TORONTO – Ontario reported 805 new COVID-19 cases and 10 new virus-related deaths on Saturday, as another Toronto-area public health unit imposed stricter restrictions on local long-term care homes .
The new ban on all visitors and caregivers except essential ones came into effect in York Region amid what Health Minister Christine Elliott called an “alarming upward trend” in COVID cases -19.
The government issued a statement saying the only visitors now allowed to facilities in the area north of Toronto are those deemed essential.
As of Monday, and until further notice, residents of long-term care homes are also not allowed to have short-term and temporary absences for social or personal reasons.
“We must act quickly to deal with changing conditions to protect the residents and staff of Ontario’s long-term care homes,” said Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care for the province, in a press release.
Anyone planning to visit a long-term care home is advised to contact the facility in advance for more information.
Saturday’s provincial COVID-19 figures came from about 44,700 completed tests.
The number of provincial cases over the past week, while still high, did not hit the one-day high of 939 new diagnoses reported on Oct.9.
Elliott said 93 of the latest cases were in York Region, including 374 in Toronto, 107 in Peel Region and 70 in Ottawa.
The province announced Friday that York Region is joining the other three COVID-19 hotspots to revert to an amended Stage 2 pandemic protocol starting Monday.
Toronto, Region of Peel and Ottawa were placed under similar restrictions as cases increased a week ago.
Amended Stage 2 includes closing gyms and cinemas, banning indoor dining in restaurants or bars, and restrictions on public gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors .
The more stringent measures will be in place for 28 days.
Ontario now has a total of 63,713 COVID-19 cases, of which 54,686 are considered resolved and 3,041 deaths.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 17, 2020.