovation and our economic recovery as we restart the province", said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "We have to start going to the broader public and start testing as many people as possible - asymptomatic people", he said.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, reiterated Wednesday's messaging related to the use of non-medical masks as people "have more reason to be out and around" and it may be more hard to maintain a two-metre physical distance. "But if we keep testing and tracing and testing and tracing we're going to get it done".
There are now 5,051 test samples under investigation in Ontario.