Ontario reports 203 new COVID-19 cases, the majority in people under age 39
Officials in Peel Region say its new cases totaled 22, attributing report of 57 to a backlog
Ontario reported 203 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the most on any single day in about three weeks.
In a series of tweets this morning, Health Minister Christine Elliott attributed the uptick to "localized increases," namely in Peel, Ottawa and Windsor-Essex. The three regions confirmed 57, 43 and 24 new cases, respectively.
Officials from Peel Region said its total Tuesday reflected a backlog resulting from a switch over to a new reporting system, and that the actual total of new cases in the region was 22.
Another 30 cases were reported in Toronto.
Some 57 per cent of today's newly confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus are in people 39 years old or younger, Elliott said.
"I just have a message for young people: Don't go to a party, simple. It might not be you, but it's going to be your parents or your grandparents," Premier Doug Ford said at his daily COVID-19 news conference. "You're hurting people by doing this."
"You've got to rein it in," Ford said, saying young people have been going "hog wild."
The premier also urged people to wear masks and stay socially distant where masks aren't possible.
But he said the province has no current plans to take action, such as imposing extra fines, against young people who break the rules.
And as for how bad things would need to get for the province to roll back on reopening from Stage 3 to Stage 2, Ford didn't specify.
WATCH | Doug Ford's message to young people: Don't go to parties:
Meanwhile medical experts are warning that a negative COVID-19 test is no reason to socialize in larger groups.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist, says the tests can't detect the coronavirus if it is still in the incubation
He says it's possible for a person to test negative but then show symptoms and become infectious days later. Experts also note it's possible to be exposed to the virus right after getting tested.
After several weeks of steady decline, the number of active cases in the province has risen this week, up to about 1,584 at present.
The jump in new daily cases comes one day after Premier Doug Ford announced that another seven public health units would be moving into Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan on Friday. That means by the end of the work week, only Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will remain in Stage 2.
Ontario's official COVID-19 death toll grew by one in today's update, and now sits 2,753. A CBC News count based on data provided directly from public health units puts the real current toll at 2,785.
Meanwhile, the province's network of labs processed nearly 23,000 tests for the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours. Another 11,842 are in the queue waiting to be completed.
Plans for 640 new long-term care beds in Mississauga
On Tuesday, the province announced a program to accelerate the building of two new long-term care homes in Mississauga, which are expected to be ready "in a matter of months, not years," it said in a news release.
The homes will have 320 beds each, Ford said Tuesday.
The pilot program is part of a larger plan to create new long-term beds across Ontario, bringing in air conditioning into homes that don't already have it.
"Between 2011 and 2018, just 600 beds were added to Ontario's long-term care system — that's less than one bed per home. Our government intends to do better to meet the needs of our aging population," said Minister for Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton.
Front-line hospital staff hold protest
Front-line hospital staff in Ontario are planning a five-minute in-hospital protest this morning to fight the proposed extension of the province's emergency orders.
The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, a division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says it does not want the province's emergency order extended in its current form because it suspends their collective bargaining agreement.
The Progressive Conservative government introduced a bill two weeks ago that would allow it to keep some emergency measures in place in the months ahead.
The union says that without the CBA in place they have no workplace rights, including having the time and location of shifts changed without notice or vacations cancelled.
Union president Michael Hurley argues that while those measures were acceptable at the start of the pandemic the emergency is over in most of Ontario.
CUPE hospital workers staged workplace rallies across Ontario opposing aspects of Bill 195 on Friday.
The union's membership voted in favour of further political protest actions last night unless the bill is amended.
Health-care workers in Ontario do not have the right to strike and have a very limited right to refuse unsafe work.
Ontario passes COVID-19 emergency law
Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservative government passed a law that will allow it to extend or amend some emergency orders a month at a time, for up to two years.
The government can now move parts of the province back to earlier stages of the pandemic lockdown if required. It could also continue the redeployment of health-care staff and change public-health orders limiting social gatherings.
The bill has prompted criticism from groups on both sides of the political spectrum as a violation of charter rights.
One Tory legislator broke ranks with the government and voted against the measure. Belinda Karahalios called the bill an "unnecessary overreach" on parliamentary democracy.
"By transferring away the ability for Ontario MPPs to consider, debate, and vote on how emergency powers are used on Ontarians, Bill 195 essentially silences every single Ontario MPP on the most important issue facing our legislature today," she said in a statement.
Shortly after the bill was passed, the PCs announced Karahalios had been ejected from caucus.
Green Leader Mike Schreiner said the government does not need the powers granted to it under the new law. It should return to the legislature and seek consent if it needs to restart the state of emergency in the province, he said.
"To provide this government with emergency powers that affect our civil liberties [and] our constitutional rights ... for up to two years whether we're in a state of emergency or not, is wrong," he said.
With files from Lucas Powers and The Canadian Press