Health Minister Christine Elliott announced today that the coronavirus statistics shared yesterday were inaccurate, and represented an undercount of the actual figures.
"It still is good," she said of the figures, which missed out on 87 cases from Toronto, bringing yesterday's total to 345. "We are still seeing a gradual, slow downturn," she said at Friday's press availability. Ontario reported 341 positive cases today.
The error was discovered late Thursday night, and the health minister noted the problem the following morning in a tweet, calling it a "small glitch."
We’ve learned of a small glitch with yesterday's #COVID19 reporting. Because of a one-time data upload issue, yesterday missed 87 cases. While they’re captured in today’s update, the real day-over-day numbers are 345 new cases on May 14 and 341 today.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) May 15, 2020
The error came from a data processing issue in Toronto, but the minister's office did not explain it further than that, simply adding a reassurance that it won't happen again.
Elliott also indicated that there will be news next week on whether or not the province will be expanding social gatherings from the current limit of five.
On Thursday, when the lower numbers were assumed to be accurate, the government rolled out its Stage 1 plan, which is tentatively scheduled to begin on Tuesday. Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said at the time, "We haven't had this few new cases on any day since March 31, so this is a good trend."
The landlord's game
There remain widespread reports that many commercial landlords are not applying for the program that would see them receive 75 per cent of the rent — 25 per cent from the tenant and 50 per cent from the government.
The lack of enthusiasm for the program has many businesses concerned that they'll be evicted as they don't have the revenue to meet monthly rent.
Asked whether he would prohibit commercial tenant evictions, the premier declined to go that far. Instead, he resorted to moral suasion to try to encourage landlords to do what he sees as the right thing.
"I side with the tenants," the premier said in his most critical comments yet of commercial landlord. "Landlords, you have to be flexible," he implored.
"Give these small businesses a break....they're trying to survive," he pleaded. "I can't stand these vicious landlords," he added.
Green Leader Mike Schreiner said that approach wasn't good enough, and the government should take direct action, given that its power of persuasion hasn't move the dial yet. "If the Premier truly wants our province to re-open for business, he must order an immediate ban on commercial evictions," he said in a statement.
When asked why he wouldn't do just that, the premier alluded to legal complications of intervening in contracts.
The NDP also said more needs to be done, with Catherine Fife arguing that it's not enough to leave it up to the federal government to find solutions. "The Doug Ford government needs to stop passing the buck to the federal government. Ford needs to step up to offer real financial supports to workers and small businesses in Ontario, especially women, so they can get through the worst of this crisis and begin to re-build our economy once the pandemic is over," she stated.
The premier takes the cheesecake
Call it the cherry on top. Following up on a culinary-related response Premier Doug Ford made early in the week, his famous cherry cheesecake recipe was released.
In a video made at home — perhaps in a bid to fill that Alison Roman-shaped hole in your heart? — the premier outlined his tips for would-be pandemic bakers.
This long weekend try making my famous cheesecake! I’ve been making this recipe for years and it always brings back good...
The premier said he learned the recipe from his late mother Diane when he was 10 years old, and that he now has it memorized.
"Baking is a great way to relieve some stress," the premier said in his afternoon press conference. But he also referred to some more serious aspects of the video. "I know that people are seeing some shortages," referring to items like flour, yeast and sugar. "Our supply chains remain strong," he said. "The key is that everyone should just buy what they need," he said, advising against stockpiling supplies.
The video features some special Ford-like flourishes to the video. There was a very GIF-able chef's kiss, for instance. And he also wore rubber gloves throughout the video, which is unusual, but to each their own.
The video, meant to be light-hearted during a time of crisis, also attracted some online criticism when it became clear that the cheesecake flick was filmed at his late mother's house, where his nephew, Toronto Coun. Michael Ford, currently lives.
But a source in the premier's office explained that the house was chosen because the kitchen offered more space for social distancing, and ensured that the gathering would remain at five people or less. Filming at the premier's house would have meant that there would be more than five people there, and in cramped quarters in the kitchen.
Three packs of Dream Whip
1/2 cup of milk
Three packages (eight ounces each) of cream cheese, softened
One cup of icing sugar
1/2 brick of butter
Two boxes graham cracker crumbs
One cup of sugar
Two cans of cherry pie filling
Grocery attendant: I'm sorry, there's been a run on Dream Whip and our stock is depleted.
— Sean Craig (@sdbcraig) May 15, 2020