Ontario reported 1,328 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking a new single-day peak for a second day in a row.
The Ontario health ministry reported 1,132 new cases on Saturday, for a total of 2,460 cases over the weekend. Both totals surpassed the previous high of 1,050, which was reported on Tuesday.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province processed under 37,600 tests since its last daily report.
Ontario says it wants to build capacity for up to 100,000 tests for the novel coronavirus each day by mid-December. The province, however, has never surpassed its current capacity of about 50,000, let alone approached its mid-November target of 68,000.
Toronto saw 434 of Sunday’s new cases, followed by 385 in Peel Region, 105 in York Region, and 71 in Ottawa.
A handful of other public health units also reported double-digit increases:
- Hamilton: 68
- Durham Region: 56
- Halton Region: 43
- Waterloo Region: 23
- Windsor: 22
- Niagara: 21
- Simcoe Muskoka: 20
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 18
- Sudbury: 12
- Eastern Ontario: 10
The province’s seven-day average of new cases, a measure that provides a clearer understanding of long-term trends, also reached a new record-high for the seventh day in a row and now sits at 1,063.
Ontario is also reporting 13 more deaths, with its official death toll standing at 3,233.
Sunday’s new cases bring Ontario’s official total of cases since the outbreak began in late January to 84,153. Of those, 71,815 are considered resolved. Some 877 cases were marked resolved in today’s update.
The health ministry is reporting a total of 374 patients currently in hospital with COVID-19, though it says a number of hospitals do not submit data on weekends.
The ministry also said data concerning the number of patients in intensive care and on ventilators is currently unavailable.
Peel imposes stricter public health measures
The new figures come as most of Ontario’s hot spots imposed less stringent health measures on Saturday, according to the terms of a new colour-coded assessment system that classifies regions as red, orange, yellow or green.
Health restrictions in red zones include limiting indoor dining capacity and gyms to 10 patrons.
Meanwhile, Peel Region has rejected the province’s COVID-19 guidelines as too lenient and is bringing its own directives that are stricter than those required for red zones.
“It is time to shrink our lives to stop COVID-19 from growing completely out of control,” Dr. Lawrence Loh, the top doctor in Peel Region, said in a written statement.
“These directives are strict, but they are what is needed to keep people in Peel working and learning, and able to access food, medical care and the basics of everyday life.”
Loh said the region’s indicators are heading in the wrong direction, and swift action is needed.
“Residents of Peel must restrict their contact to members of their household and essential supports only. Those that live alone may join one designated household,” the public health unit said.
Residents are also not allowed to invite members of other households into their homes or yards, unless there’s an emergency.
The region is also barring wedding receptions “and associated gatherings” starting on Nov. 13 and lasting until at least Jan. 7, 2021.
“Social gatherings celebrating holidays and life events in business establishments” will be banned on the same day, while religious services and rites will be urged to go online if possible.
Peel asked to stay in modified Stage 2, province rejected request
In-person religious events, including wedding ceremonies and funerals, must reduce indoor capacity to 30 per cent, with a maximum of 50 people per facility.
Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls, must also close.
And workplaces have to prohibit all non-essential visitors and make work-from-home options available as much as possible.
The orange level of the new provincial system limits bars and restaurants to 50 people indoors, with no more than four seated together.
Health officials in Peel had asked that the region remain under a modified Stage 2 — the restriction classification system previously used by the government — which involves more stringent rules such as a ban on indoor dining in restaurants and bars.
But the province rejected that request, instead classifying it as a red zone.
Toronto is to stay in modified Stage 2 for another week.