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Ontario reports record test positivity rate, nearly 4,500 new COVID-19 cases

Last Updated Apr 19, 2021 at 12:02 pm PDT

Ontario is reporting 4,447 new COVID-19 cases and 19 additional deaths on Monday.

The province is also reporting a record test positivity rate of 10.5 per cent, up from the 9.2 per cent a day ago. The previous record of 10.3 per cent came on Tuesday last week.

Locally, there are 1,299 new cases in Toronto, 926 in Peel, 577 in York Region, 233 in Ottawa and 227 in Hamilton.

The province reported 4,250 cases and 18 deaths on Sunday.

The rolling seven-day average of cases is up to 4,347. That number is up more than 500 cases from one week ago.

Peel chief medical officer of health says the strain on the health care system is unlike anything Ontario has seen in its history.

“I think our current situation is critical,” says Dr. Lawrence Loh. “You’ve got people in ICU who are being transferred hundreds of kilometres away, you’ve got every single surgery cancelled.”

There are now 2,202 people hospitalized in the province due to COVID-19 with 755 in the ICU. Both numbers are records since the start of the pandemic.

The federal government announced on Sunday it was mobilizing its own resources and co-ordinating with lesser-hit provinces to send health-care workers and other support to help Ontario as it battles record-breaking COVID-19 numbers.

According to the latest provincial numbers, there are 2,467 additional cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and four additional cases of the P.1 variant first detected in Brazil.

There are now 36,579 cumulative cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, 211 cases of the P.1 variant and 104 cases of the B.1.351 variant.

There were 66,897 vaccine doses administered in the last 24 hour period.

As of 8:00 p.m. Sunday, 3,904,778 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

Ontario will start offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 40 and over on Tuesday, the province announced Sunday following days of mounting pressure to lower the minimum age.

The province had previously stuck to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendation to only offer the AstraZeneca shot to those 55 and over due to a slightly elevated risk of an extremely rare blood clot disorder.

RELATED: Drop-in COVID-19 testing available at 5 Toronto sites today

Students across Ontario returned to the virtual classroom on Monday as school buildings remain shuttered following the spring break.

The provincial government announced the move to remote learning early last week as it dealt with a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

In addition, effective Monday, the government is limiting the capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors.

As part of the Ford government’s enhanced stay-at-home measures, non-essential travel into Ontario from Manitoba and Quebec is restricted and a person may be stopped by police who may ask questions as to their purpose for coming into the province.

Ottawa police say they plan to start enforcing the restrictions on interprovincial travel at the Ontario-Quebec border on Monday but for the time being, there are no plans to issue fines to anyone trying to enter the province.