Ontario has confirmed another 85 new cases of COVID-19, including two new deaths.

It is the second straight today in which the province has reported a single-day high in the number of news cases after 78 were added to the tally on Monday.

The total number of cases provincewide now stands at 588, including eight recoveries and eight deaths. That total is up 226 per cent from this time last week, which would equate to an average daily increase of 32 per cent.

Of the new cases with locations listed, 17 are in Toronto, five are in York Region, three are in Durham Region, three are in Peel Region, three are in Hamilton and one is in Halton Region.

The majority of the cases are listed as “self-isolating” at home, though there are two new cases involving patients who are hospitalized – a man in his 60s in Waterloo and a man in his 80s in the Wellington Dufferin Guelph health unit.

Since the first case confirmed in Ontario on Jan. 25, Associate Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said that 50 people have been hospitalized, with 17 of them requiring the intensive care unit.

Across Ontario on Tuesday, she said seven patients were intubated and breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Thirty-one healthcare workers across Ontario have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began, including five whose infections were confirmed over the past 24 hours.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams said he is pleased they have been able to keep the rate of infection among healthcare workers quite low.

“For over the whole time period – that’s not an extensive number thus far and we’ve been able to keep that load on the healthcare system in abeyance for a while,” he said.

The latest batch of data also indicates a continued rise in the backlog of tests which are still being processed.

There are 10,074 people listed as “still under investigation,” up from 8,417 on Monday. That is more than five times the total backlog as of this time last week (March 17).

Williams said there are now eight hospital labs assisting the Public Health Ontario lab in clearing test specimens, so they hope the rate of processing tests increases going forward.

The province has only said that one of the new deaths involves an individual in his 90s in Durham Region.

Public health officials in Durham have, however, independently confirmed the death of a resident at the Hillsdale Terraces long-term care home in Oshawa. They say that the woman passed away at Lakeridge Health Oshawa on Monday after being transferred there for further treatment.

So far, 21,795 people have tested negative for COVID-19 in Ontario.

Williams said the next two weeks will be a critical period for the province, as the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who recently returned from the U.S. and other foreign destinations will begin to show COVID-19 symptoms soon if they’re infected with the virus.

“We know that the challenge is the people who have returned are in their peak period of incubation.”

There are more than 2,500 cases across the country, including 25 deaths.