Newly confirmed cases include 517 in Toronto, 471 in Peel Region and 187 in York Region – where hospital CEOs said this morning their facilities had reached a ‘tipping point’ in COVID-19 admissions . A joint statement from the CEOs of Mackenzie Health, Markham Stouffville Hospital and Southlake Regional Health Center highlights a “significant increase” in admissions due to the novel coronavirus in recent weeks.
The group expressed concern that the trend could impact access to other health care, such as scheduled surgeries. They also called on residents to wear masks in public and to forgo congregating during the holidays in order to protect the community.
York Region is currently at red on the province’s pandemic response framework, the most stringent public health measures unless a lockdown.
Also on Wednesday, the number of people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed infections rose to 811. Of those, 221 are being treated in intensive care and 129 require ventilator use.
Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in today’s update are:
- Hamilton: 97
- Halton Region: 96
- Windsor-Essex: 94
- Durham Region: 75
- Region of Waterloo: 64
- Niagara: 43
- Middlesex-Londres: 37
- Simcoe Muskoka: 34
- Ottawa: 33
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 25
- Southwest: 15
- Haldimand-Norfolk: 14
- Thunder Bay: 10
(Note: All numbers used for new cases in this story can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiological summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from which is reported by local public health as local units report numbers at different times.)
The Department of Education also reported 207 school-related cases: 1,748 students and 33 staff. Some 866 of Ontario’s 4,828 public schools, or nearly 18 percent, have at least one case of COVID-19, while 11 schools are currently closed due to the disease.
New cases now bring the seven-day average to 1,840, a new record.
There are now 16,089 confirmed and active cases of COVID-19 across the province, a slight drop from yesterday’s high. They come as the Ontario lab network processed 48,456 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 4.4%. Another 54,613 tests are in the queue waiting to be completed.
Meanwhile, for a second consecutive day, Premier Doug Ford is not expected to answer questions from the media. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Ford has generally made himself available, and often top cabinet ministers, to answer questions from reporters.
Yesterday, the Ontario legislature adjourned for vacation earlier than expected and lawmakers won’t be returning until mid-February.
Speaking this morning, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called on Ford to recall the Legislature and accused him of “quashing it.”
“He throws in the towel. He is waving the white flag in the fight against COVID-19 and is just waiting for a vaccine now, ”she said.