Ontario reports 251 new COVID-19 cases as long lines for testing continue

Ontario reports 251 new COVID-19 cases as long lines for testing continue

The province is reporting 251 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.

The bulk of the new cases were discovered in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel, with 73, 51 and 42 cases, respectively.

Twenty-four of the province's health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with 14 reporting no new cases, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.

"Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and vented patients remain relatively stable," Elliott said. The province says 47 people are currently hospitalized, with 19 in intensive care and 11 on a ventilator.Provincial data shows 27,664 tests were completed on Monday, with 24,339 currently under investigation. There were also 117 cases marked resolved on Tuesday.

Cases have been on an upswing since mid-August, with numbers topping 200 a day since Sept. 12. The average daily number of cases has now doubled in a span of just 12 days.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Guelph, Ont., Premier Doug Ford noted that the novel coronavirus is continuing to spread.

"As we see around the world, countries are getting hammered by COVID-19," Ford said, adding that a second wave "is coming."

"The officials are telling us that the second wave could be more complicated than the first one," he said.

Long lines at testing centres

That's why, Ford said, Ontario is expanding testing and is stockpiling personal protective equipment, while also ensuring ventilators are being made locally.

The province announced Tuesday it is spending $2.5 million to help Guelph manufacturing company Linamar make parts for 10,000 ventilators.

Both Ford and Elliott took questions about long lines at testing centres in recent days, with Elliott telling reporters that the province has gotten reports of "significant lineups in many parts of Ontario."

WATCH | CBC's Chris Glover reports on plans by the province to ask pharmacies to test asymptomatic patients after long lineups at COVID-19 assessment centres:

A jump in demand for tests was expected as kids returned to school, she said, but "perhaps not to this extent."

The province is now looking at ways to address this, she said, with the possibility of assessment facilities opening at pharmacies and labs.

Ford said the province is "all over it" when it comes to testing, and would be making announcements about it in the coming days.

"We're doing everything we can to move this forward rapidly," he said.

Ford also said the province will be "rolling out announcements about regions that are [most] affected" by COVID-19 in the near future.

Death count ticks upward, 89% of cases now resolved

Ontario is reporting 2,820 deaths as of Tuesday, which is an increase of four since yesterday. A more up to date death toll, according to data collected by CBC from the province's local health units, stands at 2,858.

Of the 45,068 cases in the province, 40,091, or 89 per cent, are now considered resolved.

On Monday, 313 new COVID-19 cases were reported, which was the highest daily case count since early June.

At a press conference Monday, Elliott called that spike a "disturbing and significant increase."

Elliott also says the province will unveil a new fall strategy to address COVID-19 in the coming days. She told reporters Monday that the government has been working on the strategy over the summer in order to prepare for a possible second wave of the virus.

Elliott said the possible second wave will be complex and require a different approach than what the government used during the early months of the pandemic.