Ontario reports 3,301 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, highest 1 day total since early May

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As Ontario prepares for a "circuit breaker" spate of new pandemic restrictions, the province reported 3,301 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday — the largest single day total since May 6.

That's up from 3,124 new cases reported on Friday, which was up from 2,421 new cases reported on Thursday. Cases connected to Omicron are doubling every two days — an unprecedented rate for variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

On Thursday, Ontario's COVID-19 science table set the tone for the holiday season, warning that the highly infectious Omicron variant could overwhelm hospitals in the coming weeks.

On Friday, the government moved to implement restrictions. The new restrictions will take effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday. These include reducing the limit for indoor social gatherings from 25 to 10 and reducing the limit for outdoor social gatherings from 100 to 25, as well as business-related reductions.

"We need to meet this variant head on," Premier Doug Ford said. "We need to do everything we can to push it back."

Frustrations mount over access to rapid tests

The LCBO ran out of COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits on Friday, the same day select stores started carrying the tests on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The province has various pop-up sites offering the kits, with an updated list accessible here. However, frustrations mounted Saturday as Yorkdale Mall — the lone Toronto pickup site operating Saturday — ran out of tests within two hours of opening its doors.

"In the face of the rapidly-spreading Omicron variant, we recognize there is significant demand for rapid tests and are pleased to see so many people embrace the opportunity to add an extra layer of protection in advance of the holidays," said a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Health.

She said "every single test the province has received from the federal government is out the door" but that shipping has delayed the arrival of "millions of tests."

There are pop-ups in Newmarket and Richmond Hill on Sunday, while Yorkdale Mall will again offer rapid tests starting at 9 a.m. on Monday. The most accurate information is available online.

WATCH | To 'blunt' the impact of Omicron, Ontarians need to reduce contacts, Adalsteinn Brown says:

Here are some key pandemic indicators and figures for Saturday from the Ministry of Health's daily provincial update:

Tests completed: 54,407.

Provincewide test positivity rate: 8.9 per cent, up from 8.2 per cent the day before.

Active cases: 17,882.

Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 154; 99 needed a ventilator to breathe.

Deaths: Four, pushing the official toll to 10,111.

Vaccinations: 25,174,953 doses have been administered to date. Currently, 90.4 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 or older have had one dose of a vaccine. Meanwhile, 87.8 per cent have had two doses.

Ontario: New daily cases of COVID-19

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