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Ontario confirms 149 new cases of COVID-19 as number of tests decline

Last Updated Sep 9, 2020 at 5:18 pm EDT

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Ontario confirmed 149 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, a drop from the 185 cases reported Tuesday.

However, the province also fell short of its goal of 20,000 daily tests, completing 17,600 tests in the previous 24 hour period. That was the first time since August 24 provincial labs failed to process more than 20,000 tests.

The most new cases are in Toronto (50), followed by Peel (41) and Ottawa (16).

After Premier Doug Ford focused in on a significant amount parties continually taking place in Brampton, mayor Patrick Brown says while those events are concerning, no parties have exceeded the provincial limit of 100 for an outdoor gathering. He called that a “a bit of a head scratcher,” especially in the face of rising case counts.

“I understand this past weekend, for example, that bylaw was out and we heard complaints about social gatherings but none of them were over the provincial limit. The largest one was 89 people,” Brown said Wednesday. “From my personal perspective 89 people seems high.”

“GTHA mayors have advocated for a regional approach and certainly if we continue to see numbers creep up, I would welcome the provincial government curtailing those numbers,” Brown added.

Ford said if Brown – or any municipality – want to change those numbers, they don’t have to wait for him to do so.

“All 34 chief medical officers of health can change those rules under Section 22 of the Health Act and I encourage them,” said Ford. “I don’t mean to call Toronto or Ottawa or Brampton out, it’s just that’s where the cases are. If they want to roll them back from 100, they have the authority to do that – they know they have the authority to do it.”

“You’re the mayors, make a decision,” he said. “We’ll support you. But to say that I’m going to close the whole province, it’s unacceptable. I wouldn’t close the whole province when … 16 regions don’t have one single case. It’s not fair to the rest of the province.”

In a tweet, Minister of Health Christine Elliott noted that 28 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases with 21 reporting no new cases.

On Tuesday the province announced that it would delay any further loosening of restrictions for a one-month period in response to a slow but steady climb in COVID-19 cases, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area.

Elliott called the climb, which coincides with the start of the new school year, “disturbing” and reminded citizens to remain vigiliant.

There are now a total of 43,685 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, with 90 per cent considered resolved. There were no additional deaths reported on Wednesday, leaving the death toll at 2,813.

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