Ontario reports 1,185 new cases of COVID-19, 16 new deaths

·3 min read
A doctor prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Toronto as the province sees a new single-day record number of vaccines administered on Saturday.  (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
A doctor prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Toronto as the province sees a new single-day record number of vaccines administered on Saturday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

Ontario reported 1,185 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 new deaths on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Health.

The new figures bring the province's total case count near 300,000, with 299,754 infections recorded since the start of the pandemic.

The new cases include 331 in Toronto, 220 in Peel Region and 119 in York Region.

Ontario's lab network completed over 59,400 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and logged a test positivity rate of 2.1 per cent, according to health minister Christine Elliott.

The number of people hospitalized with the novel coronavirus stands at 680. Of that number, 276 were in the ICU and 182 required a ventilator to breathe.

The new deaths bring the provincial total of COVID-19-related fatalities to 6,960.

Of the total provincial case count, 282,315 cases have been marked as resolved, up by 984 since yesterday.

According to Saturday's update from the Ministry of Health, Ontario reported an additional 42 cases of variants of concern, bringing the provincial total up to 535.

Thirty-one new cases of the variant first detected in the United Kingdom were reported, with a total of 508 across the province. Twenty-five cases of the variant first detected in South Africa were reported, up 11 cases since yesterday. Two total cases have screened positive for the variant first identified in Brazil.

Earlier this week, the province's latest projections showed that variants of concern will likely make up 40 per cent of Ontario's COVID-19 cases by mid-March as they continue to spread quickly.

Ontario's COVID-19 science table has said the next few weeks will be "critical" for understanding the impact of these variants, and that there "is a period of remaining risk" before the pandemic likely hits a lull in the summer months.

Meanwhile, the province said it administered 24,339 doses of vaccines on Friday, a new single-day high for the second day in a row. A total of 260,972 people have received both doses of a vaccine.

The news comes a day after Health Canada gave a green light for the use of a third COVID-19 vaccine, AstraZeneca.

York Region also announced on Friday that it is ready to vaccinate residents 80 years of age and older by appointment. Eligible residents can book appointments online beginning on Monday, March 1 at 8 a.m.

2 regions to move into lockdown, 7 to ease restrictions

Meanwhile, the province announced that two regions will be moving into lockdown next week while seven other regions will see an ease in restrictions.

On Friday, Ontario announced that it is activating an "emergency brake" in Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka, which will send the regions back into lockdown to "immediately interrupt transmission and contain community spread."

The two regions will move into the grey lockdown level of Ontario's COVID-19 restriction plan effective 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 1.

Meanwhile, measures will loosen to various degrees in the Niagara Region, Chatham-Kent, Middlesex-London, Southwestern, Haldimand-Norfolk, Huron Perth and Grey Bruce health units.

The Ontario government lifted a stay-at-home order for most of the province two weeks ago and moved the majority of the health units back to its colour-coded restrictions system.

Toronto, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound will remain under the stay-at-home order until at least Monday, March 8.