Ontario reports 401 COVID-19 cases, Toronto’s spike traced back to Labour Day Weekend

The province reports the highest number of cases since early June and the TDSB confirms the first case in a student

Ontario public health officials reported more than 400 new COVID-19 cases for the first time since early June.

On September 18, the province confirmed a single-day increase of 401 infections. That’s the highest daily rise this week and the highest number since June 2 when Ontario reported 446 cases.

Ontario had 293 new infections on Thursday, 315 recorded on Wednesday, 251 on Tuesday and 313 on Monday.

Labs in the province completed more than 35,800 tests in the past 24 hours.

“Locally, there are 130 new cases in Toronto with 82 in Peel and 61 in Ottawa,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “Sixty-seven per cent of today’s new cases are in people under the age of 40.

“Hospitalizations remain stable with small declines in both ICU admissions and the number of patients on ventilators,” she added.

Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region continue to be hot spots for new infections.

As cases continue rise, Premier Doug Ford announced new restrictions on gathering limits and steep fines in those regions.

Effective today, the capacity for indoor gatherings went down to 10 from 50 and outdoor gatherings dropped to 25 from 100. Organizers of gatherings that break the rules will be hit with a $10,000 fine.

The surge in new cases comes amid reports of long lineups at testing centres and as schools across the province reopen.

A spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) told CTV News that a student has tested positive for COVID-19. The student is enrolled at York Memorial Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke.

Ryan Bird said the student “very briefly” visited the school earlier in the week, but did not attend class on Thursday.

There are seven other COVID-19 cases throughout the school board, all in staff members.

To date, there have been 46,077 COVID-19 cases in Ontario, including 40,600 resolved cases – up by 176 since yesterday – and 2,825 deaths.

The sources of Toronto’s new COVID-19 cases

On Friday afternoon, Toronto Public Health (TPH) said today’s infections occurred as far as two weeks ago, a period that covers Labour Day Weekend.

The “new COVID-19 infections are widely spread across the city, indicated by new cases confirmed in neighbourhoods across Toronto,” the city said in a statement.

Officials believe end of summer socializing over the long weekend has driven up new cases. TPH also suggests the increase infections are traced to people in bars and nightclubs.

To date, 50 per cent of Toronto’s cases are due to close contacts, meaning the virus was spread from someone known to have COVID-19.

“Close contact includes exposure from family members, at social events, in workplaces, and other occasions when people are not physically distancing,” the city said. “Close contact carries greater risk anywhere that masks are not being worn and physical distancing is not happening, and in places where people let their guard down.”

Another 20 per cent of cases are from community transmission, meaning the source of the infection is not known.

There has also been an increase in cases linked to travel: Between August 2 and September 13, 13.4 per cent of cases were acquired through travel, including many cases linked to travel within Canada.

TPH expects new cases to continue to rise in the coming weeks.

New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on September 18

The following regions in Ontario reported five or more COVID-19 cases: 

Toronto =130

Peel Region = 82

Ottawa = 61

York Region = 40

Halton Region = 19

Middlesex-London = 12

Simcoe Muskoka = 10

City of Waterloo = 9

Niagara Region = 8

Durham Region = 8

City of Hamilton = 5

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 5

This story has been updated


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