Ontario reports 827 new coronavirus cases, test positivity rate rises above 3 per cent

Ontario health officials reported 827 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the rate of testing in the province continued its fall to new multi-month lows.

“Locally, there are 355 new cases in Toronto, 169 in Peel, 89 in York Region and 58 in Ottawa,” Health Minister Christine Elliott wrote on Twitter.

The province reported 851 new cases on Monday, a record-setting 1,042 on Sunday and 978 on Saturday.

She said provincial labs processed only 23,900 specimens in the past 24 hours, roughly half of their peak capacity and more than 4,000 fewer than what was processed in the previous 24-hour period.

The results generated a test positivity rate of at least 3.46 per cent.

The positivity rate hovered in the low to mid two per cent range on several previous days.

Ontario moved to appointment-only testing in early October, and barred anyone without symptoms from seeking testing outside of a pharmacy back in September.

These measures were cited as reasons why fewer people have sought testing in recent weeks.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said the province really needs to see an improvement in the rate of spread of the virus this week to know if the restrictions imposed on most of the GTA and Ottawa are having any real impact.

“If the policy is actually going to be doing something, we would see that play out this week.”

Elliott said 691 people recovered from infection on Tuesday, meaning the number of active infections increased by as much as 136.