Toronto passes 5,000 COVID-19 cases and 300 dead; 35 have died in Ontario while waiting for heart surgeries

The latest novel coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday (this file will be updated throughout the day). Web links to longer stories if available.

4:40 p.m.: McDonald’s Canada will start importing beef as Canada’s beef supply chain struggles to meet current demand amid COVID-19.

The restaurant chain, which prides itself on using only Canadian beef, says in a statement that its change in policy is due to limited processing capacity at Canadian suppliers, such as a Cargill Inc. plant near High River, Alta.

Cargill has shuttered operations temporarily after a worker died from the COVID-19 coronavirus and hundreds of other employees tested positive.

3:55: Toronto has seen more than 5,000 COVID-19 cases and 300 deaths, the city’s chief medical officer of health says.

At the city’s daily news conference on the pandemic, Dr. Eileen de Villa says a total of 305 people have died of the disease so far among 5,128 confirmed and probable cases. That’s up 155 cases and eight deaths from Monday.

The city appears to be near its peak in new cases, de Villa says, that won’t be totally clear “until we are past it.”

According to the city’s data, more than two-thirds if those deaths — 218 people — have died in an institutional outbreak.

A total of 2,930 people in Toronto have recovered from COVID-19, the data says.

3 p.m.: The NHL is offering Maple Leafs fans — and fans of all 31 teams — a chance to play safe during the pandemic while showing off their favourite team’s colours. Proceeds will go to food banks in Canada and the U.S.

2:40 p.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 2:36 p.m.:

There are 49,815 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

Quebec: 25,757 confirmed (including 1,682 deaths, 5,841 resolved) Ontario, according the Star’s count of the province’s regional health units: 16,313 confirmed and probable cases (including 1,026 deaths) Alberta: 4,696 confirmed (including 75 deaths, 1,664 resolved) British Columbia: 1,998 confirmed (including 103 deaths, 1,137 resolved) Nova Scotia: 915 confirmed (including 27 deaths, 522 resolved) Saskatchewan: 365 confirmed (including 5 deaths, 288 resolved) Manitoba: 262 confirmed (including 6 deaths, 209 resolved), 10 presumptive Newfoundland and Labrador: 258 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 222 resolved) New Brunswick: 118 confirmed (including 114 resolved) Prince Edward Island: 26 confirmed (including 24 resolved) Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved) Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 8 resolved) Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved) Nunavut: No confirmed cases

Total: 49,815 (10 presumptive, 49,805 confirmed including 2,852 deaths, 19,011 resolved)

2:25 p.m.: Manitoba health officials are reporting no new COVID-19 cases, leaving the total to date at 272. The number of active cases in the province has dropped to 57.

On Wednesday, The Manitoba government plans to reveal its plan to reopen the economy and ease some restrictions.

2:15 p.m.: The New Brunswick government says it will restrict temporary foreign workers from entering the province.

Premier Blaine Higgs says with so many outbreaks of COVID-19 in surrounding jurisdictions, the province’s borders must remain closed for now. This restriction does not affect the status of temporary foreign workers currently in the province.

Meanwhile, people are being allowed to enter New Brunswick for less than 24 hours to remove belongings from a student’s residence. Anyone leaving New Brunswick to remove belongings from a residence in another province is being ordered to self-isolate for 14 days when they return.

2 p.m.: New Brunswick is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 for the 10th day in a row. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the provincial total remains at 118 cases and 114 of those are considered recovered. She says only one person remains in hospital.

1:35 p.m.: Quebec says it will begin gradually restarting its economy in the coming weeks, aiming to reopen stores while resuming construction and ramping up manufacturing.

Premier François Legault says the province will keep close tabs on the number of COVID-19 cases and the ability of hospitals to respond.

Stores with their own entrances will be allowed to open on May 4 outside of the Montreal area and May 11 in the Montreal region.

On Monday, Legault announced elementary schools and daycares across the province would be reopened by May 19.

1:30 p.m.: Health Minister Christine Elliott says about 35 people have died in Ontario because their heart procedures were cancelled due to COVID-19. “I don’t want to call them collateral damage, because they are deaths,” she says.

1:20 p.m.: Quebec is reporting 83 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the provincial total to 1,682.

The province is also reporting a total of 25,757 confirmed cases.

Premier François Legault says while 1,625 people are in hospital, 94 are long-term care patients who have recovered but aren’t being returned to their homes.

Legault says while the number of deaths have risen in long-term care homes, other deaths remain largely stable in the province.

He says that’s why the government is moving ahead with a plan to restart the economy and reopen primary schools and daycares.

1:15 p.m.: Asked about Quebec opening schools earlier on May 11, Premier Doug Ford says: “I’m not going put our kids at risk.” Ontario extended its school closure to at least May 31 over the weekend. Ford doesn’t want them in a “crowded classroom.”

1:10 p.m.: Ontario government is looking to business for suggestions on what rules and regulations can be cut to help. Allowing restaurants to sell wine, beer, and spirits to go has been a popular example of changes already made.

1:02 p.m.: Ontario Premier Doug Ford will be updating reporters at his daily briefing just after 1 p.m. A livestream of his news conference will be available at

1 p.m. (updated): Two more residents at Participation House have died, bringing the death toll to six at the Markham facility for adults with physical and mental disabilities. The facility has been grappling with a COVID-19 outbreak and staff shortages since just before the Easter long weekend.

Forty of its 42 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to York Region Public Health.

12:55 p.m.: Nova Scotia has announced a $380-million loan program to help municipalities with financial losses due to COVID-19.

Developed in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities and the Association of Municipal Administrators, the loans will be available through the Nova Scotia Municipal Finance Corporation.

Municipal Affairs Minister Chuck Porter says the program will help municipalities continue to deliver programs and services.

The Municipal Affairs Department will approve requests from municipalities before sending them to the corporation for final approval.

12:50 p.m.: The Manitoba government says it will now test anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to see if they have the virus that causes the disease.

Premier Brian Pallister says even people with mild symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough, can be tested.

To accommodate the extra tests, the province says it will spend up to $10 million to have Dynacare join the Cadham Provincial Lab in running tests.

Cadham has the capacity to run 1,000 tests a day and Pallister says Dynacare will ramp up to add another 2,000 daily tests by the end of summer.

12:45 p.m.: Newfoundland and Labrador isn’t reporting any new cases of COVID-19, leaving the provincial total at 258. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, chief medical officer of health, says four people remain in hospital with two of them in intensive care.

There have been three COVID-19 related deaths so far in the province and Fitzgerald says 222 people have recovered. Premier Dwight Ball says people need to continue to follow the public health guidelines.

12:20 p.m.: In a sign that COVID-19 spread is slowing down in Canada, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the number of cases is doubling every 16 days. Early in the pandemic, the number of cases was doubling about every three days.

12:17 p.m.: Federal forecasting data suggests that by May 5, as many as 3,883 people could die due to COVID-19. And by the same date, there could be as many as 66,835 cases in Canada.

Tam says the initial models released on April 9 underpredicted the number of deaths in Canada. But she says with a large number of outbreaks occurring in long-term care homes, there has been a higher fatality rate.

12 p.m.: The chief public health officer for Canada is giving an update this hour on national projections for the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Theresa Tam says so far, 740,000 tests have been carried out, with about 20,000 people getting tested daily. Seven per cent have tested positive.

Tam says the new models are planning tools that allow illness rates to be forecasted in the short term and to allow public health measures to be adjusted.

Canadian health officials are projecting 53,196 to 66,853 cases and 3,277 to 3,883 deaths by May 5 in their latest models.

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Canada has 49,025 cases, with 2,766 deaths.

More details to come.

11:45 a.m.: Organizers of the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa are cancelling the summer festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive director Mark Monahan confirmed the decision Tuesday in a statement on the event website.

One of the city’s largest cultural events, the 27th edition of the festival was set for July 9-19 at LeBreton Flats Park.

This year’s lineup included artists Rage Against the Machine, Alanis Morissette, The National and July Talk among others.

11:35 a.m.: As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Ontario’s regional health units have reported a total 16,198 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 1,012 deaths, according to the Star’s latest count.

That’s 50 more fatal cases since the same time Monday, including the province’s 1,000th, reported Monday evening.

The Star on Monday introduced a new interactive graphic of these COVID-19 cases in Ontario, broken down by health unit.

Even as the rate of new COVID-19 cases has slowed in recent days, the daily tally of new deaths has not yet begun to fall. It has taken just 41 days for the province to record 1,000 deaths, but more than 500 of those have come in just the last 11 days.

Even as the Star’s count hit four digits, data on the growing number of deaths in Ontario seniors’ homes reveals the real toll of the COVID-19 epidemic is much larger even than the Star’s count.

Meantime, the daily growth of new cases daily growth has slowed greatly from the rapid increases seen in late March: In the second half of that month, the province saw an average daily growth of 20 per cent, a rate that doubled Ontario’s case count about every four days. In the first half of April that rate slowed to an average of 9.5 per cent daily growth, or doubling about every eight days. And the days since have averaged increases of less than five per cent daily, or a doubling time of around two weeks.

Earlier Tuesday, the province also reported 957 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 239 in intensive care, of whom 187 are on a ventilator. The province also says 8,964 patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus have now recovered from the disease — more than half the total infected.

Because many health units and publish case data before reporting to the province through a central reporting system, the Star’s count is more current than the data the province puts out each morning.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 951 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

The Star’s count, includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

11:30 a.m.: Nova Scotia is reporting three more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the province’s total to 27. Health officials are also reporting 15 new cases of the virus bringing the total of confirmed cases to 915.

The province says the newly reported deaths occurred at the Northwood long-term-care home in Halifax, which has been hardest hit by the disease. There are 10 licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors facilities in Nova Scotia with cases of COVID-19, involving 218 residents and 95 staff.

Nova Scotia has registered 26,902 negative test results, while 522 people have recovered.

11:25 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won’t say if the eventual COVID-19 vaccine will be mandatory. Says we still have a fair amount of time to determine that. A new poll suggests Canadians are divided over whether getting it should be mandatory or voluntary — setting up a potentially prickly public health debate if a vaccine becomes available.

11:20 a.m.: Trudeau says distancing measures meant to cut the spread of COVID-19 are working but Canada isn’t out of the woods yet.

The federal government has new national models and projections on the spread of the novel coronavirus to update figures presented nearly three weeks ago.

The details are to be come at noon (ET) from Health Minister Patty Hajdu in a virtual meeting of the House of Commons and by public health doctor Theresa Tam in a technical briefing. (livestream available at

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Trudeau says the pandemic remains one of the most serious public health emergencies in history and until it’s under better control, restrictions need to remain in place.

He says the country also needs more time to prepare workplaces, schools and places like nursing homes for flare-ups.

As part of that, Trudeau says millions of surgical masks and hundreds of thousands of face shields will soon be going to provinces that need them.

11:10 a.m.: Ontario public health units are reporting 16,198 confirmed or probable cases and 1,012 deaths as of 11 a.m., according to the Star’s count. More details to come.

10:52 a.m.: Prominent Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner has been working remotely from Oklahoma in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rempel Garner said she travelled to Oklahoma — where her husband and stepchildren live — on an “unexpected and urgent private personal matter” before Canada and the U.S. imposed travel restrictions at the border. Click here for the story from the Star’s Alex Boutilier.

10:50 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expected to address reporters at his daily 11 a.m. briefing. A livestream of his news conference will be available at

10:45 a.m.: Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath wants Public Health Ontario to take over long-term care homes that are overwhelmed by COVID-19 outbreaks.

9:45 a.m.: Canadian officials will hold a briefing on COVID-19 data and modelling projections at noon Tuesday. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, last released the government’s modelling on April 9, with projections including a death toll of anywhere between 4,400 and 44,000 Canadians. Watch it live here at

9:30 a.m.: The U.K. held a minute’s silence Tuesday for all front-line workers who have died from the coronavirus, as official figures showed a new weekly high in the total number of deaths in England and Wales.

As clocks struck 11 a.m., senior political leaders, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, joined hospital and nursing home staff in observing the silence. London’s subway and bus networks came to a halt as workers honoured colleagues, and Westminster Abbey paid tribute to “the sacrifice of health and care workers who have lost their lives in the service of others.”

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 82 workers in the National Health Service and 16 social care staff had died so far.

9:15 a.m.: Four people have died from COVID-19 at Downsview Long Term Care Centre in North York.

On its website, the home stated 50 residents and 19 employees are sick with the novel coronavirus. One resident has recovered from the virus.

9 a.m.: A fifth resident at Participation House has died, says the office of Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti. The facility for adults with physical and mental disabilities has been grappling with a COVID-19 outbreak and staff shortages since just before the Easter long weekend.

Every one of its 42 residents tested positive for COVID-19, according to York Region Public Health.

8:45 a.m.: While researchers across the planet race to find a vaccine for COVID-19, a new poll suggests Canadians are divided over whether getting it should be mandatory or voluntary — setting up a potentially prickly public health debate if a vaccine becomes available.

The poll conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that while 60 per cent of respondents believe people should be required to get the vaccine once it is ready, the other 40 per cent think it should be voluntary.

8:37 a.m.: Actress Olivia Cheng was recently volunteering in Vancouver when she says she witnessed a man drive up to an elderly Chinese woman, roll down his window and yell, “This is your fault!” before throwing trash at her.

The incident enraged Cheng, and also served as another reason why she feels it’s so important for celebrities of Asian descent to use their voices and speak up against anti-Asian attacks, which authorities say are increasing during the coronavirus pandemic.

8:35 a.m.: Seven employees at a busy Costco store in Vaughan have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua said Sunday that five staff were COVID-19 positive. York Region Public Health said in a statement released Monday evening that it is investigating seven staff who work at the store at 71 Colossus Dr. at Hwy. 7 and Weston Road.

Customers and staff who were at Costco Vaughan on Apr. 2, 5, 9, 11, 16, 20 and 23 — when the COVID-19-positive cases were at the store — should watch for symptoms that may develop up to 14 days after the exposure date.

8:30 a.m.: The medical community in Japan is moving toward a consensus that holding next year’s Tokyo Olympics may hinge on finding a coronavirus vaccine.

Japan Medical Association president Yoshitake Yokokura said in a video media conference on Tuesday that the Olympics were possible only if the infections were under control, not only in Japan, but globally.

8:20 a.m.: More than three dozen organizations from across British Columbia and Canada are demanding an immediate inquest into the April 15 death of an inmate due to COVID-19.

The unnamed man died at Mission Institution east of Vancouver — where 106 inmates have now tested positive for the virus — and he became Canada’s first reported COVID-related death of a federal prisoner.

Thirty-eight groups representing human rights, prisoners’ rights, health and legal interests have sent a letter to B.C.’s chief coroner and solicitor general saying an immediate inquest is in the public interest.

They say inmates cannot be allowed to die in prison from the “ticking time bomb of COVID-19” and call an inquest a “minimum first step” to ensure similar deaths are prevented.

7:49 a.m. President Donald Trump says states should “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, even though dozens already have said it would be unsafe for students to return until the summer or fall.

Trump made the comments Monday in a call with governors discussing how to reopen their economies, among other topics.

“Some of you might start thinking about school openings, because a lot of people are wanting to have the school openings. It’s not a big subject, young children have done very well in this disaster that we’ve all gone through,” he said. While addressing Vice-President Mike Pence, Trump added that it’s something “they can seriously consider, and maybe get going on.”

None of the governors on the call responded to the suggestion, according to a recording obtained by The Associated Press.

Reopening schools is considered key to getting the economy moving again. Without a safe place for kids, many parents would have difficulty returning to work.

But some education officials say opening schools quickly would bring major risk and little reward, especially since the end of the school year is approaching.

7:25 a.m. Wood is burning again in Naples’ pizza ovens, giving a symbolic and savory boost to Neapolitans after two months of lockdown meant an end to their most iconic and favourite food.

Pizzerias reopened Monday night in the birthplace of pizza, albeit under restrictions and for home delivery only.

Whereas pizzerias in Rome and elsewhere were allowed to operate for takeout and delivery service, they were banned in Naples out of fears that such a congested, high-density city could fast become a new hot spot for COVID-19 infections.

Campania’s governor, Vincenzo De Luca, enforced strict lockdown measures, knowing that the region’s hospitals couldn’t handle a major influx of sick. In the end, Campania had a relatively manageable outbreak of about 4,300 people infected, half of whom didn’t need to be hospitalized.

With Italy as whole gradually reopening, De Luca lifted bans on pizza deliveries as well as home deliveries from bars, pastry shops and ice-cream parlours and restaurants.

“Surely this is a little restart for the entrepreneurs, important for us and for our region, our city and our nation,” said Giovanni Pezzuto, owner of a Neapolitan pizzeria. “This is a symbol of hope for the little firm that slowly can restart.”

7 a.m. Official figures show that the number of deaths recorded in England and Wales in the week to April 17 was around double the usual amount — a clear indicator of the scale of the human cost of the coronavirus epidemic.

The Office for National Statistics said that a total of 22,351 of people in England and Wales died in the week, the highest since comparable records began in 1993. The total was 11,854 more than the rolling five-year average.

In its analysis of death certificates, which take longer to compile than deaths recorded in hospitals, the statistics agency said the coronavirus was mentioned as one of the causes of death in 8,758 cases, nearly 40% of the total.

It also said that 4,316 deaths involving COVID-19 had been registered up to April 17 outside of hospitals with 3,096 in care homes. The equivalent figure for hospital deaths over the period is 14,796.

The daily figures presented by the government only show the number of people dying in U.K. hospitals, including those in Scotland and Northern Ireland. As of Monday, 21,092 people had died in U.K. hospitals.

7 a.m. The Chinese embassy in India said Tuesday that it was “unfair and irresponsible” to “label” Chinese testing kits procured by India as “faulty.”

On Monday, India cancelled orders to procure rapid antibody testing kits from two Chinese companies after quality issues and controversies over its price.

Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said, “The quality of medical products exported from China is prioritized. It is unfair and irresponsible for certain individuals to label Chinese products as ‘faulty’ and look at issues with pre-emptive prejudice.”

The order was cancelled after a New Delhi Court revealed that India had been asked to pay more than twice of what it would cost to import them. The government maintained that it had not made any payment yet and didn’t stand to lose any money.

6:19 a.m.: The Chinese city of Wuhan, which was the original epicentre of the pandemic, again reported no new coronavirus cases or deaths Tuesday and its hospitals remained empty of virus patients for a second straight day.

China’s six new cases were three imported from overseas and three in Heilongjiang province bordering Russia. No new deaths were reported nationwide and just 648 current confirmed cases remained registered. China has reported 4,633 deaths among 82,836 cases.

5:50 a.m.: Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach reopened to swimmers and surfers on Tuesday despite the local area having Australia’s highest concentration of COVID-19 cases.

People can only enter during daylight hours, cannot linger on the sand and are counted to ensure social distancing.

5:30 a.m.: South Korea reported 14 new cases and one more death, bringing its totals to 10,752 cases and 244 fatalities. Its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said four of the fresh cases were from Seoul and two from hardest-hit Daegu.

With its caseload slowing, South Korea has shifted its focus to easing the economic shock. President Moon Jae-in said the pandemic has hurt major industries including airlines, marine transport and shipbuilding while calling for “all-out efforts” to protect companies and jobs.

5:15 a.m.: Bangladesh on Tuesday confirmed 549 new infections, its biggest one-day increase so far. The country has confirmed 6,462 cases, including 155 deaths.

Bangladesh, a nation of 160 million people, is facing challenges in dealing with the coronavirus because of its fragile health care system.

4 a.m.: The Conservative Party is poised to press the government on numerous issues during a modified version of a House of Commons sitting today.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he’s looking for more specifics from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when it comes to the country’s handling of COVID-19.

Scheer says he wants a plan outlining how the government will support provinces and territories “over and above the national guidelines that are currently being developed.”

Today marks the first meeting of a special committee struck to somewhat mirror the routine of the House of Commons.

Monday 7:35 p.m.: The “Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble” charity broadcast not only raised millions for Food Banks Canada on Sunday night; it was the most watched non-sports broadcast ever in Canada, Bell Media says.

The program in which nearly 100 Canadian musicians, actors, athletes, activists and others shared performances or inspirational messages amid the coronavirus pandemic reached 11.5 million viewers overall on 44 networks, plus digital and radio platforms, with nearly one in three Canadians watching part of the broadcast.

Viewership peaked at more than 6.1 million during the world premiere of the charity single “Lean on Me,” a version of the Bill Withers song performed virtually by more than two dozen Canadian artists, Bell Media said in a news release.

Monday 7 p.m.: A total of 1,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in Ontario, according to the Star’s latest count.

Ontario’s regional health units have reported another 47 fatal cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to a flat 1,000 as of 6 p.m. Monday.

Even as the rate of new COVID-19 cases has slowed in recent days, the daily tally of new deaths has not yet begun to fall. It has taken just 41 days for the province to record 1,000 deaths, but 500 of those have come in just the last 11 days.

The Star on Monday also introduced a new interactive graphic of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, broken down by health unit.

Read more of Monday’s coverage here.

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