COVID-19 cases in Ontario top 1,000 for second time in a week

Ontario reported 1,015 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the second-highest number recorded since the outbreak began in late January.

The new numbers also mark the second time the daily case count has topped 1,000 in less than a week. 

Saturday’s update brings the province’s seven-day average, which offers a clearer picture of longer-term trends in new cases rather than day-to-day comparisons, to a new record high of 914. 

The Ontario health ministry said the majority of new cases were found in the province’s four hot spots: 

  • Toronto: 325.
  • Peel Region: 282.
  • Ottawa: 94.
  • York Region: 88.

A number of other areas saw double-digit increases as well:

  • Hamilton: 41 — an increase of 27 from Friday. 
  • Halton Region: 31.
  • Durham Region: 23.
  • Niagara: 23.
  • Waterloo Region: 22.
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 20.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 13.
  • Windsor-Essex: 10.

Ontario reports 9 new deaths 

Meanwhile, the health ministry said Ontario’s network of community, commercial and hospital labs processed 41,920 COVID-19 test samples since its last update. 

Saturday’s new numbers bring the provincial total of COVID-19 cases to 75,730. 

Ontario is also reporting nine new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Across the province, 320 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, with 73 people in intensive care and 54 of them on ventilators.

Ford asks advisors for possible reopening plan

Saturday’s update comes one day after Premier Doug Ford announced that a plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the province’s hot spots will be coming next week

On Friday, Ford indicated that he’s asked health advisors for a strategy to allow shuttered businesses to reopen safely.

The premier said restrictions placed on Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa on Oct. 10 were always intended to be a short-term response to soaring case counts in those areas.

“I truly believe if we didn’t make this decision … we would be having a different conversation today,” Ford said. “We’d be having a conversation possibly like France or Spain.”

The restrictions were put in place for 28 days and included the closure of gyms and the banning of indoor dining at restaurants and bars.

Any easing of restrictions in the coming days would follow projections released on Thursday by provincial health officials that suggested the growth of the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing in Ontario, but could quickly worsen again.

The projections indicated that the province is expected to settle into a range of 800 to 1,200 new daily cases for the next several weeks.