Ontario reported 213 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, marking the first time the province’s numbers have crossed the 200 mark in over a month.
The last time Ontario reported more than 200 cases was on July 21, with 203. The new case count marks the biggest single-day increase since June 29.
Meanwhile the province’s curve is now higher than it’s been since mid-June, with the average number of new confirmed cases daily went from 107 to 181 in just two weeks.
This week Ontario saw 170 new cases of the novel coronavirus confirmed on Thursday, 149 on Wednesday, 185 on Tuesday and 190 on Monday.
Of Friday’s new cases, 71 were reported in Toronto, 38 in Peel and 37 in Ottawa. Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a tweet that 67 per cent of today’s cases were found in people under the age of 40.
Asked for his response on the apparent uptick in cases in what are some of the province’s most populated regions, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a news conference reiterated his call for people to avoid large gatherings.
“Anywhere where there’s large urban areas, congregate living, especially, that’s where we have teams going in to support these communities. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s not the City of Toronto or Peel Region’s fault, this is
happening, and we’ve got to work together.”
“All I’m asking is please, try to avoid these big gatherings,” he said, adding he has heard of weddings with 150 or 175 people. “Just follow the guidelines, and everyone will be okay.”
Provincial officials meanwhile have said there are no plans to reduce the limit on the size of indoor gatherings, despite private and social functions being blamed for some of the recent increases in cases, along with workplace outbreaks.
The province says four students have also tested positive for COVID-19, all in Ottawa, along with nine school staff who have tested positive for the disease.
Locally, 26 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with 18 reporting no new cases.
Data shows more than 32,500 tests were completed by public health units across the province.
The new patients bring Ontario’s total case count to 44,068, which includes 2,813 deaths and 39,598 cases classified as resolved. Health officials say there are now 1,657 active cases in the province.
No new deaths recorded by province on Friday
As of Friday, 49 COVID-19 patients are in Ontario hospitals. Of that, 18 are in intensive care units and nine are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
There were no new deaths linked to the novel coronavirus recorded by the province on Friday.
As of last evening, 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 death toll at 2,856.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 3.2 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Ontario. There are currently 31,384 tests under investigation.
Long line-ups at Toronto testing centres as numbers spike
At COVID-19 assessment centres in Toronto’s city core, line-ups have been winding around buildings as wait times appear to be increasing along with the number of cases in the region.
One user on Twitter declared they’re “giving up” on waiting at the COVID-19 testing centre at 347 Bathurst Street.
At Mount Sinai Hospital’s testing centre at 600 University Ave., a large line-up began to form more than 40 minutes prior to the location’s set 8 a.m. opening time.
“I actually went to three hospitals yesterday and the wait was too long at all of them,” said Connor Anderson, who arrived an hour early so he’d be guaranteed a test.
Kate Strunc, a healthcare worker who has been tested at Mount Sinai several times this summer, said lately she’s seen the line-up become longer, encouraging her to arrive early.
“”I like to beat the line. Usually the line can expand to the end, that takes a couple of hours,” she said.
Website will track COVID-19 in schools, child-care centres
With COVID case numbers climbing, the Ontario government is launching a public website tracking all cases in schools and child-care centres.
Ford promised this week that his government would report all outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.
The province says the site will be updated every weekday and include a summary of cases, as well as more detailed information on where the numbers come from.
Ford says he believes parents should know where school outbreaks are occurring, but it will take time to report.
Under current provincial guidelines, schools are required to report COVID-19 cases to parents online or with a letter home.
As of Friday morning, the website showed 13 cases at schools in Ontario.
Economy getting back on its feet, Trudeau says
On Friday, Ford was joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a ground-breaking ceremony for the Cote Gold Project in northern Ontario.
Trudeau said there’s no doubt that the last few months have been hard for a lot of businesses across the country because of COVID-19.
“The virus is still a health threat around the world and here at home,” Trudeau said.
“This project shows how our economy is getting back on its feet. International investors know that Canada is a good place to do business.”