Ontario reports 2,005 new COVID-19 cases, 18 more deaths

Ontario is reporting 2,005 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and 18 more deaths linked to the virus.

Sunday’s figure marks the lowest number reported since Dec. 14, when 1,940 new COVID-19 cases were recorded.

Of the new cases, Health Minister Christine Elliott says 572 were recorded in Toronto, 331 in Peel Region, 207 in York Region and 140 in Windsor-Essex County.

Data regarding the number of tests completed from Dec. 24 to Dec. 26 was not made available by the province until Sunday afternoon. In a tweet, Elliott said 61,465 tests were completed on December 24, followed by 49,511 on Christmas Day and 41,783 on Boxing Day. 

The province will not release new COVID-19 data on Monday or on Jan. 1. The health ministry says two reports will be posted on the next days after those dates.

Today’s numbers mark the thirteenth straight day Ontario has seen more than 2,000 new daily infections. 

Meanwhile, a total of 823 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 285 in intensive care. Some 194 patients require a ventilator to help them breathe.

Today’s new cases bring the province’s seven-day average to 2,212. The new figure also brings Ontario’s cumulative case count to 171,416. 

A handful of other areas that saw double-digit increases include: 

  • Waterloo: 89. 
  • Niagara: 83. 
  • Halton: 80. 
  • Hamilton: 74. 
  • Durham: 71. 
  • Middlesex-London: 53. 
  • Ottawa: 49.
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 41. 
  • Lambton: 37.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 34.  
  • Southwestern: 28. 
  • Huron Perth: 20. 
  • Eastern Ontario: 18. 
  • Peterborough: 14. 
  • Brant County: 11. 

(Note: All of the figures used for new cases in this story are found on the Ontario Health Ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)

Ontario identifies first cases of COVID-19 U.K. variant

Sunday’s update comes one day after Ontario announced its first two confirmed cases in the province of the COVID-19 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom.

Ontario is the first Canadian province to confirm cases of the variant, which has been detected in several other countries, including Denmark, Belgium, France, Australia and the Netherlands.

The confirmed cases identified are from a couple from Durham Region with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, said in a news release on Saturday. Durham Region is east of Toronto.

Both individuals have been informed and are now in self-isolation as per public health protocols, it said.

In an email to CBC News on Sunday, Public Health Ontario said laboratories across the province are screening large volumes of positive COVID-19 samples to investigate how prevalent the U.K. variant is in the province.

However, PHO says the diagnostic tests in Canada are effective in detecting the U.K. variant, but do not on their own distinguish that variant from other strains.

| Ontario becomes first province to identify new COVID-19 variant: 

A couple was found to be carrying the virus, but neither had travelled or been in contact with a known case, officials say. 2:45

Also on Saturday, Ontario entered into a provincewide lockdown in a bid to curb rising cases of COVID-19. 

The restrictions will remain in place for southern Ontario until Jan. 23, but will lift for northern Ontario on Jan. 9.

For the five regions already in lockdown — Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, Windsor-Essex and Hamilton — the new measures don’t look much different than what is currently in place, though there are a few differences.

For other regions, much tighter restrictions are now in place. 

For more information on what’s allowed and what isn’t under the new rules, click here. 

Meanwhile, Ontario began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to health-care workers earlier this month, and is poised to receive tens of thousands of doses of the newly approved Moderna shot by the end of the month.

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