Ontario is reporting another record for new COVID-19 cases, marking the third time since this weekend that an alarming new high has been reached.
The Ministry of Health says that there were 1,388 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus confirmed on Monday and an additional 15 deaths, 11 of which involved long-term care home residents.
That is up from the then-record 1,328 cases that were confirmed on Saturday.
It also represents a sizeable increase in the 1,050 cases reported last Tuesday.
As a result the province’s seven-day average now stands at 1,154, which is up 21 per cent from this time last week.
The latest numbers come as the province conducted 29,125 tests over the last 24 hours, yet again missing their goal of 50,000 tests.
The province says that the positivity rate over the last 24 hours was 5.7 per cent.
That is the highest positivity rate for a single 24-hour period since May 24.
“The reality is as we have seen across the country and around the world, these numbers are going in the wrong direction,” Premier Doug Ford said during a briefing on Tuesday afternoon. “This virus is spreading at an alarming rate all over the world and unfortunately Ontario is no exception. We all need to be extremely vigilant right now. The situation is concerning and we need to remain on high alert.”
More than 80 per cent of new cases are in the GTA
Of the new cases, about 81 per cent are in the Greater Toronto Area, including a record 520 in Toronto, a record 395 in Peel, 109 in York, 72 in Halton and 36 in Durham.
However, there are signs that the virus may be starting to spread to more rural parts of Ontario as well.
On Tuesday, just six of Ontario’s 34 public health units reported no new cases at all.
As recently as this summer more than half of Ontario’s public health units were regularly reporting no new cases.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations continue to slowly trend upwards.
On Monday, 422 COVID-19 patients were receiving treatment in Ontario hospitals, including 82 in intensive care units.
Back during the first wave of the pandemic this spring, there was, at one point, 1,043 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 264 in the ICU but that was with non-essential procedures and surgeries put on hold, something provincial officials had hoped to avoid this time.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Ford said that the rise in numbers is keeping him “up at night” and that he “can’t rule out anything” if the trend persists, including a lockdown similar to the one announced in Manitoba on Tuesday, where non-essential retail stores are being asked to close.
“To answer your question if the numbers get totally out of control I won’t hesitate to do what it takes to protect the health and safety of the people,” he said, while expressing optimism that the case counts will come down without that level of intervention.
It should be noted that the numbers now being reported by the province are starting to exceed the worst-case scenario contained in the modelling release by the province late last month.
That modelling suggested that Ontario would see 800 to 1,200 new cases per day throughout most of November but it was prepared prior to the Ford government easing restrictions in a number of COVID-19 hot spots.
Photo credit: Collected
News source: CP24