Ontario extends COVID-19 pandemic orders to September 22

The province also reports 76 new cases of the virus, but a technical glitch means numbers from 11 regions are not available

The Ontario government is extending COVID-19 pandemic orders for another month under the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA).

Doug Ford’s government said the move was necessary to address ongoing risks and protect vulnerable populations.

“We’ve seen great progress in our fight against COVID-19 in recent weeks, but now is not the time to let our guard down,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones in a statement. “We’re conducting an ongoing review and assessment of all orders to determine if they are still necessary and will relax restrictions or lift orders when it is safe to do so.”

Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 16. The legislation was renewed several times and allowed the province to create and enforce emergency orders.

The ROA replaced the state of emergency on July 24. The new legislation gives the government power to extend or amend emergency orders one month at a time.

Two orders are set to expire this month, including one that impacts school board staffing.

Orders restricting gatherings and regulating businesses and restaurants as part of the staged reopening plan remain in place, as do several orders around staffing in long-term care, retirement homes and congregate settings.

Ontario reports 76 new COVID-19 cases on August 20

Provincial public health officials confirmed 76 new cases of COVID-19 on August 20. However, a technical glitch caused a problem with today’s numbers.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said an “issue” with the province’s Integrated Public Health Information System means 11 public health units did not report daily cases.

“These 11 units reported a total of eight cases yesterday and while not a direct proxy for today it’s an indication of how many cases may be under-reported,” she said.

“This glitch is another reminder of why it’s so important that we replace the outdated iPHIS with our custom-built COVID-19 system,” she added. “We’re making great progress: in fact, all 11 impacted units are transitioning to the new system today, at which point 31 of 34 PHUs will be using it.”

The 11 units not counted are: Algoma, Brant County, Chatham-Kent, City of Hamilton, Niagara Region, Peterborough, Simcoe Muskoka District, Southwestern, Sudbury & Districts, Timiskaming and Windsor-Essex County.

The lower number comes after Ontario reported daily increases of more than 100 over the past two days.

More than half of today’s new COVID-19 infections are in Toronto (21) and Peel Region (19).

There was one new death since yesterday.

Medical labs processed nearly 26,000 tests in the past 24 hours and 76 more cases are resolved.

On Wednesday, Toronto city officials warned younger people to be more cautious in following public health protocols. The average age of positive cases is now 39 years old.

The proportion of COVID-19 infections in Toronto among people under age 19 and those between 20 and 29 has “increased significantly in the last few weeks,” Mayor John Tory said.

Today, 51 of Ontario’s 76 lab-confirmed new COVID-19 were people under age 40.


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