Level of community spread still "perplexing"

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, attends a news conference in Toronto, on Monday, January 27, 2020, as officials provide an update on the coronavirus in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Health officials have reported 477 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, which is the highest we've seen in nearly a week.

The new case total is higher than both the weekly average of  419, and the two-week average of 445.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health has said he's looking for two-to-four weeks of declines in new case numbers, before moving to stage one of recovery. That would mean a resumption of elective surgeries and the opening of parks.

But Dr. David Williams said on Friday that more than half of the new cases were caused by community spread, meaning from person-to-person contact in the community. That would go against the common belief that the majority of the new cases were coming in long-term care settings.

"It is still perplexing to me that we're not making major headway in going down, and it makes me wonder if people are being less than consistent in their physical distancing and if they were in close contact, they weren't wearing their facial covering in those few moments when they could not maintain physical distancing," says Williams.

More than 16,000 tests were completed, but the number of cases still under investigation grew to more than 14,000. He says they hope to have the number of daily tests done, at around 20,000, next week.

That's the highest number of tests all week.

63 new deaths were reported, bringing the total number in the province to 1,540.

The number of people in hospital and in the ICU dropped slightly, with the number of people on ventilators up by 11, to 166.