Ontario reports new 653 COVID-19 cases as public health restrictions take effect

Ontario reported 653 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday as new measures to slow the virus take effect in three provincial hot spots.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said a number of Saturday’s cases and deaths occurred in the spring or summer but are being reported now due to a data review by Toronto Public Health.

Saturday’s numbers are largely concentrated in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa, which reported 284, 104 and 97 new cases, respectively. 

To tackle a recent surge in those three regions, the province announced new public health restrictions on Friday that come into effect on Saturday. 

Restaurants, bars, banquet halls and gyms in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region now all face restrictions on their operations. 

No more than 100 customers will be allowed in restaurants and no more than six people will be permitted at a table.

Restaurants will also be required to collect contact information from all patrons to bolster contact tracing.

Group exercise classes at gyms will be limited to 10 people and the total number of people in fitness settings will be limited to 50.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of community, commercial and hospital labs processed 46,300 novel coronavirus test samples on Friday, the highest number of tests processed on a single day since the outbreak began in late January, the ministry said. 

The province’s testing backlog, however, has grown to a record-high of 91,322. 

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