Ontario reports more than 2,400 new COVID-19 cases, 19 more deaths
Ontario is reporting more than 2,400 new COVID-19 cases today as the province's seven-day average of daily infections surpasses 2,000 for the first time in several weeks.
Provincial health officials logged 2,448 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus today, down slightly from the 2,453 reported on Saturday but up from 1,791 last week.
It is the fourth day in a row that the number of new infections jumped above 2,000 in the province.
FILE - A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
The rolling seven-day average of new cases now stands at 2,038, exactly 500 more than the average number of daily infections reported just one week ago. The number of known active cases has now climbed to 18,405, up from 14,230 last week.
Another 19 virus-related deaths were confirmed today, the highest daily death toll in Ontario since March 5. The average number of new deaths reported each day now stands at 12, unchanged from one week ago.
According to the latest data released by the province, COVID-19 hospitalizations dipped to 917 over the past 24 hours but ICU admissions increased slightly to 366.
Just last week, the province was reporting 760 patients with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals and 305 in intensive care.
With 50, 227 tests processed over the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health says the provincewide test positivity rate is now 4.5 per cent, up from 3.7 per cent last Sunday.
Of the new cases today, 780 are in Toronto, 356 are in Peel Region, 278 are in York Region, 219 are in Durham Region and 150 are in Ottawa.
Another 102 new B.1.1.7 variant cases were confirmed over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,625. More than 18,000 cases have screened positive for a variant of concern but are awaiting whole genome sequencing to determine lineage.
More than 64,950 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in Ontario on Saturday and a total of 1,981,282 doses have been administered in the province to date.
The rise in new infections comes as the province prepares to further ease restrictions in COVID-19 hot spots on Monday. Starting tomorrow, outdoor fitness classes will be permitted in regions in the grey zone of Ontario’s reopening framework, including Toronto and Peel Region.
The province also recently increased capacity limits for indoor dining in regions in the orange and red zones of the framework.
In a statement released by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario on Saturday, the group said the Ford government's reopening plan is "threatening people's lives, the collapse of the province's health system, and the closing of schools."
“The minister of health has said the next few weeks are critical and she is correct. However, at the same time Minister Elliott is warning Ontarians about the dangers variants of the virus pose, the government is issuing contradictory messages by relaxing public health measures designed to protect people’s health," the statement read. "That’s why we are urging Premier Ford to scale back reopening plans."
Mayor John Tory acknowledged Sunday that the surge in cases is "troubling" but defended the city's support for more outdoor activities, including patio dining.
“The figures are very troubling and the answers that are in front of us in terms of trying to deal with them and get the numbers back down are the same ones they’ve always been,” Tory told CP24 on Sunday morning.
“Follow public health advice and please avoid crowd scenes, please wear a mask, please wash your hands, please don’t socialize with people outside your own family.”
Tory said Toronto has taken a "very cautious and very moderate" approach to reopening.
“Really it is outdoor dining and on Monday, it is going to be outdoor fitness, and both of those are outdoors, which is not no risk, but it is much less risk," he said.
The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.