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Ford speaks as Ontario reports 313 new cases of COVID-19, highest number since early June

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is holding his daily COVID-19 briefing beginning at 1:30 p.m.

You can watch it live in the player above.

Ontario is reporting 313 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday — the highest daily case count since early June.

Cases have been on an upswing since mid-August, with numbers above 200 since Sept. 12. 

On Sunday, the province confirmed 204 cases. Monday’s number represents a more than 50 per cent increase. 

According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, 67 per cent of the new cases are among people under age 40. 

Ontario is also reporting one new death on Monday, and the official pandemic death toll is 2,816. By contacting local public health units for the most up-to-date information, CBC News has counted a total of 2,855 deaths.

Of Ontario’s 44,817 COVID-19 cases, 39,974 are considered resolved.

Could high infection rates spread from urban to rural?

The bulk of the cases come from three hard-hit areas — Toronto, Peel and Ottawa — but the head of the Ontario Hospital Association is warning accelerating infection rates could spread to the rest of Ontario if people don’t respect public health guidelines.

OHA president Anthony Dale says residents must practise physical distancing, wear masks when required, and neither host nor attend unsafe gatherings and parties.

He says some people have been lulled into a false sense of security by case numbers that had been decreasing last month — reaching their lowest point in early August, with just 33 cases reported in a single day. 

Dale also said that increasing COVID-19 case rates could lead to another provincial lockdown.

Last Monday, the province announced a four-week pause on any further relaxing of pandemic restrictions.

Cases identified in several schools

The overall increase in cases comes as several cases have popped up in Ontario schools. 

In Durham Region, one person tested positive after spending time inside Maple Ridge Public School. 

“The individual is asymptomatic, wore a mask while in the building and physically distanced from others while at school,” wrote Maple Ridge principal Jonathan Ross in a letter to parents. 

Peel District School Board has also seen a case, at Louise Arbour Secondary School.

Ontario is reporting 313 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, about one-third of them in Toronto. (CBC)

The Halton District School Board posted on Sunday that someone at Brant Hills Public School has the virus. On Monday, the board confirmed that the infected person is a student. 

A case has also come to light at an elementary school in Haldimand County. 

Ford to face questions at Queen’s Park

Worry had already been mounting about Ontario’s increasing case numbers, with a senior provincial official telling CBC News that there is “a growing sense of concern” in the government and among public health leaders.

The Ontario legislature sits Monday for the first time since June 21, giving opposition parties the chance to question Premier Doug Ford’s approach to the pandemic. 

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