Provincial health officials are providing a COVID-19 update at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday. You can watch it live in this story.
Ontario is reporting 1,868 new cases of COVID-19 from the last two days, while a stay-at-home order that had been in place since last month has been lifted in most parts of the province.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday that the province is reporting 904 cases today, as well as 964 cases from the holiday Monday.
Elliott said there are 320 new cases reported in Toronto today, as well as 154 in Peel and 118 in York Region.
Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:
- Halton Region: 44
- Hamilton: 37
- Durham Region: 37
- Waterloo Region: 31
- Ottawa: 30
- Niagara Region: 27
- Simcoe Muskoka: 24
- Northwestern: 15
- Brant County: 13
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 12
(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the 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.)
Testing numbers were well below capacity, with just 27,005 tests completed on Feb. 15, and 30,355 on Feb. 14. The province also reported 13 deaths on Sunday and another 13 on Monday.
Ontario’s test positivity rate was listed as 3.3 per cent for Feb. 14, and 3.6 per cent for Feb. 15.
The province also marked 1,012 cases as resolved on Tuesday. The seven-day average of new daily cases now stands at 1,035.
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said public health measures are “paying off.”
“Overall, our recent data is showing some improvement,” Yaffe said. She added that the government is “not reopening the province.
“This is not permission to start gathering with your friends and coworkers. This is not the time to get complacent,” she said.
There are 742 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, with 292 people in intensive care and 201 on ventilators.
The province also says 10,679 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered yesterday, for a total of 467,626 given out so far.
The Ministry of Health also confirmed Tuesday that there will be a one-day delay in vaccine shipment delivery dates from Pfizer this week because of winter storms in the U.S. and Canada.
Shipments are now planned to arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, a spokesperson said.
Yaffe said the province is also monitoring variants of the virus, and has thus far located a total of 319 “variants of concern” cases across 15 different public health units. The vast majority of those are the B117 variant, which was first discovered in the U.K.
WATCH | Infectious disease specialist says Ontario needs to be very careful with reopening:
Meanwhile, a stay-at-home order lifts for 27 Ontario public health units today.
Those areas will now return to the province’s COVID-19 colour-coded tiered ranking system used prior to the provincewide lockdown, which began on Boxing Day.
In the midst of the reopenings, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Premier Doug Ford is ignoring the advice of medical experts who have warned of a possible third wave if stay-at-home orders don’t remain in place.
But Ford says the government won’t hesitate to use an “emergency brake” to swiftly move regions back into lockdown if COVID-19 cases spike.
Yaffe said Tuesday that the province will examine things like the amount of variant activity, percent positivity and cases per 100,000 people when considering whether or not to use that “emergency brake.”
Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and North Bay Parry Sound are set to remain under the stay-at-home order until at least Feb. 22.
Niagara Region will be the only region in the grey-lockdown zone — the most strict level — which allows businesses to open at 25 per cent capacity.
The rest of the regions, most of them outside the Greater Toronto Area, fall elsewhere along the scale that moves from red — the second-most strict level — through green, with lighter restrictions on businesses and gatherings at each stage.
Three health units — Hastings Prince Edward; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington; and Renfrew County — returned to the green zone of the framework last week.