Ontario’s COVID-19 death toll tops 9,800

Ontario’s COVID-19 death toll tops 9,800 as major hospital networks enact vaccine mandates for visitors

Ontario reported 306 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as the death toll in the province surpassed 9,800 and a number of major hospital networks said they are enacting mandatory vaccinations for visitors in addition to their staff.

University Health Network in Toronto, which introduced an early vaccine mandate for staff that went beyond a provincial directive, is now planning to ask visitors for proof of full vaccination starting Oct. 22.

Spokeswoman Gillian Howard says the hospital network cares for some of the most immune-compromised and immune-suppressed people in the province, so they want to do everything possible to protect the patients.

Beginning on Oct. 25, Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga and west Toronto will require proof of vaccination from people going to visit patients, except for partners of patients in labour and delivery, patients at the end of life, pediatric patients and those in the emergency department.

They say they will not be accepting a negative test in lieu of full vaccination for all other visitors, in order to devote staff resources to focus on patient care.

Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance says it will require family and caregivers to be fully vaccinated starting Nov. 1, with similar exceptions as Trillium Health Partners.

“Our primary responsibility to those needing our hospitals for care and to our team is to provide as safe an environment as possible,” president and CEO Andrew Williams said in a statement.

“Requiring full vaccination against COVID-19 is one of the best ways of achieving this.”

Downward trend in new cases continues

Meanwhile, the 306 new cases reported today in the province is the fewest since early August. 

While overall daily cases have been trending downward for weeks, testing levels dropped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which could be a factor in today’s count.

The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 500.

Twelve additional deaths pushed the official toll to 9,804.

Read more on cbc

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