Premier Ford to take questions as Ontario reports 1,003 new COVID-19 cases!/cumulusImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_620/covid-19-assessment-centre.jpg

Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference beginning at 1:30 p.m. in Ottawa. Ford’s office says he will be joined by several cabinet members, including the ministers of finance and health.

You can watch it live in this story.

Ontario reported another 1,003 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, pushing the seven-day average to nearly 1,000 as the province prepares to roll back restrictions in a number of public health units tomorrow.

Toronto recorded 300 more cases, while Peel Region saw 280 and York Region 125.

Other areas that saw double-digit increases include:

  • Ottawa: 43
  • Halton Region: 41
  • Waterloo Region: 34
  • Hamilton: 32
  • Niagara: 26
  • Durham Region: 24
  • Middlesex London: 16
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 15
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 14
  • Brant County: 11
  • Windsor: 11

The seven-day average of new daily cases, a measure that limits noise in the data to provide a clearer picture of longer-term trends, climbed to a record-high 997.

Ontario’s official death toll from the illness grew by 14, and is now 3,209. Roughly 64 per cent of all deaths were residents in long-term care. 

The new cases and deaths come as the province’s labs processed 41,268 tests. Another 47,000 are in the queue waiting to be completed. 

There are currently 8,398 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, the most at any point since the first case in Ontario was reported on January 25.

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health’s daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoid lag times found in the provincial system.)

Meanwhile, the provincial government will consider keeping stricter COVID-19 safety measures in place in Brampton for now, as the rest of Peel Region is set to see some restrictions eased on Saturday, a government source said this morning.

Peel Region was forced into a modified version of Stage 2, which saw indoor dining prohibited and fitness centres closed, on Oct. 11. It was joined by Toronto and Ottawa the same day, and York Region one week later.

Earlier this week, the province rolled out its new tiered, colour-coded COVID-19 restriction framework and said that Peel, York and Ottawa would move into the orange “restrict” category, which does not include any closures of businesses, on Saturday. Toronto is scheduled to join the other regions next week.

Certain key criteria for loosening restrictions, however, are still above dangerous levels in Brampton. The rate of new COVID-19 cases daily is about 170 per 100,000 people, and the city-wide test positivity rate is around 11 per cent. 

Both the rate of new daily cases and the per cent positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in Brampton exceed the thresholds for having modified Stage 2 restrictions lifted. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s medical officer of health, wrote to the government this morning to ask that Brampton be held back from moving into the orange category, the source said.

Cabinet members are set to meet this morning to discuss the situation.

Speaking to CBC News earlier this week, the medical director and division head of critical care for the William Osler Health System in Peel said the novel coronavirus is showing “explosive growth” in Brampton “in spite of the measures from four weeks ago.

“Relaxing the restrictions on gyms bars and restaurants is totally inappropriate and dangerous,” said Dr. Brooks Fallis.