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Flowers sit on a bench in front of Orchard Villa care home in Pickering, Ont. on Monday April 27, 2020. Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term Care has reported more than 1,200 deaths related to COVID-19 in care homes.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term Care has asked the facilities hardest hit by COVID-19 to come up with a plan to stabilize the virus’s spread within their walls.

Deputy Minister Richard Steele made the request in a letter, obtained by The Canadian Press, sent to long-term care homes on Friday.

He asked the facilities to outline how they’ll improve leadership through new hires and ensure on-site physicians and medical coverage will be provided – with a deadline of noon on Monday.

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The ministry also wants the facilities to outline how they’ll ensure that staffing levels remain stable.

The Ministry of Long-Term Care has reported more than 1,200 deaths related to COVID-19 in the homes.

News of the province’s request came as Ontario reported the virus’s lowest growth rate in well over a month on Sunday – 294 new cases, which amounts to a 1.5 per cent jump over the previous day.

The new total stands at 20,238 confirmed cases, with a death toll of 1,634.

Those numbers come from a separate database than the number of deaths counted by the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

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