COVID-19 is most deadly for seniors and people with pre-existing health conditions, making long-term care a risky place for the virus to spread.
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. And earlier this month, the Progressive Conservative government came under fire after a CBC News investigation found it had largely stopped doing unannounced annual inspections of long-term care homes.
On Monday, Ontario health officials said it appears cases within the community have peaked, while cases in long-term care and other congregate settings have been growing.
"Things change very quickly, sometimes hour by hour", Merrilee Fullerton said when asked.
Ford said Thursday that officials are still deciding which homes will receive help from the military.
More assistance is on the way for long-term care homes experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks such as Hastings Manor in Belleville, Premier Doug Ford told reporters Wednesday.
Ontario reported 640 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday and 50 additional deaths, bringing the provincial total to 13,519 cases. On Thursday, the federal government approved the request that the military be deployed to the hardest-hit homes.
Homes with current outbreaks should be prioritized, as should the testing of residents, but it's also important to understand the prevalence among staff, the memo said. In both outbreaks, the health unit has confirmed one staff member tested positive for the virus.
With more than 500 deaths of residents in long-term care, Ford said the system needs to be changed.
Also on Thursday morning, the federal minister of public safety issued a brief statement confirming Ontario's request for help from the Canadian Forces and Public Health Agency of Canada has been granted.
The Ontario government further recorded 6,221 cases were so far resolved but noted 878 Ontarians were in hospital with 243 in intensive care units, 192 on a ventilator.
There have been a total of 12,879 cases of the virus confirmed through lab testing in the province, of those, 6,680 have recovered (51.9 per cent) and 713 have died (5.5 per cent).
Meanwhile, a new COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People was unveiled today.
- Facebook map shows you where people are reporting coronavirus symptoms
- Iran's Guards launch its first military satellite, Middle East News & Top Stories
- New AirPods to launch in May
- Oil market in turmoil as equities slump
- Production on ‘The Mandalorian’ season 3 is already underway
- Trump immigration ban to apply to those seeking permanent status
- Germany to start first clinical tests on coronavirus vaccine
- Iran promises 'decisive response' to Trump's threats in Gulf
- NY state to launch large-scale COVID-19 antibody testing
- Kim Jong-un in "grave" medical condition, says CNN report