Ontario reports 851 new COVID-19 cases, 7-day average reaches new record high

Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference beginning at 1 p.m. ET at Queen’s Park. Ford’s office says he will be joined by the ministers of health and finance.

You can watch it live in this story.

Ontario reported another 851 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, after two consecutive days of record-breaking new daily cases counts. 

Today’s figure comes as the province’s labs completed 28,652 tests for the novel coronavirus, while about 32,000 samples were added to the queue to be processed. Ontario currently has capacity for about 45,000 tests to be collected each day. Throughout the pandemic, testing levels have tended to drop off considerably on weekends. 

The seven-day average of new daily cases, a measure that helps limit noise in the data to provide a clearer view of longer-term trends, continued its steady upward climb and is now at an all-time high of about 878.

The province broke its record for the most daily COVID-19 cases both days this weekend, recording 978 cases on Saturday and 1,042 on Sunday.

Newly confirmed cases in today’s update are mostly concentrated in four public health units:

  • Toronto: 281
  • Peel Region: 215
  • York Region: 90
  • Ottawa: 76

Other regions that saw double-digit increases include:

  • Hamilton: 41
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 28
  • Halton Region: 27
  • Durham Region: 23 
  • Middlesex-London: 11
  • Haldimand-Norfolk: 10

Premier Doug Ford’s office said this morning that no decision is coming from the Ontario government today on whether Halton and Durham regions will face stricter COVID-19 restrictions.

Ford had suggested on Friday that health officials would look at the caseload in Halton and Durham regions over the weekend to determine whether they need to roll back to a modified Stage 2 of the province’s pandemic recovery plan, and that an announcement could come as early as today. 

Ottawa, Toronto and Peel and York regions have all seen the restrictions reimposed over the last several weeks as cases of the novel coronavirus soar within their borders.

But politicians in Halton urged the province not to lump them in with neighbouring Peel Region, saying there aren’t as many COVID-19 cases in the area as elsewhere in the province.

Meanwhile, the number of people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 has reached at least 295, the most so far during the resurgence of the illness that began in early August. At the height of the first wave in the spring, more than 1,000 people were hospitalized.

Further, there are currently 78 people being treated in intensive care units and 51 on ventilators, both down slightly from the weekend.

The province also reported another six deaths of people with COVID-19, bringing the total toll to 3,099. 

Ontario has now had 71,224 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus since the first was reported in late January. Of those, about 85 per cent are considered resolved.

There are currently 7,296 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, a new high by a considerable margin.

Budget date expected today

Later today at a speech before the Canadian Chamber of Commerce scheduled for 2:15 p.m., Ford is expected to reveal when his government will unveil its annual budget.

The budget was initially supposed to be rolled out in late March, but was postponed as the province shifted its attention to curbing the spread of COVID-19

Finance Minister Rod Phillips said in August that the government expected a budget deficit of at least $38.5-billion for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

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