Ontario reporting more than 400 new cases of COVID-19 for second consecutive day
Published Saturday, September 19, 2020 10:18AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 19, 2020 1:37PM EDT
For the second consecutive day, Ontario is reporting more than 400 new cases of COVID-19.
Provincial health officials recorded 407 new cases of the virus today, up slightly from the 401 reported one day earlier.
The rolling seven-day average of new cases now stands at 312, up from 180 one week ago.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province set a testing record today, processing nearly 39,000 tests over the past 24 hours.
That puts the case positivity rate at about 1.04 per cent, down slightly from 1.1 per cent yesterday.
Long line-ups and wait times were reported at several assessment centres around the province over the past week, prompting the province to ramp up testing.
“In response to growing demand for testing, Ontario Health has increased capacity at eight assessment centres across Toronto, Peel and Ottawa with seven pop-ups launched in the regions and more coming to help increase access and cut down wait times,” Elliott tweeted on Saturday.
With 177 additional resolved cases today, new infections outpaced recoveries by a significant margin once again as active cases of the virus continue to climb in the province.
There are now 2,881 active infections in Ontario, up from 1,769 one week ago.
In August, active cases in the province were consistently below 1,000 and the positivity rate dropped to as low as 0.28 per cent.
One new death was reported in Ontario today and number of people receiving treatment for COVID-19 at hospitals in the province increased to 64, up from 58 on Friday.
The number of patients in intensive care remains unchanged at 10.
The highest number of new infections were reported in Toronto (129), Peel Region (94), and Ottawa (55).
An additional 28 infections were also confirmed in York Region today.
In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, Premier Doug Ford announced Saturday that private gatherings provincewide will be restricted to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors but the restrictions do not apply to businesses such as restaurants, movie theatres, banquet halls, and gyms.
This means "staffed businesses and facilities" will still be permitted to host 100 people outdoors and 50 people indoors.
Schools and places of worship are also exempt from the new gathering restrictions.
"Over the past several days, we've seen alarming growth in the number of COVID cases in Ontario. Three weeks ago, we were around 80 cases, a week ago we were around 200 cases, now we are over 400 cases and climbing. Folks, the alarm bells are ringing," Ford said at a news conference on Saturday.
"Too much of it has been tied to people who aren't following the rules. People who think it is ok to hold parties, to carry on as if things are back to normal. They aren't."
Ford said those caught organizing "illegal social gatherings" will face a $10,000 fine and anyone who attends will be handed a $750 ticket.
New cases in the GTA:
Peel Region: 94
York Region: 28
Halton Region: 18
Durham Region: 6