Ontario reports 1,983 new cases today, and 35 new deaths

The Canadian Press

Ontario is reporting a record 1,983 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 35 new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 515 cases are in Peel Region, 496 in Toronto, and 208 in York Region.

In the province’s long-term care homes, 623 residents currently have COVID-19 and 24 new deaths have been reported today.

The province says 118 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.

It also reported 139 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 111 among students.

Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 878 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.

The Ontario government will provide new COVID-19 projections later today.

The province’s chief medical officer of health said earlier this week that the data will indicate whether lockdowns in Toronto and Peel Region that started two weeks ago are working.

The last round of projections showed case rates had plateaued, but hospitals faced increasing strain due to the pandemic.

Experts described the data two weeks ago as showing Ontario was in a “fragile or precarious situation.”

Those figures also showed the number of patients in intensive care units had passed the threshold where surgeries may need to be cancelled.

Projections released early last month suggested Ontario could see as many as 6,500 new daily cases by mid-December unless steps were taken to limit the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says municipalities are facing billions in COVID-19-related expenses in 2021.

The Financial Accountability Officer makes those findings in a report released today.

He says if no further federal or provincial funding is provided, municipalities may have to raise taxes, cut services, or implement other cost-mitigation measures.

The FAO says the COVID-19 pandemic will cost municipalities $6.8 billion over two years.

He says most of the $4 billion in pandemic expenses accrued in 2020 are covered by funding provided by the federal and provincial governments.

But his report says more than $2.4 billion in pandemic expenses remain outstanding for 2021.