Ontario has recorded the death of a child with COVID-19, but according to the local public health unit, the death was not a result of the coronavirus.
The girl was from Toronto and younger than 10. According to Ontario's chief coroner, her death is under investigation and as part of that process, testing was performed. In death investigations, any positive result for COVID-19 or any other reportable disease is flagged with the local public health unit, so that the people who were in contact with that person are notified.
"We look at all aspects to try to understand the circumstances of death, and that will involve testing, evaluation of the body through an examination," said Dr. Dirk Huyer, adding that post-mortem testing can find remnants of the coronavirus without indicating the person had an active infection. "And that actually speaks to more than specifically at the death situation, but also in the life situation."
In general, Ontario's COVID-19 statistics count cases where someone has died and has tested positive for the disease, not necessarily that they died from the disease, said Health Minister Christine Elliott.
The province has recorded no other deaths in people under the age of 20, and has reported 11 deaths in those aged 20 to 39. The lion's share — about 70 per cent — of the COVID-19 deaths in Ontario have been in those aged 80 and older.
Premier Doug Ford is continuing to encourage people to wear masks when they go out, particularly when they go into stores, but has not made masks mandatory, deferring to his chief medical officer of health on the issue.
Dr. David Williams said research into "social-behavioural aspects" of mask-wearing suggests it's better for the public to wear them voluntarily.
"When you're out, you take precautions to protect yourself," he said. "You do it not because you're forced to, [but] because you want to do it, you want to do what's best for you and your family and your friends around you."
However, he said local medical officers of health can make decisions on masks on their own.
"We don't believe it's necessary to mandate the wearing of masks, it's just asking people to use their own common sense," added Elliott.
"People are being extremely responsible, and we think that that is sufficient at that point. If it changes in the future, we may take a different view of it, but at this point, people are being very sensible, they are wearing their masks, largely, when they're in public and certainly when they're in close physical spaces."
In the wake of a string of headlines about parties and other irresponsible behaviours on public beaches in the province, the premier has some words for youths.
"I can't picture middle-aged people and seniors throwing bottles at each other, so I'm assuming what you're talking about is younger people just going hog wild and having party, party, party," he said, in response to a reporter's question. "But I'm going to give you a message to the young people. You think you can't catch COVID, you can catch COVID."
"Young people, they need to be responsible," he continued. "The vast majority are, the vast majority of young people that I know. I have four girls ages from 24 to 30, their friends, everyone seems responsible, but you get a few cold pops in you and you start going wild, that's unacceptable. And if it continues going on, you know, then we'll talk to the regions and they'll shut the beaches down."
And the boys of summer
Williams said he's read Major League Baseball's proposal for the sport during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while it contains details on many things, it doesn't mention travel to Canada and the federal quarantine law, which is still in place.
"So if there was some interest in that, we'd have to get a proposal from them, to see how they would undertake the uniqueness of bringing the team," he said. "We have ways that we've worked with NHL to consider that, I have not seen anything specific with Major League Baseball yet, at this time."
The risk of MLB players bringing COVID-19 to Canada isn't an abstract one — there have been outbreaks among teams in spring training.