Ontario reports more than 1,550 new COVID-19 cases in 2 days
7-day average of new daily cases continued steep climb to 761.4
Ontario reported 746 additional cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as well as 807 from Monday, as the number of confirmed, active cases in the province reaches a new record high.
New daily case counts for both Sunday and Monday were reported simultaneously on Tuesday, as the province does not provide updates on statutory holidays.
The average daily number of new cases of the illness continued its steep climb and is now at 761.4. The figure has increased on each of the last eight days, and has been trending steadily upward since a low in mid-August.
This comes after the province imposed stricter measures to three hot spot regions on Friday in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
When asked at the province's daily briefing if there are plans to expand the restrictions into any adjacent regions, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said no.
"I'm just praying we don't have to expand this," Ford said.
"Everyone just keep following the protocols and let's get these numbers down."
Ford also took issue with those who refuse to wear masks amid the pandemic, as well as those who don't believe COVID-19 is a real health risk. You can watch those comments in the video below:
Ontario hot zones still seeing highest number of new infections
New cases for Monday and Tuesday are once again concentrated in a handful of public health units, including:
Toronto: 303 on Monday; 311 on Tuesday
- Peel Region: 159 on Monday; 135 on Tuesday
- Ottawa: 119 on Monday; 116 on Tuesday
- York Region: 56 on Monday; 42 on Tuesday
Other regions that saw double-digit increases on both days include:
- Hamilton: 34 on Monday; 15 on Tuesday
- Halton Region: 20 on Monday; 29 on Tuesday
- Middlesex-London: 29 on Monday; 13 on Tuesday
The province's network of labs processed more than 67,700 tests over the same two days, while the backlog is down to 24,240 — likely the result of fewer tests being collected on weekends. That means Ontario is dealing with a positivity rate of roughly 2.3 per cent in the same period.
The positivity rate is among the key indicators experts say the public should keep an eye on amid the pandemic. You can read more about that here.
The number of people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 has similarly continued its upward trend and is now at 230, up from a low of about 32 in mid-August. At least 60 of those people are being treated in intensive care, while 34 are on ventilators.
Ontario also added 12 COVID-19-linked deaths in the two-day period, and the cumulative toll now sits at 3,017.
The province has seen a total of 60,692 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began in late January. Of those, slightly more than 85 per cent are considered resolved.
There are currently 5,946 confirmed, active cases of the illness in Ontario, a new record high.
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.
Government urges support for local restaurants, food services
Ford, speaking inside a closed Etobicoke restaurant, urged the public to support local restaurants by ordering take out — especially in those areas where indoor dining has been stopped.
Ford also encouraged food delivery services, including Uber Eats, to drop commission rates in a bid to provide relief to local restaurants.
"Do the right thing in these difficult times," Ford said.
Ford again touted the government's $300 million in relief funding that's being made available to restaurants and other businesses impacted by the new measures.
Red Cross help as number of LTC home outbreaks rises
Meanwhile, the provincial government is working to decide which of Ontario's long-term care homes will receive assistance from the Canadian Red Cross as the second wave of the pandemic takes hold.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Long-Term Care says the province will be finalizing details of the deployment over the coming days.
On Sunday, the federal government announced it had approved a request from Ontario to send the Red Cross to seven long-term care facilities in Ottawa.
The federal minister of public safety, Bill Blair, tweeted that the organization would "help assess and stabilize the situation" in the homes.
Provincial data shows 66 long-term care homes currently have outbreaks of COVID-19.
Daily case counts lower than predicted by modelling
Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said Ontario may be reaching a daily plateau of case counts in the mid-to-low 700s and the numbers are better than what was predicted by modelling.
According to the data, the province could have had daily case counts in the 1,200 to 1,500 range in October.
"We are not seeing that, fortunately, so that trend may be a good sign," Williams told reporters. "We did bump up to over 900, but we seem to be levelling down at the moment. But we have to watch."
With files from Lucas Powers and The Canadian Press