Ontario reviews 1,747 new COVID-19 instances, 15 new deaths

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Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford says the province is making “steady progress on our vaccination schedule” as Sunday saw the highest daily COVID-19 case count since February 7.

The Prime Minister, along with Health Secretary Christine Elliott, Attorney General Sylvia Jones and General Rick Hillier, said the province is on track to deliver 150,000 vaccines a day.

“Our total capacity in a month is 4.8 million,” said Ford, noting the province only received about 1.4 million vaccines in March.

“We’re making steady progress,” he said, “we just need more vaccines.”

On Sunday morning, the province reported 1,747 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 as well as 15 new deaths on Sunday. That number includes 545 new cases in Toronto, 352 cases in the Peel Region, and 163 new cases in the York Region.

With the exception of March 8, when a data issue caused the number of cases to artificially increase by about 300 cases, the number that morning is the highest in a single day since February 7. However, Health Minister Christine Elliott said today’s number is inflated due to a data error in the provincial system.

“There was a data error so cases seem higher than normal,” she said. “We assume that there will actually be several hundred fewer cases.”

The 7-day average of daily cases – which helps clarify long-term trends in the data – rose to 1,337 on Saturday, which is eight consecutive days of that number increasing.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday, the province had administered 1,158,355 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Sunday that there are currently 31,224 active cases across the country and a national seven-day average of 3,052 new cases per day on March 11th.

“Although COVID-19 activity has been slowing nationally for a few weeks now, the average daily case numbers remain high and we are now seeing a recent surge,” she said in a statement.

It also found that a total of 2,986 variants of concern had been reported in Canada as of March 11, including 2,728 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the UK, 215 cases of the B.1.351 variant found in South Africa were discovered and 43 cases of the P.1 variant first discovered in Brazil.

“As vaccination programs begin to accelerate, it will be important to use a great deal of caution,” she said. “Any relaxation of public health policies must come slowly with improved testing, screenings and genomic analysis to identify worrying variants.”

Vaccine booking system goes live on Monday

According to a press release, the provincial booking system and support should go into operation on Monday at 8 a.m.

People aged 80 and over can make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have to take care of our elderly first,” said Ford.

If you have a red and white health card or need help booking an appointment, the province calls the information number at 1-888-999-6488. Please note that on Monday, March 15th, the line will not be operational until 8 a.m.

To reduce the high volume of traffic, the province is asking people who are not yet eligible for the vaccine to avoid calling the line or clogging the online system.

General Hillier expects the province to have vaccinated everyone aged 80 and over by early April. From then on, the system will be open to bookings aged 75 and over.

“Hopefully in early April,” he said.