Ontario reports 658 new cases of COVID-19, down from Saturday’s 805 cases

Ontario reported 658 new cases of COVID-19 and five new deaths related to the virus Sunday, as another region prepared to join three hot spots in reverting to stricter pandemic protocols.

The latest figures were down from the 805 new cases and 10 new deaths posted Saturday, when York Region's public health unit imposed tighter restrictions on local long-term care homes after an upward trend in COVID-19 cases there.

The area north of Toronto will also join the COVID-19 hot spots of Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa in moving back to a modified Stage 2 of pandemic recovery measures on Monday.

The reimposed restrictions include the closure of gyms and movie theatres, and a ban on indoor dining in restaurants or bars. Public gatherings will also be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa reverted to a modified Stage 2 on Oct. 10, a day after the province posted a single-day record of 939 new COVID-19 diagnoses.

The new spike in cases has prompted some restaurants near the hot spots in southern Ontario to bar out-of-town customers from indoor dining.

Ramshackle Industries, which owns four restaurants and bars in Stratford, Ont., is among the establishments that have made the move.

Owner Jessie Votary says tourists are a "huge part" of their customer base and the decision is hard on their bottom line, but the safety of employees had to come first.

The province said 197 of Sunday's new cases were in Toronto, 155 in Peel Region, 94 in York Region and 66 in Ottawa.

The numbers came from nearly 40,900 completed tests, down from 44,700 the day before.

Ontario now has a total of 64,371 cases of COVID-19, including 55,371 that are considered resolved and 3,046 deaths.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2020.

The Canadian Press