Ontario has once again set a new record for the number of COVID-19 cases reported in a 24-hour period as virus-related hospitalizations in the province jump to more than 500.

Provincial health officials confirmed 1,581 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, edging out the previous record of 1,575 set on Thursday.

The rolling seven-day average of new cases is now 1,419, up from 1,013 one week ago.

"Locally, there are 497 new cases in Peel, 456 in Toronto, 130 in York Region and 77 in Ottawa. There are 1,003 more resolved cases and over 44,800 tests completed," Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted on Saturday.

The test positivity rate today is 4.2 per cent.

Twenty more deaths were recorded today, the highest single-day death toll since the start of the second wave of the pandemic.

Twelve of those fatalities involved residents of long-term care homes.

Over the past seven days, Ontario has seen 112 virus-related deaths, averaging out to about 16 new deaths per day.

The province also saw a big  jump in the number of hospitalizations on Saturday.

According to the latest data provided by provincial health officials, there are 502 COVID-19 patients currently in hospital, up by 50 compared to the previous day.

The number of hospitalizations just one week ago was 384.

Of those currently hospitalized with the disease, 107 are in intensive care and 66 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

New modelling data released by the province last week suggested that the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units in the province will exceed the 150 threshold within two weeks, forcing some hospitals to cancel elective surgeries and other procedures.

There are now 100 long-term care homes in the province that are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, up from 91 last weekend.

Toronto enters province's 'red zone' today

Premier Doug Ford warned residents of the province on Friday that Ontario is “staring down the barrel of another lockdown.”

The premier announced changes to the province’s tiered framework for COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, lowering the thresholds for moving regions into more restrictive categories.

The Ford government made the changes after epidemiologists, public health experts, and the Ontario Medical Association heavily criticized the plan for being too lax.

Peel Region and Toronto are currently in the province's "red" zone, the most restrictive category short of a full lockdown, and the two areas will be joined by York Region, Hamilton, and Halton Region on Monday.

The province's new projections also indicate Ontario could see as many as 6,500 new cases of COVID-19 per day come mid-December if more action is not taken now to slow the spread of the virus.

“The modelling that I see now is not the modelling that I saw nine days ago. Nine days, ten days ago what I saw was anywhere from 950 to 1200 cases,” Ford said Friday.

“When I get the green light and Dr. Williams says the (health) table has come back and they want a lockdown, I will lockdown quicker than you can blink your eyes because my number one priority is to protect the safety of every single person in Ontario."

New cases in the GTHA:

Peel Region: 497

Toronto: 456

York Region: 130

Durham Region: 64

Halton Region: 54

Hamilton: 34