Ontario COVID-19 rates showing improvement, too soon to say if it's a trend: Yaffe

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TORONTO — One of Ontario's top doctors says the province's COVID-19 numbers are showing improvement but it's too soon to say if it's the start of a trend.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says that the provincial case rate has started to decline for the first time since November.

She says the current rate sits at 145.4 cases per 100,000 people, which still remains high.

Yaffe says the average per cent positivity on COVID-19 tests has also dropped to 5.3 per cent, down from 6.3 per cent last week.

The province is also reporting that 26 public health units have experienced decreasing virus case rates.

Yaffe says an additional week or two of data will be required to fully assess the trajectory of the virus in the province.

Ontario reported 2,632 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 46 more deaths linked to the virus.

The total number includes 102 cases from Toronto that were not reported earlier this week due to a technical issue that has now been resolved.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 897 new cases in Toronto, 412 in Peel Region, 245 in York Region, 162 in Ottawa and 118 in Waterloo Region.

Meanwhile, Ontario is opening a pair of new COVID-19 isolation centres this week to help people recover from the virus.

The centres will open in Brampton and Oshawa, while two similar facilities that opened in Toronto in the fall will receive additional beds.

The province said similar centres are also operating in Ottawa and Peel and Waterloo regions.

The centres are intended to help people who have contracted the novel coronavirus self-isolate and keep their families safe.

People staying in those centres are provided meals, security, transportation, and have access to health and social services.

The province said it will create up to 1,525 additional beds for safe isolation in the coming weeks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press