Premier Ford set for morning COVID-19 update amid record-high cases, concern for hospitals!/cpImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_620/doug-ford-christine-elliott-ontario-covid-19.jpg

Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference this morning after a record-breaking day for new COVID-19 cases in Ontario and warnings to hospitals around the province to prepare for a potential influx of patients in coming weeks.

Ford’s office says he will be joined by Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe.

You’ll be able to watch the update, set for 10 a.m. ET in Toronto, in this story.

On Thursday, Lecce announced that elementary students in southern Ontario will not be returning to schools for in-class learning until at least Jan. 25 as test positivity rates for COVID-19 rise for adults and children alike. 

The news came after public health officials reported a record-high 3,519 additional cases of the illness. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units also reached new highs. 

Multiple sources close to the government have told CBC News that Ontario will report more than 4,200 new cases of COVID-19 today, shattering the previous daily record set only yesterday. 

However, two of the sources indicate that a significant number of the new cases being reported today are from a backlog of data. The sources were uncertain about when the backlogged cases date from. 

Meanwhile, late Thursday, CBC News obtained a memo from the president and CEO of Ontario Health, Matthew Anderson, telling hospitals to prepare for transferring dozens and potentially hundreds of patients across and even out of regions.

Ontario’s hospitals are projected to have more than 500 patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units and more than 1,700 COVID-19 in other beds by Jan. 24, according to the memo.