The number of new COVID-19 cases in the province surpassed 400 once again on Monday after there was a dip in cases over the weekend.

Data released this morning indicates that there were 427 new lab-confirmed cases of the virus in the province on Monday, up from the 304 confirmed on Sunday and 340 on Saturday. 

With only about 6,000 tests completed on Monday, this represents a positivity rate of more than seven per cent.

“I hope the 427 is a blip due to data shifts and changes and I hope it comes down further,”Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said.

He suggested that few symptomatic people in the community responded to the call to get tested in the last few days due to the fact it was a public holiday on Monday.

“The large inflow of people coming to get tested did not occur. It may be a weekend effect,”

The number of new tests completed in recent days has plummeted, with just 5,813 specimens processed on Monday and less than 10,000 processed on Sunday. 

The province has previously said that it should now have the capacity to complete more than 20,000 tests per day and it is unclear why more tests are not being conducted.

There are now 23,384 confirmed cases of the virus in the province, including 1,919 deaths and 17,898 recoveries.

A count of Ontario’s 34 local public health units found 1,985 deaths attributed to the virus, 66 more than what the province was reporting on Tuesday morning.

The spike in new cases comes as Ontario enters the first stage of the Ford government’s plan to reopen the province.

Golf courses and marinas opened over the weekend and several retail shops across Ontario will be reopening to customers today after being closed for months.

Williams has insisted that Ontario see a consistent decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases for two to four weeks before continuing to reopen more aspects of the province’s economy.

Williams said Tuesday that based on the latest case growth data; he was not comfortable with schools reopening, as they could be a major driver of virus transmission.

For childcare centres, Williams said they will need to observe strict infection protocol measures when they are allowed to reopen, similar to those enacted for the emergency childcare centres for essential workers that are already underway.

Ontario saw a record-high number of new cases on April 25 when 640 cases were confirmed.

Despite Monday’s case increase, Ontario reported the fewest number of new deaths in more than six weeks.

The province says 15 more deaths were reported on Monday, down from the 23 confirmed on Sunday.

Residents of long-term care facilities account for the vast majority of deaths in the province and according to the most recent data, four new outbreaks of the virus were reported in long-term care facilities on Monday, bringing the total number of outbreaks to 280.

All but 90 virus-related deaths in the province have been in people ages 80 and over and no one under the age of 19 has died from COVID-19 in Ontario.

Other highlights from today’s data:

  • GTA public health units account for 63.1 per cent of all cases
  • 56.9 per cent of cases are female and 42.4 are male
  • Close to 13 per cent of all cases involved hospitalization
  • 35.3 per cent of all cases were a result of community transmission
  • Heath care workers represent about 17 per cent of all cases (4,043)