Premier Ford takes questions as COVID-19 hospitalizations climb to 2nd-wave high

Premier Doug Ford is holding a news conference beginning at 1 p.m. in Vaughan. Ford is being joined by the ministers of finance and education.

You can watch it live in this story.

Ontario reported another 1,746 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as tougher restrictions go into effect in five regions of the province.

The new cases include 622 in Toronto, 390 in Peel Region, 217 in York Region and 108 in Durham Region. They push the seven-day average to a record high of 1,570. 

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

  • Waterloo Region: 74
  • Hamilton: 54
  • Windsor: 38
  • Halton Region: 35
  • Ottawa: 29
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 28
  • Niagara Region: 22
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 22
  • Thunder Bay: 21
  • Eastern Ontario: 15
  • Middlesex-London: 14

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ontario 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.)

There are 102 school-related cases in today’s update: 86 students, 15 staff and one person who was not identified. Those infections include 19 at an east-end Toronto elementary school that were identified by the targeted testing of asymptomatic students, teachers and other staff. 

At a news conference Monday, Premier Doug Ford announced a one-time support payment to offset education-related expenses for families, including things like technology, school supplies and developmental resources. Families can apply to receive $200 for each child under 12 or $250 for a child or youth under 21 with special needs.

There are currently 14,197 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, the most since the first was reported in Ontario on January 25. 

Ontario’s network of labs processed 39,406 test samples of the novel coronavirus, and recorded a test positivity rate of 4.6 per cent.

The number of people in Ontario hospitals with the illness climbed to 618, the most at any point during the second wave, and due to a timing error, data for up to 40 hospitals was not included in that figure. Those being treated in intensive care increased by 12 to 168. Public health officials have said that 150 is the threshold for when facilities must begin postponing or cancelling scheduled procedures to accommodate COVID-19 patients. Further, of the 168 in ICUs, 108 are on ventilators. 

The province also reported eight additional deaths, pushing the official death toll to 3,656.

The new cases include 622 in Toronto, 390 in Peel Region and 217 in York Region. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Also on Monday, a Vaughan, Ont. window company declared a COVID-19 outbreak after 62 cases of the virus were confirmed there.

York Region Public Health says this is the second outbreak at State Windows Corporation’s facility. Public health officials say there are also five probable cases and one under investigation.

The initial outbreak was declared in May, with 17 people infected by the time it ended in July. The health unit says it inspected the workplace and is still identifying close contacts.

It says it is working with the Ministry of Labour, which has launched an investigation.

Meanwhile, the provincial government announced last week it would move Windsor-Essex into the red alert level of its tiered framework, the strictest level short of a lockdown.

In that level, indoor dining at restaurants and bars is capped at 10 customers, while social gatherings must have fewer than five people indoors and 25 outdoors.

Meanwhile, Halidimand-Norfolk is shifting to the orange level, and three other regions — Hastings Prince Edward, Lambton and Northwestern — are going into the yellow level.

The province says the regions will stay in their new categories for at least 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, before a change is considered.

Officials say they continue to monitor public health data weekly to see if any other regions require additional intervention.

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