Ontario reports 401 new COVID-19 cases, as people urged to stay home on Easter

Ontario is reporting 401 new and confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 7,049.

A total of 274 people have died of the virus, the provincial government says on its website.

According to CBC tallies, there have been 309 deaths.*  Across Canada, CBC has counted 709 deaths 

Of the confirmed Ontario cases, the province says:

  • 738 patients have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
  • Of this number, 261 patients are in intensive care units, while 196 are on ventilators ā€” 19 fewer than reported yesterday.

  • More than 40 per cent of people with the illness (3,121) have recovered 

Province reports 6,844 more tests on Sunday

Earlier this week, Premier Doug Ford blasted the “unacceptable” number of daily COVID-19 tests being done in Ontario. The government has outlined a plan to reach 8,000 tests a day by April 15 and 16,000 tests per day by May 6.

The province has been criticized for testing far below its daily capacity of 13,000 people.

On Sunday, Ontario reported 6,844 more people had been tested for the virus ā€” an increase from earlier this week, when the province reported 4,097 new test results on Thursday and 5,573 on Friday.

People are urged to stay home this Easter long weekend, as COVID-19 cases tick upwards in Ontario. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

People celebrate Easter online, at home

Meanwhile, Ontario churches are sitting empty on Easter Sunday, with some priests saying mass online.

People are being urged to celebrate the holiday in their own homes and with family members who live in their households.

The Easter Bunny, however, has been deemed an essential worker.

“This year, Easter celebrations will be different due to the pandemic,” Premier Doug Ford said in an Easter greetings statement on Sunday morning.

Churches around Ontario will sit empty on Easter Sunday, as people stay home and some worship online. The Metropolitan United Church in Toronto is doing a live stream on Sunday. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

“Please think of our seniors and those facing hard times, and consider reaching out or dropping off necessities for them.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory said messages of hope and renewal are particularly powerful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While these are challenging times for all of us, I know that we’re a strong city, capable of doing our part to flatten the curve,” Tory said in a video message.

Police have ‘zero tolerance’ for people not physical distancing

Meanwhile, an enforcement blitz is continuing in Toronto in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said on Saturday that police will have “zero tolerance” for people who refuse to respect the city’s physical distancing bylaw.

Mayor Tory has urged police to issue more tickets.

Easter Decorations in the front windows of Cakes By Robert on Queen Street. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

The city has now has more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases.

Along with city bylaw officers, Toronto police have issued 53 tickets, more than 2,500 cautions and 88 tags and towed four vehicles since an enforcement blitz began on April 2, the police chief said on Saturday.

*CBC has gathered death and hospitalization rates in Ontario directly from public health units across the province. The numbers reported by the Ontario government will sometimes appear lower, due to a lag in the provincial reporting system.