Toronto

Ontario reports 1,746 new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations climb to 2nd-wave high

The province's network of labs processed 39,406 test samples of the novel coronavirus, and recorded a test positivity rate of 4.6 per cent.

Monday's new cases push the seven-day average to record high of 1,570

The new cases include 622 in Toronto, 390 in Peel Region and 217 in York Region. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Ontario reported another 1,746 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as tougher restrictions go into effect in five regions of the province.

The new cases include 622 in Toronto, 390 in Peel Region, 217 in York Region and 108 in Durham Region. They push the seven-day average to a record high of 1,570. 

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:

  • Waterloo Region: 74
  • Hamilton: 54
  • Windsor: 38
  • Halton Region: 35
  • Ottawa: 29
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 28
  • Niagara Region: 22
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 22
  • Thunder Bay: 21
  • Eastern Ontario: 15
  • Middlesex-London: 14

(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.)

There are 102 school-related cases in today's update: 86 students, 15 staff and one person who was not identified.

Those infections include 19 at an east-end Toronto elementary school that were identified by the targeted testing of asymptomatic students, teachers and other staff. 

270 students self-isolating at Toronto elementary school

Some 270 students and 17 staff are self-isolating as public health officials investigate the outbreak.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the virus is spreading from the community into the schools, and not within the classrooms themselves. 

"It wasn't a huge surprise because there is significant community spread in that area," Elliott said of the test results.

"But it does tell us that we need to be careful to keep the children safe, that teachers stay safe and the staff are safe."

The school was the first tested under a new provincial plan to target classrooms in Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa announced last week. 

The expanded voluntary testing will be provided for four weeks  and those who show symptoms or have been exposed to a COVID-19 case should continue to stay home and get tested at an assessment centre, the province said.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce told reporters Monday that the decision to send a cohort or school home is made solely by a local public health unit and that there are currently no plans to change that.

Staff said the positivity rate within the school was approximately four per cent.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe that local data shows positivity rates in the community around the school are approximately 16 per cent. 

The province said Monday it has begun testing in some schools in Peel Region and Ottawa and is expecting results back in the coming days. 

Stronger measures in place after alleged $11M fraud: Ford

At a news conference Monday, Premier Doug Ford announced a one-time support payment to offset education-related expenses for families, including things like technology, school supplies and developmental resources. Families can apply to receive $200 for each child under 12 or $250 for a child or youth under 21 with special needs.

The funding program was recently in the spotlight after a family working for the government allegedly defrauded it of at least $11 million.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Ford says the province has implemented stronger security measures "to ensure this never, ever happens again."

Those measures include things like stronger bank validations, he said. 

There are currently 14,197 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, the most since the first was reported in Ontario on January 25. 

Ontario's network of labs processed 39,406 test samples of the novel coronavirus, and recorded a test positivity rate of 4.6 per cent.

The number of people in Ontario hospitals with the illness climbed to 618, the most at any point during the second wave, and due to a timing error, data for up to 40 hospitals was not included in that figure. Those being treated in intensive care increased by 12 to 168. Public health officials have said that 150 is the threshold for when facilities must begin postponing or cancelling scheduled procedures to accommodate COVID-19 patients. Further, of the 168 in ICUs, 108 are on ventilators. 

The province also reported eight additional deaths, pushing the official death toll to 3,656.

Window company declares outbreak after 62 cases confirmed

Also on Monday, a Vaughan, Ont. window company declared a COVID-19 outbreak after 62 cases of the virus were confirmed there.

York Region Public Health says this is the second outbreak at State Windows Corporation's facility. Public health officials say there are also five probable cases and one under investigation.

The initial outbreak was declared in May, with 17 people infected by the time it ended in July. The health unit says it inspected the workplace and is still identifying close contacts.

It says it is working with the Ministry of Labour, which has launched an investigation.

Outbreaks declared at 2 Windsor hospitals

Meanwhile, public health officials have declared COVID-19 outbreaks at two hospitals in Windsor, Ont.

Windsor Regional Hospital's Ouellette Campus has confirmed four cases in staff on its 7th floor. The hospital says patients and other staff on the floor have tested negative.

Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare has reported three staff and two patients in its rehabilitation unit have COVID-19. The  hospital has closed new admissions on the third floor of the unit and has temporarily suspended non-essential staff from
entering.

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says it is working with hospital administrators to determine the outbreaks' source of transmission and risk to staff and patients.

The provincial government announced last week it would move Windsor-Essex into the red alert level of its tiered framework, the strictest level short of a lockdown.

In that level, indoor dining at restaurants and bars is capped at 10 customers, while social gatherings must have fewer than five people indoors and 25 outdoors.

Halidimand-Norfolk is shifting to the orange level, and three other regions — Hastings Prince Edward, Lambton and Northwestern — are going into the yellow level.

The province says the regions will stay in their new categories for at least 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, before a change is considered.

Officials say they continue to monitor public health data weekly to see if any other regions require additional intervention.

With files from Lucas Powers and The Canadian Press

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