Record-breaking day for new daily COVID-19 cases in Ontario

A health unit in eastern Ontario is asking residents to avoid non-essential travel to hot zones

The province reported 1,588 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, a single-day high for new infections in Ontario, topping the 1,581 cases set a week ago on Nov. 14.

In addition, there were 21 new deaths, and of those, 13 were residents of long-term care homes.

There are 518 people in hospital, which is down five, and 142 people in intensive care units, with 92 of those individuals on a ventilator.

Peel reported 522 new cases, with 450 in Toronto and 153 in York Region.

More than 46,600 tests were completed. There are more than 43,000 tests still under investigation. Health officials said the positivity rate is up to 4.3 per cent compared to 3.6 per cent the day before.

There are 1,363 more resolved cases.

Toronto and Peel will move into a lockdown on Monday as part of the province’s COVID colour-coded system.

Simcoe Muskoka will shift from yellow to the orange zone on that day, with the greatest impact on bars and restaurants. They will have to close two hours sooner at 10 p.m., and seating will be restricted to four per table instead of six.

There is concern people living in lockdown could make their way to nearby regions of the province to do their Christmas shopping as malls in Toronto and Peel close.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams is counting on people to limit travel to essential purposes.

“We are going to be trusting and confident that the public will do the right thing.”

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH), which includes Belleville, Trenton, Bancroft and Picton, put out a statement Friday evening urging people to avoid all non-essential travel, in particular to those areas with high rates of COVID-19.

“I am asking all residents to consider additional changes they can make to help reduce the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “Please avoid travel to other regions unless absolutely necessary. Consider postponing invitations for visits from friends or family members who reside in other areas. Every new case in our region increases the risk of local spread and could severely impact our vulnerable loved ones.”

As part of the government’s lockdown announcement on Friday, Hastings Prince Edward was kept in the green zone. There are 15 active cases. Of those, 14 were identified in the last week.

The government has not imposed any province-wide travel restrictions.