Ontario reports 1,822 new COVID-19 cases, 29 more deaths
3,624 people with COVID-19 have died in Ontario since late January
Ontario reported another 1,822 cases of COVID-19 and 29 more deaths linked to the illness on Saturday.
The new cases include 566 in Toronto, 516 in Peel Region and 145 in York Region. Waterloo and Hamilton saw 105 and 102 additional cases, respectively.
Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:
- Halton: 68.
- Windsor-Essex: 57.
- Durham Region: 48.
- Ottawa: 46.
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 25.
- Niagara Region: 21.
- Simcoe Muskoka: 21.
- Middlesex-London: 20.
- Eastern Ontario: 13.
- Huron Perth: 11.
- Grey Bruce: 10.
- Thunder Bay: 10.
(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)
The newly confirmed infections push the seven-day average up to 1,523, the highest it has been since the outbreak began in late January. The numbers come after the province set a single-day record for new cases on Friday.
There are currently 13,538 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, a number that is also a new record high.
Meanwhile, Ontario's network of labs processed 55,086 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 3.4 per cent. More than 56,000 tests were added to the queue to be completed. Public health officials said recently that they hope to build capacity in the system for up to 100,000 tests daily.
The number of people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of the illness jumped 54, up to 595 — nearly double the number one month ago. Those being treated in intensive care increased by four to 155, while those on ventilators dropped slightly to 99.
The additional deaths in Saturday's update push the official toll to 3,624. So far this month, 479 people with COVID-19 have died in the province.
York Region issues 16 COVID-19 related tickets in 2 days
The York Region COVID-19 enforcement task force has issued 16 tickets since Friday as they continue their ongoing enforcement blitz in Markham and Vaughan.
Over the past two days, the task force has carried out 611 inspections to ensure businesses and individuals are following public health rules around subjects like physical distancing, face coverings, and gathering limits.
On Saturday, 172 inspections took place and eight businesses were charged, with the Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre, Costco and Lowe's among the businesses ticketed.
The increased enforcement comes as one of the biggest shopping weekends has kicked off the holiday season. York Region is in the red zone but is not under the strict lockdown measures in place in Toronto and Peel Region.
Despite the tickets, inspectors say the region's businesses have largely been adhering to the current safety measures and protocols.
2 management agreements issued for LTC homes
Ontario's long-term care minister announced two voluntary management agreements for long-term care homes to help address the current spread of COVID-19 within the homes, according to a news release on Saturday.
The management agreements will work to help return homes to "normal operations" and stabilize operations at the Rockcliffe Care Community in Scarborough and Langstaff Square Care Community in Richmond Hill, both of which grappled with recent outbreaks.
The latest provincial figures show 17 residents have died from COVID-19 at Rockcliffe.
Langstaff declared an outbreak early November when seven residents and eight staff members tested positive. The home was also issued an order by the York Region health unit for inadequate staffing and failure to comply with infection, prevention and control protocol.
"Our government is committed to protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians, especially our long-term care residents who are most vulnerable," said Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton.
The release notes that the agreements will be in effect for 90 days from each date of execution and can be extended, if necessary.
5 regions moving into more restrictive zones
The provincial government announced yesterday that five more regions will move into more restrictive zones starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday:
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
- Lambton Public Health
- Northwestern Health Unit
With files from Lucas Powers