Published Monday, November 23, 2020 10:16AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 23, 2020 11:15AM EST
The Ministry of Health says that there were 1,589 new instances of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus confirmed on Sunday as we all as another 19 deaths, 11 of which involved residents of long-term care facilities.
It is a new record caseload for any single 24-hour period, just barely topping the previous high of 1,588 that was reported on Saturday. It also represent a more sizeable increase on the 1,487 new cases that were reported last Monday.
The latest positive cases came on just 37,471 tests, repeating a trend that typically sees the province report fewer results at the beginning of the week due to a drop off in testing over the weekend.
The positivity percentage over the last 24 hours was 4.6 per cent. It is the highest that number has been since last Tuesday.
The vast majority of the new cases do continue to be clustered in Peel (535 cases), Toronto (336 new cases) and York (205 new cases) with those three regions accounting for more than two-thirds of all new infections.
But the transmission of the virus does seem to be accelerating in communities across Ontario, as officials have warned.
On Monday there were 83 new cases reported in Waterloo, as the region officially moved into the red zone in Ontario’s COVID-19 framework. There was also another 41 new cases in Durham, 53 in Halton and 61 in Hamilton.
“The main thing people can do now is please stay home,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told CP24 on Monday morning. “It matters less in the context of achieving the result which kind of stores are closed and not closed. It matters more whether people decide to follow the advice, which is if it is at all possible just stay home.”
Modelling had warned of higher case counts by now
Modelling released earlier this month had warned that Ontario could see about 2,000 to 2,500 cases a day by this point en-route to 3,500 to 6,500 daily cases by mid-December but it would appear that we have fallen off that pace somewhat.
There are, however, still alarming indicators that point to challenging days on the horizon.
There are now 156 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment in the ICU and some hospitals have already had to cancel some elective surgeries and procedures to accommodate the influx.
Deaths are also steadily increasing after lagging behind the rise in case counts for months.
Over the last seven days an average of 19 COVID patients have died each day, up slightly from this time last week when the seven-day average was 18.
If there is reason for optimism, it comes in the form of encouraging news on the vaccine development front.
On Monday morning AstraZeneca reported that its vaccine appeared to be up to 90 per cent effective in late-stage trials. Moderna Inc. and Pfizer have also reported that their vaccines are more than 90 per cent effective with the latter having recently applied for emergency use authorization from U.S. officials.
“With these vaccine studies it is great news and it is always OK to take a stop along the way and smell the roses and a have a small celebration but we have to stay the course,” infectious diseases expert Dr. Issac Bogoch told CP24 on Monday, prior to the release of the latest numbers. “Our masks, our distancing, our hand sanitization, getting vaccinated for the flu. Just continue to adhere to these public health measures and it is clear that things are going to get better and better and better but we are not there yet. So just double down, hold the fortress, continue to practice our public health measures and we will be ok. We really will.”