Ontario reports 3,301 new cases of COVID-19 with four more deaths

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TORONTO — Ontario reported more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row Saturday, as capacity limits returned to large venues in the province due to the threat posed by the Omicron variant.

Ontario's 3,301 diagnoses made for the highest daily tally since early May.

Hospitalizations were also on the rise, with 382 people in hospital -- including 294 who are either unvaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status. A day earlier, 358 people were in hospital because of the virus.

The Progressive Conservative government has brought back stricter public health measures in an effort to prevent the now-dominant Omicron variant of COVID-19 from overwhelming the health-care system -- something experts said could happen in a matter of weeks if the status quo continued.

Premier Doug Ford first announced Wednesday that large venues would see their capacities limited, with the rule coming into effect first thing Saturday morning.

On Sunday, restaurants and retailers will also see their capacities capped at 50 per cent. The limit on indoor social gatherings will also be reduced from 25 people to 10, and the limit on outdoor social gatherings from 100 to 25.

In the province, 86.2 per cent of residents aged five and older have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 81 per cent have at least two doses.

Ontario administered 168,923 more doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

The mayor of Ottawa, meanwhile, tweeted on Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Jim Watson said he is asymptomatic, and will isolate for the next eight days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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