Ontario reports 1,426 new COVID-19 cases, another record high

·4 min read

Ontario reported another 1,426 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, setting a new record high for the fourth time in five days.

The newly confirmed infections push the seven-day average of daily cases to 1,217, the highest it has been at any point in the pandemic.

For the first time during the current resurgence of the novel coronavirus, Peel Region clocked the most cases at 468, while Toronto had 384 and York Region was at 180, as well as 63 in Durham Region and 62 in Hamilton.

Peel Region is currently the only public health unit in the red "control" tier of Ontario's new colour-coded COVID-19 restrictions framework. Toronto, which was initially set to roll into the less stringent orange "restrict" tier, will instead join Peel in the red as of Saturday. Local officials in both health units also implemented further limitations above and beyond what is outlined the province's system.

In a brief statement this morning, Premier Doug Ford said he supported Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, in her decision to implement additional restrictions for at least 28 days.

"The only way we're going to be able beat this, folks, is a targeted approach," Ford said, adding that the province's framework is supposed to be a "baseline" for guidance.

Ford is not scheduled to hold his usual daily news conference today due to Remembrance Day ceremonies at Queen's Park.

Other public health units that recorded double-digit increase in additional cases include:

  • Niagara: 42

  • Waterloo Region: 40

  • Halton Region: 30

  • Ottawa: 28

  • Simcoe Muskoka: 27

  • Middlesex-London: 20

  • Southwestern: 12

  • Windsor: 11

Nearly 200 of newly confirmed infections are school-related, including 116 students, 21 staff and 61 people who aren't identified.

There are currently 10,361 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 throughout Ontario, also a record high.

The new cases come as Ontario's network of labs processed about 36,700 test samples for the virus. The province reported a test positivity rate of 5.1 per cent with today's figures.

Meanwhile, the number of people in Ontario hospitals with a confirmed case of the illness rose slightly to 424, up from 422 yesterday. Of those, 88 are being treated in intensive care and 57 are on ventilators. At the peak of the spring wave, more than 1,000 people were hospitalized.

The province also added 15 more deaths to its official COVID-19-linked death toll, which now stands at 3,275. About 64 per cent of all deaths were residents in long-term care homes.

Further, at least 93 long-term care facilities are currently dealing with outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.

[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 in the provincial system.]

17 cases linked to Vaughan weddings

York Region Public Health put out a notice Wednesday linking 17 new cases of COVID-19 to two weddings and other wedding-related events in Vaughan.

The public health unit breaks down the various wedding events and their risk levels, writing that "all individuals who attended the pre-wedding and/or post-wedding events for either Wedding A or Wedding B are considered to have a high-risk exposure to COVID-19."

Those events were all held in private households in Markham or Ajax, with "insufficient physical distancing and masking."

The ceremonies, meanwhile, are considered low-risk despite around 130 attendees at each.

York Region Public Health says 12 of the people who were infected attended a pre-wedding event, 16 attended one wedding ceremony, and nine attended both wedding ceremonies.

They're asking anyone who attended pre- or post-wedding events to self-isolate. People who attended the ceremonies only are being told to self-monitor for symptoms.

Small outbreak at University of Windsor

Health officials say five students at the University of Windsor have tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak linked to a campus residence.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said the outbreak is linked to a Halloween party hosted at a residence building.

Thirteen other students are self-isolating and monitoring for symptoms.

Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said it's believed an individual had travelled outside the Windsor-Essex area and then attended the party with mild symptoms.

The university said it has moved affected students to a separate location.

University president Rob Gordon said the outbreak is a reminder that the student community cannot become complacent about COVID-19 protocols.