The Province of Ontario has placed a “pause” on any further relaxation of COVID restrictions the province has seen an uptick in new COVID cases over the past week, and particularly Sunday and yesterday when 375 new cases were reported for the two days. The day after Ontario experienced its worst outbreak of new COVID cases since July, education Minister Stephen Lecce was on the hotseat at the Premier’s daily news conference. Ecce insisted that the Ontario back-to-school plan is the most thorough in Canada, pointing out that Ontario is the only province that has mandated face masks for all ages. Also at the news conference was Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams who was asked why we are opening schools on a day when the number of new COVID cases are more than were on the day when Ontario schools were closed in March. Williams said the difference is in the amount of testing that is now being done. In march when the testing program was struggling to get up to speed, nonetheless. the positivity rate with limited testing was about four and a half percent. Now with the province averaging 25,000 to 30,000 tests a day the positivity rate is only about one percent.
Premier Doug Ford continued to express frustration over the tendency of some groups to ignore the COVID restrictions and the fact that large gatherings are popping up. He talked about a large gathering in Muskoka, attended by some foreign nationals, that was broken up by OPP, but which resulted in a new infection. He also came down on Brampton which has been the source of most of Peel region’s new cases.