Coronavirus Canada updates: Cases continue to rise in Ontario’s Windsor-Essex

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Premier Doug Ford announced on Saturday that the entire province of Ontario will now have to abide by new restrictions, which limit gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors for the next 28 days. The restrictions were first put in place for Toronto, Peel and Ottawa on Friday, but have now been extended after the province recorded 407 new cases on Saturday — the most in a 24-hour stretch since June 2. It also comes a day after Ontario recorded 402 cases. Previously, gathering limits were set at 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. “Folks, the alarm bells are ringing,” said Ford on Saturday. “Too much of it is being tied to people who aren’t following the rules, people who think it's OK to hold parties, carrying on as if things are back to normal. They aren't. ... We can't have these wild parties right now. It's just way, way too risky.” For those who organize a gathering that exceeds the new limit, they can face a minimum fine of $10,000 under the current emergency orders. If you're caught going to one of these parties, “you can get slapped with a $750 fine,” said Ford. These new restrictions do not apply to events held in facilities such as movie theatres, restaurants, banquet halls, places of worship, gyms, or convention centers.
Premier Doug Ford announced on Saturday that the entire province of Ontario will now have to abide by new restrictions, which limit gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors for the next 28 days. The restrictions were first put in place for Toronto, Peel and Ottawa on Friday, but have now been extended after the province recorded 407 new cases on Saturday — the most in a 24-hour stretch since June 2. It also comes a day after Ontario recorded 402 cases. Previously, gathering limits were set at 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. “Folks, the alarm bells are ringing,” said Ford on Saturday. “Too much of it is being tied to people who aren’t following the rules, people who think it's OK to hold parties, carrying on as if things are back to normal. They aren't. ... We can't have these wild parties right now. It's just way, way too risky.” For those who organize a gathering that exceeds the new limit, they can face a minimum fine of $10,000 under the current emergency orders. If you're caught going to one of these parties, “you can get slapped with a $750 fine,” said Ford. These new restrictions do not apply to events held in facilities such as movie theatres, restaurants, banquet halls, places of worship, gyms, or convention centers.

Ontario has reported 166 new cases, two fatalities and 132 resolved cases in its latest 24-hour stretch.

The 166 patients are the most the Ministry of Health has reported since July 9. They were identified after 28,849 tests for COVID-19 were completed, which is above its current seven-day average of 24,806.

Sixty-eight of those patients were identified in public health units in the Greater Toronto Area. Forty-seven of the patients were diagnosed in the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, which continues to face agri-farm outbreaks with 41 of the recent cases in that sector.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has now surpassed the Toronto Public Health Unit for the highest infection rate in Ontario, according to the Ministry of Health. They are now 450.1 cases per 100,000 people in Windsor-Essex, compared to 443.9 in Toronto, while the average rate in Ontario is 251.9.

Out of Windsor-Essex’s 1,926 cases throughout the pandemic, 855 of them are part of the agri-farm sector, according to local health authorities.

Many of the infections are among migrant workers, who have been subject to inadequate living and working conditions. Two of the three migrant workers who have died in Ontario throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were in the Windsor-Essex region.

As of Saturday, there are six agriculture workplace outbreaks — four in Kingsville, two in Leamington — in the region. On July 7, Kingsville and Leamington in Essex County were the final two areas to make the transition to Stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan.

According to the Windsor Star, there’s also recently been an increase in community spread in Windsor-Essex. Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed attributed the uptick to the area’s denser population, as well as the increase in people who have been gathering at businesses.

Windsor-Essex was one of 10 regions that was not allowed to enter Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan on Friday.

Throughout the pandemic in Ontario, there have been 37,440 cases of COVID-19, which includes 33,294 people who have recovered and 2,748 victims. There remain 1,398 active cases, which is up by 32 since Friday.

Of the active cases, there are 105 people in hospital (down by three), which includes 33 in intensive care (up by three) and 22 who require a ventilator (up by one).

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 17 active outbreaks around the province in facilities. Thirty-nine active cases remain among residents (down by three) and there are 63 among staff (up by one).

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