Ontario reports nearly 4,500 new cases of COVID-19 over two days

The Canadian Press

TORONTO–Ontario is reporting nearly 4,500 new cases of COVID-19 over two days and a total of 78 new deaths.

The province says 2,553 new infections were recorded today and 1,939 on Monday.

Ontario also reported 37 new deaths on Sunday and 41 more on Monday.

Provincial COVID-19 data were not released Monday due to the holiday.

Of today’s tally, 895 are in Toronto, 496 are in Peel Region, 147 are in Windsor-Essex, 144 are in Hamilton and 142 are in York Region.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 34,112 tests were completed on Monday and 39,565 the previous day.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health is expected to provide an update on the pandemic this afternoon.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccinations in Ontario are expected to return to full operations today after being scaled down over the holidays.

The province says five vaccination clinics were open on Sunday, 10 were back in action Monday and all of them are set to resume immunizations today.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health says that more than 13,200 vaccines have been administered to Ontarians as of Monday afternoon.

Alexandra Hilkene says that the ministry expects to get through 90,000 doses at 19 hospitals in the next several days.

The storage requirement for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine means it will be used primarily in hospitals, while the more recently approved Moderna vaccine will go to long-term care homes, congregate settings and more rural communities.

Critics have taken issue with the pause in vaccinations over the holidays, saying the province can’t afford to delay immunizations.

Hilkene said that COVID-19 has created staff issues at long-term care homes and hospitals across Ontario.

“As a result, over the holidays hospital sites administering the vaccines requested to operate on slightly amended schedules, recognizing the challenges that the holidays can have on staffing levels in hospitals and long-term care homes,” she said.