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More than 3,000 Ontario residents now under investigation for coronavirus

Ontario’s Ministry of Health has now confirmed 212 cases of COVID-19 within the province, up from a total of 186 patients reported on Tuesday night, with five cases now marked as resolved and one as deceased.

Among the newly-confirmed positive cases on Wednesday are four people from the Halton region, three in Toronto, three in Hamilton, two in Peel, one in York, one in Waterloo, one in Ottawa, one in Middlesex-London, one in Chatham-Kent, one in Grey-Bruce, one in Simcoe-Muskoka, one in Brant and one in Algoma.

Locations for the remainder of new cases are listed as “pending,” and all but five are thought to have contracted the virus through travel or close contact with someone who had recently travelled.

While the double-digit jump in the number of confirmed cases is higher than yesterday’s uptick of only nine new patients, it’s still lower than the 39 confirmed on Sunday.

What did grow exponentially over the past 24 hours is the number of people in Ontario being tested for COVID-19.

On March 17, the province had listed 1,567 cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus as “currently under investigation.”

Today, March 18, that same number is listed at 3,379 — an increase of more than 100 per cent.

This is not necessarily cause for alarm, however. The data simply indicates that Ontario has been testing more people since Premier Doug Ford announced a state of emergency in the province on Tuesday.

These numbers, as well as reports from front-line workers at dedicated COVID-19 assessment centres, indicate that the number of people attempting to get tested for the virus is growing fast.

As of 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Ontario’s Ministry of Health was reporting technical issues with its Telehealth Ontario Line — the line it has been directing residents with coronavirus symptoms to call.

The provincial government is still asking all residents not to visit an assessment centre unless referred by a healthcare professional, as test kit supplies are limited and must be reserved for patients at risk, such as seniors.

“Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, your local public health unit or your primary care provider if you’re experiencing symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus,” reads the government’s deciated coronavirus website. “Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.”

The province remains in a state of emergency to help contain the local spread of COVID-19 amidst a global pandemic outbreak, which has so far seen 7,426 people die worldwide.

Within Ontario, all bars, restaurants, libraries, movie theatres, stadiums, schools and recreational facilities are now closed and gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.

These measures will stay in place until at least March 31, at which point the province says it will will “reassess for an extension or end the closures.”

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