Ontario reports fewer than 500 new COVID-19 cases

Ontario is reporting 469 new COVID-19 cases and 18 additional deaths on Tuesday.

By BT Toronto

Ontario is reporting 469 new COVID-19 cases and 18 additional deaths on Tuesday.

For the second straight day the province sees the smallest daily increase of new infections since September. There have been fewer than 1,000 cases for nine consecutive days and it is the first time Ontario has reported fewer than 500 new cases since Sep. 26.

The province is reporting a test positivity rate of 2.7 per cent, down from 3.6 per cent one week ago. It is the lowest positivity rate since March 12.

There were 17,579 tests completed in the last 24-hour period.

Locally, there are 182 new cases in Toronto, 76 in Peel, 40 in the Porcupine Health Unit Region and 30 in Durham. The province reports no new cases for York Region but says this is due to data cleaning and updating of previously reported cases.

There were another 1,010 resolved cases, dropping the active case count. Resolved cases have outnumbered new infections each day since mid-April.

The province reported 525 cases and 15 deaths on Monday.

There are now 621 people hospitalized in the province with 481 in the ICU. Hospitalizations are down nearly 200 since one week ago while ICU numbers have dropped more than 100 in the last week.

There were another 158,209 vaccine doses administered in the last 24-hour period.

As of 8:00 p.m. Monday, 10,267,613 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and 70.3 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received at least one dose, while 9.1 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated.

More Ontarians are eligible to book their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine through the provincial system this week.

Those aged 70 and older, as well as people who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before April 18, can now book their second shot at mass immunization clinics on the province’s online booking portal or through its phone line.

AstraZeneca recipients who received the shot more than 12 weeks ago can also book an mRNA second dose through the provincial system.

Before Step 2 of the reopening plan can begin, the province has outlined that 70 per cent of Ontario adults need to have received at least one dose, and 20 per cent need to have received both doses.

The first dose mark of 70 per cent has already been met and the province hopes the acceleration of second doses will help meet the 20 per cent.

Ontario has announced that it will lift some pandemic restrictions and enter Step 1 of its economic reopening plan on Friday; a few days ahead of schedule.

The move will allow for patio dining at a maximum of four patrons per table and limited non-essential retail shopping to resume at 15 per cent capacity ahead of the upcoming weekend.

The reopening of non-essential retail is street entrance only and stores located inside of malls without a street entrance will reopen to the public in Step 2, now slated for July 2. Personal care services are also set to reopen as part of Step 2.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), representing over 90,000 small businesses in Ontario, says they’re elated to finally get back to normal operations as of Friday.

The President of the CFIB is calling for the province to accelerate through the next stages of its reopening plan, which in its current state will lift restrictions further every three weeks depending on the pandemic situation and status of vaccinations at the time.

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