Ontario reports 1,388 new COVID-19 cases and 45 more deaths on Saturday

Ontario reported 1,388 new cases of COVID-19 and 45 more deaths on Saturday.

Province's total COVID-related death toll now sits at 6,483

The 45 additional deaths reported on Saturday push Ontario's total COVID-related death toll to 6,483. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario reported 1,388 new cases of COVID-19 and 45 more deaths on Saturday.

The new positive cases include 455 in Toronto, 288 in Peel Region and 131 in York Region. 

More than 62,300 additional tests were completed. The province has now completed a total of 9,974,364 tests while 31,924 remain under investigation.

The new cases brought the provincial positivity rate to 2.6 per cent.

There are currently 1,021 patients hospitalized with the virus, of which 325 are in intensive care units. Of those patients, 228 are on ventilators.

The 45 additional deaths reported on Saturday push Ontario's total COVID-related death toll to 6,483.

The latest figures come days before Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce details of a plan to reopen the economy gradually after a provincial lockdown meant to curb COVID-19 case counts. Ford, who will announce the timetable as early as Monday, has already said publicly that any easing of restrictions would happen regionally. 

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

  • Waterloo Region: 54
  • Durham Region: 46
  • Ottawa: 60
  • Hamilton: 57
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 35
  • Niagara Region: 56
  • Windsor-Essex: 36
  • Middlesex-London: 26
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 11
  • Southwestern: 12
  • Eastern Ontario: 12
  • Chatham-Kent: 11
  • Halton: 42
  • Huron Perth: 12
  • Thunder Bay: 15

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health'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 seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 1,479, the lowest since late November. It has been in steady decline since its peak at 3,555 on Jan. 11. 

As of 8 p.m. Friday, 372,666 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario.

Police fine 3 for refusing COVID-19 test at airport

As of Friday, Peel police have ticketed three international travellers who have refused mandatory COVID-19 tests at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, as federal efforts to get quarantine hotels up and running are currently underway.

All international travellers arriving at the airport now must be tested for COVID-19, a rule introduced by the provincial government on Monday.

Each traveller was ticketed $750 under the Ontario government order, Const. Akhil Mooken said on Saturday.

All international travellers arriving at the airport now must be tested for COVID-19, a rule introduced by the provincial government on Monday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Toronto Public Health detects variant in health care worker

Toronto Public Health identified a "variant of concern" in a health care worker with the Elm Grove Living Centre on Thursday, the home confirmed in a statement to CBC Toronto on Saturday.

The health care worker tested positive about two weeks ago, a spokesperson for the home said. The worker immediately went into isolation and was asymptomatic during that period.

It is unknown which strain of the variant has been identified but tests are underway to find out.

The home has no active cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday and all previous residents and staff cases are now considered resolved.

"We are reassured that this health care worker was wearing the proper PPE equipment during their shift and had very low risk contact with residents and other staff," a spokesperson for Elm Grove said in an email.

As of Thursday, 95 per cent of residents, 55 per cent of staff and 67 per cent of essential caregivers at the home have now received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the spokesperson said.


With files from The Canadian Press