Ontario sees drop in new COVID-19 cases, but testing levels plunge

Province reported 149 newly confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus today

Ontario sees drop in new COVID-19 cases-mileniostadium-canada
Ontario’s network of labs processed fewer than 18,000 tests for the first time since early August. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario reported an additional 149 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, a relative decrease after two straight days with new case numbers not seen since late July.

The drop, though, comes as the number of test samples for the novel coronavirus processed by the province’s labs fell below 18,000 for first time since August 5 — also a Wednesday following a long weekend.

Ontario has consistently logged daily testing figures in the mid-20,000 range, on average, since June, though decreases in the days immediately after long weekends have been common throughout the pandemic.

In today’s report, Toronto, Peel and Ottawa were once again of particular note with 50, 41 and 16 newly confirmed infections, respectively. York Region also saw another 13.

Twenty-eight of Ontario’s 34 public health units saw five or fewer additional cases, while 21 of those 28 had none, Health Minister Christine Elliott noted in a series of tweets.

There have now been 43,685 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario since the outbreak began in late January. Of those, around 90 per cent are considered resolved. An additional 136 infections were marked resolved in today’s report.

There are about 1,540 confirmed, active cases of the illness provincewide.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s official COVID-19 death toll stayed steady for a fourth straight day, with just two deaths reported so far in September. A CBC News count based on data provided directly from public health units, a measure that helps avoid lag times in the provincial reporting system, puts the real current toll at 2,854.

Ontario-Quebec summit continues

The leaders of the two provinces hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are meeting in Mississauga, Ont., today to discuss economic recovery and health preparedness.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier Francois Legault have convened an inaugural summit to talk about what they see as key areas for co-operation.

They say the provinces plan to share lessons learned from the pandemic and work together to boost economic recovery and growth by reducing barriers to international trade.

Both provinces’ ministers of health, finance and infrastructure are also slated to attend, along with other officials. The two premiers are expected to hold a news conference following the meetings this afternoon. The summit officially began Tuesday evening.

“While the path to economic recovery won’t be easy, we don’t have to go it alone. Our provinces must now work together at this critical juncture to help drive the country forward,” Ford said in a statement.

Legault said the two provinces have shown solidarity as the health crisis unfurled in recent months. “We have a lot to learn from each other and collaboration between our governments will remain critical as we strive to recover our economies safely while preparing ourselves for a potential second wave,” he said in a statement.


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