Ontario sees 1,489 new COVID-19 cases and 22 more deaths on Sunday
New Vaughan hospital opens its doors to COVID-19 patient in hard-hit region
Ontario reported 1,489 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 more deaths on Sunday.
New positive cases include 517 in Toronto, 261 in Peel Region and 121 in York Region.
The province's network of labs processed more than 51,600 tests in the last 24 hours. The new cases pushed Ontario's test positivity rate to 2.8 per cent.
The 22 additional deaths reported on Sunday push Ontario's total COVID-related death toll to 6,505.
The latest figures come a day before schools are set to reopen in some regions of the province and the government prepares to unveil plans for gradually easing restrictions on businesses.
Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in new cases were:
- Waterloo Region: 54
- Durham Region: 50
- Ottawa: 57
- Hamilton: 88
- Simcoe Muskoka: 43
- Niagara Region: 35
- Windsor-Essex: 20
- Middlesex-London: 27
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 18
- Southwestern: 12
- Chatham-Kent: 17
- Halton: 61
- Thunder Bay: 25
(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the 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 seven-day rolling average of new daily cases now sits at 1,428.
As of 8 p.m. Saturday, 379,184 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario, with 6,518 doses given the previous day.
There are currently 926 patients hospitalized with the virus, of which 335 are in intensive care units. Of those patients, 233 are on ventilators.
Vaughan hospital opens its doors to COVID-19 patients
A new hospital in Vaughan, Ont., began accepting COVID-19 patients on Sunday to help relieve pressure on other facilities in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital was originally scheduled to open in early February as the first brand new hospital — not a replacement of an older facility or a merger with an existing facility — in the province in almost three decades.
Cortellucci Vaughan won't immediately open for full service, according to operator Mackenzie Health.
Instead, the new facility will focus on its 35 ICU beds and 150 general internal medicine beds, which are currently earmarked for COVID-19 patients.
Mackenzie Health says that while the new hospital focuses on expanding intensive care capacity, its emergency department remains closed until the province's health-care system stabilizes.
The $1.7 billion hospital start with space for 35 intensive care patients and 150 acute care beds and aims to have 342 beds, Mackenzie Health said in a news release on Sunday.
The news comes as Toronto recorded another 517 new COVID-19 cases and 121 in York region on Sunday.
"Mackenzie Health is proud to provide a unique system solution in our collective fight against COVID-19," said Mackenzie Health President and CEO Altaf Stationwala.
"With the opening of Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, our exclusive focus at this time is on creating additional space to care for critical and acute care patients, and to provide relief to our overstretched health care system. The province needed us to open Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital in this way, and we've answered that call."
The first of 12 ICU patients have arrived at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital for care. So proud to support the system as we fight <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/InThisTogether?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#InThisTogether</a> <a href="https://t.co/SYyeR0MZQE">pic.twitter.com/SYyeR0MZQE</a>—@MackenzieHealth
Emergency child care expands to more frontline workers
The province announced on Sunday it would expand emergency child care to more front-line workers the government prepares to unveil plans for gradually reopening Ontario's economy.
The free child-care now available to health-care, education and postal workers will be extended to some construction workers and transit workers in Toronto, York Region and Peel beginning this Tuesday.
"Beginning this Tuesday, emergency child care will be extended to additional frontline workers in Toronto, York Region and Peel," Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said in a news release on Sunday.
Lecce said with the expansion, the Ford government aims to provide more support for key workers with children in Toronto, York Region and Peel in the week before they return to classes on Feb. 16.
"During this period of remote learning, our government is supporting these key workers by ensuring their children are well cared for."
"This will include construction workers working on essential projects that have been permitted to continue during the provincial shutdown, and transit workers who are unable to work remotely," Lecce said.
With files from The Canadian Press