Ontario reports 2,357 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 new deaths on Saturday

Ontario is reporting 2,357 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 new deaths on Saturday.

Toronto had 665 new cases, Peel Region had 448, York Region had 174 and Windsor-Essex had 170

Toronto continues under lockdown as the number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to top 2,000 daily. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario reported 2,357 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 new deaths on Saturday.

Locally, there are 665 new cases in Toronto, 448 in Peel Region, 174 in York Region and 170 in Windsor-Essex County.

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases on Saturday include:

  • Niagara Region: 118.
  • Durham Region: 104.
  • Middlesex-London: 93.
  • Waterloo Region: 83.
  • Halton Region: 72.
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 67.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 43.
  • Ottawa: 40.
  • Southwestern: 28.
  • Brant County: 22.
  • Lambton Public Health: 19.
  • Thunder Bay: 16.

It's the fifth straight day that the province has recorded more than 2,000 new cases of the virus.

There were 2,290 new cases on Friday, 2,432 on Thursday, 2,139 on Wednesday and 2,275 on Tuesday.

Ontario has provided details on 17 hospitals that will be distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to health-care workers in the coming weeks. (Leah Hennel)

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province's network of labs processed more than 67,200 test samples of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours. This is 1,046 fewer than the record 68,246 completed the previous day.

A total of 78,147 tests are currently under investigation, down from 81,235 a day ago.

A total of 895 people are hospitalized with the virus. Of this number, 256 are in intensive care units, while 146 are breathing with the help of ventilators.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths in Ontario over the course of the pandemic is now up to 4,125. A total of 40 new deaths were reported on Friday.

139 long-term care homes have active outbreaks

Of the latest fatalities, nine were among long-term care home residents.

There are currently 139 long-term care homes with an active outbreak of the disease across Ontario.

Saturday's new cases bring the cumulative number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 153,614. That number includes deaths and recoveries.

The province's positivity rate now stands at 4.2 per cent, up from 3.9 per cent on Friday.

There are currently 18,207 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

People between the ages of 20 and 39 accounted for 853 of the new cases recorded across the province on Saturday, while those 80 years old and over account for 142.

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says he approves of the provincial move to increase restrictions in the city, which is currently in the red control zone. (supplied by CMHC livestream)

Hamilton to join grey lockdown zone

Hamilton will join Toronto and Peel Region in the grey lockdown zone on Monday.

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he approves of the provincial move to increase restrictions in the city, which is currently in the red control zone.

"Regrettably, we'll be going into lockdown, but I think it's the right step to take given the current circumstances, not only here but right across the urban Golden Horseshoe of the province."

Eisenberger said he is asking people not to rush to use the stores. Instead, he is urging them to shop online and to take advantage of curbside pickup.

"The very thing that we don't want to have happen is people congregating, getting too close to one another and potentially promoting the spread of this virus," he said. 

"I would ask people just not to bother going to the mall. If they can use the online resources, all the better. Shop locally. Employ that as much as you can for your own safety and the safety of others," he said.

Eisenberger said social gatherings are still driving infections in Hamilton. He noted that the red control and grey lockdown zones don't seem to be flattening the second wave curve in Hamilton and Toronto, respectively.

Province to extend lockdowns for Toronto, Peel Region

The province says Hamilton's rate of new COVID-19 cases has increased by about 25 per cent, to 103.3 cases per 100,000 people and the number of hospitalizations in the region has more than doubled in the last two weeks.

Meanwhile, Ontario is extending the lockdowns in Toronto and Peel Region, which were set to expire next week.

Elsewhere, Brant County and Niagara Region move into the red-control zone, the public health unit for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington moves into the orange-restrict zone, and Timiskaming moves into yellow-protect zone. The restrictions take effect Monday and will remain in place until Jan. 4.

Meanwhile, Ontario is providing details on 17 hospitals that will be distributing the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks to health-care workers. The facilities include hospitals from Windsor to Thunder Bay.

The hospitals will join the University Health Network in Toronto and the Ottawa Hospital in giving the vaccine to workers. The province expects to receive an additional 90,000 doses.

Vaccine doses will be available at:

  • Windsor Regional Hospital.
  • London Health Sciences Centre.
  • Grand River Hospital.
  • Halton Healthcare.
  • Hamilton Health Sciences.
  • William Osler Health System.
  • Trillium Health Partners.
  • Southlake Regional Health Centre.
  • Mackenzie Health.
  • Humber River Hospital.
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
  • Toronto East Health Network.
  • Unity Health Toronto.
  • Scarborough Health Network.
  • Lakeridge Health.
  • Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.
  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Premier Doug Ford has said his government will hold emergency talks this weekend to discuss further restrictions. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Premier holding emergency talks this weekend

Premier Doug Ford has said his government will hold emergency talks this weekend to discuss further restrictions.

An announcement on new measures is expected early Monday afternoon.

With files from The Canadian Press, Desmond Brown, Muriel Draaisma, Talia Ricci