Ontario reported 797 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, a single-day record high for the province.
Along with the record number of new cases, the province says it completed 48,488 new tests in the last 24 hour period – which is also a record high.
The testing backlog now sits at just over 58,000.
The previous daily high was 732 on October 2 – which included previous spring/summer cases from a data cleanup by Toronto Public Health.
Thursday marks the 11th straight day the daily case count has exceeded 500.
Toronto remains the virus hotspot, with 265 new cases, followed by 182 in Ottawa, 134 in Peel and 78 in York Region.
Provincial officials say 57 per cent of the new cases are in people under the age of 40.
The total number of cases in the province stands at 56,742 with 85 per cent of those infected having recovered.
A total of four more deaths were recorded, bringing the provincial total to 2,992.
Hospitalizations have climbed to over 200 for the first time since late June-early July. According to provincial data, 206 people are in hospital with 47 patients in the ICU and 20 of those are on ventilators.
The province also reported 100 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 51 among students.
Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 415 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said hundreds more people will be hired to help with contact tracing. At a news conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ford also pointed to efforts to increase testing capacity.
He said the province is getting closer to the goal of 50,000 tests daily.
Ontario is also bringing in measures to tackle a backlog of tests. At some assessment sites, tests will no longer be offered to people without symptoms.
Watch: Advocates voice concerns about unequal access to COVID-19 testing
The Ontario Hospital Association says it is in talks with the government on ways to increase capacity including setting up field hospitals, using hotel rooms for patients and taking over space in long-term care homes.
The group also says it continues to push the government to shut down non-essential businesses in COVID-19 hotspots as the province’s daily case counts hit record highs.
Association President Anthony Dale says hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have been creeping up and the government needs to take preventative action.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says the government is discussing hospital capacity challenges with the association and hasn’t ruled out taking additional action, including targeted shutdowns.
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