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Ontario reports 115 new COVID-19 cases as Windsor-Essex given green light for Stage 3

Confirmed active cases of COVID-19 provincewide fall below 1,000 for 1st time since peak

Ontario reported an additional 115 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, ending a week-long streak with fewer than 100 new daily cases.

 

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All 34 of Ontario’s public health units will be in Stage 3 by mid-week. The news comes after seven straight days with fewer than 100 new daily cases reported provincewide. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

 

The slight uptick comes as the Ministry of Health announced that Windsor-Essex, the last of Ontario 34 public health units still in Stage 2 of the province’s COVID-19 reopening plan, has been given a green light to move ahead into the next phase of recovery.

“The decision was based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing,” the province said in a news release.

Outbreaks of the illness among temporary farm workers in the area had previously prevented public health officials from allowing Windsor-Essex to proceed into Stage 3.

The move officially takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

 

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The totals do not include 291 previously confirmed cases that were added to the provincial count on June 6 and 7 because of what the province calls “a lag in reporting between laboratories and public health units.” Source: Ontario Ministry of Health

 

“This is an important milestone for the province in our fight against COVID-19 and one we can all be proud of. However, it’s never been more important for each of us to remain vigilant in following all public health advice,” Health Minister Christine Elliott is quoted as saying in the news release.

Stage 3 allows for activities such as indoor dining in restaurants, live performing arts shows and the reopening of movie theatres and playgrounds — albeit with significant health and safety measures in place, including physical distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols and Plexiglas barriers.

Most of the province moved into Stage 3 on July 17, with the exception of Windsor-Essex, the Greater Toronto Area and other parts of southern Ontario. Toronto and Peel Region were cleared to enter Stage 3 on July 31.

Five public health units across the province reported 10 or more newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in today’s update:

  • Ottawa: 20
  • Peel: 19
  • Toronto: 16
  • Windsor-Essex: 12
  • Niagara: 11

Meanwhile, a total of 18 health units reported no new cases at all. Ontario has now seen a total of 40,161 confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus since the outbreak  began in late January. Of those, about 90.6 per cent are considered resolved by public health officials. Another 102 infections were marked resolved in today’s update.

Today is the first time since infections peaked that the number of confirmed active cases is below 1,000, with some 994 still ongoing. And the province’s rolling five-day average of new daily cases, a measure that smoothes peaks and valleys in the data, has been in consistent decline since late July, with the notable exception of several days at the beginning of August.

Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to hold his daily COVID-19 briefing beginning at 1 p.m. ET at Queen’s Park. Ford’s office says he will be joined by Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

CBC/MS

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