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Ontario reports 1,242 new COVID-19 cases, new testing centres coming to Peel Region

The newly confirmed cases push the province's seven-day average, a measure that helps provide a clearer picture of long-term trends, to 1,106, the highest it's been since the novel coronavirus outbreak began in late January.

7-day average is now 1,106, a new record high

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province will establish three new testing sites at community centres in Brampton this week. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario reported another 1,242 cases of COVID-19 this morning, the second-most on a single day after a new record-high number yesterday.

The total includes 483 cases in Toronto — a new daily record for the city — as well as 279 in Peel Region, 107 in York Region, 74 in Ottawa and 57 in Hamilton. 

Peel is the only one of 34 public health units in the red "control" category of the province's new tiered, colour-coded system for COVID-19 restrictions. The region is seeing more than 100 new weekly cases per 100,000 people, a key indicator for moving a region into the red. Peel's medical officer of health has also implemented further local restrictions.

Toronto, meanwhile, is under the restrictions of modified Stage 2 until at least Nov. 14. The province delayed its transition into the new system at the request of local officials. Toronto is currently clocking about 90.6 weekly new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, approaching the threshold for the red tier.

Toronto may have restrictions lifted as cases hit record high

As Toronto looks to the weekend and a possible reopening — even as the city hit a record-high number of cases on Monday — Premier Doug Ford said it was up to the local health officials for the final word on how they will handle the details. 

"We put this framework together and it's a very good framework ... [local health officials] have the ability to add additional guidelines," Ford said at his daily COVID-19 briefing in Woodbridge on Monday. 

Ford said he was in close communication with Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, and that he plans to "make sure that we're all on the same page."

"At the end of the day, Dr. de Villa has the authority and the power to change things. I respect her decision. At the end of the day, they don't report in to me," Ford insisted.

Other areas that saw double-digit increases in new cases in today's report include:

  • Halton Region: 37
  • Middlesex-London: 37
  • Waterloo Region: 32
  • Windsor: 20
  • Niagara: 18
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 16
  • Durham Region: 14

The newly confirmed cases push the province's seven-day average — a measure that helps provide a clearer picture of long-term trends — to 1,106, the highest it's been since the novel coronavirus outbreak began in late January.

The additional cases come as the province's labs processed about 28,400 tests, just over half of existing capacity and nowhere near the mid-November goal of 68,000 daily. That translates into a roughly 4.4 per cent positivity rate on tests yesterday.

Ontario has now seen 85,395 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those, about 85 per cent are considered resolved.

There are currently 9,514 confirmed, actives cases of COVID-19 provincewide. 

Ontario also reported 13 more deaths linked to the illness, bringing the death toll to 3,249. Nearly 64 per cent of all deaths were residents in long-term care.

[Note: All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health's daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoid lag times in the provincial system.]

Meanwhile, the Ontario government said this morning it is increasing testing, contact tracing, and hospital resources in Peel Region as COVID-19 rates surge there.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said three new testing centres and a mobile testing unit will be established in Brampton starting this week.

At a morning news conference, Elliott said the province is also providing 70 more contact tracers to the region's health unit, and funding for 234 additional hospital beds.

Elliott said the province's latest supports for Peel would help the region fight rising cases of the virus.

"All options are on the table to protect the health and safety of individuals and families living in Peel Region," she said.

Elliott also urged residents across the province to follow public health guidelines.

"We need people to understand that they have a direct role and responsibility in following the public health measures," she said. "That is what's going to really make the difference."

But Peel's medical officer of health Dr. Lawrence Loh said Saturday that stricter measures were needed and called on residents to limit contacts to members of their household and essential supports.

In an interview with CBC News this morning, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said he supports the enhanced restrictions mandated by Loh and called for further assistance from the federal and provincial governments.

Brown said key priorities for the city are an isolation centre and enhanced sick benefits for precariously employed residents.

He added that most of Brampton's new cases during the resurgence of COVID-19 have come from industrial settings.

Dr. Naveed Mohammad, president and CEO of William Osler Health System, which serves Brampton, said the hospital currently has more than 100 patients who have COVID-19 or are waiting for test results to confirm they have the virus.

The patients must be sequestered in single rooms, creating capacity issues, he said.

The crunch has impacted hospital operations and currently non-essential elective surgeries are being cancelled to help ease the pressure, he said.

"We have every nook and cranny open ... that can safely house a patient," he said.

175 people exposed at Kitchener restaurant

Waterloo region issued a news release on Monday also advising anyone who went to Algarve Restaurant, located at 248 Stirling Ave. S. in Kitchener, between Oct. 28 to Nov. 4 may have been exposed to COVID-19.

There are six confirmed cases associated with an outbreak at the restaurant and "approximately 175 individuals may have been exposed," the region's release said.

"Public health is advising anyone who attended during these times to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after their last visit and to seek testing," the release said.

The restaurant has closed voluntarily because and is working with public health officials, the region said.

Plans to test travellers at airports

When asked about the closure of the border between the U.S. and Canada, Ford said he hasn't had a discussion with the federal government in several weeks. 

However, Ford said he would go ahead with a plan to test travellers for COVID-19 at the two major airports in Toronto and Ottawa in order to reduce the time travellers spend in isolation — and he plans to do it with or without help from Ottawa, even though those airports fall under federal jurisdiction.

"Let's get them tested immediately when they get off the plane, and let's get them tested again five or six days later and that will reduce the isolation," he said, adding he wants to take action on the plan "as soon as possible."

With files from Lucas Powers, Mike Crawley and The Canadian Press

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