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Ontario reports almost 2,000 new COVID-19 cases over last 2 days

Ontario reports 1868 new COVID-19 cases as stay-at-home order lifts in 27 public health units

"Legislating paid sick days is a common sense action that public health officials, mayors, and workers' advocates all agree is essential to curbing the spread of COVID-19", said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President.

"Many, numerous experts that are advising the government are saying publicly that they think we're reopening too fast and that the proper measures are not in place to prevent the third wave", she said.

The two provinces driving Canada's overall COVID-19 numbers are in a much better place than they were just a few weeks ago.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said over 27,000 tests were completed on Monday, and 30,400 were completed on Sunday.

But at a subsequent news conference at Queen's Park, Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe conceded that are not yet specific thresholds for when officials might consider using the mechanism. In total, the province has recorded 6,719 deaths related to the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

The province did not release new case numbers on Monday due to Family Day.

The Director General of the World Health Organization says the number of new weekly cases around the world since the beginning of the year has dropped by half.

The province said 742 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, with 292 in intensive care and 201 on ventilators.

The Ontario government is still working on drafting specific "triggers" for when the so-called emergency brake can be invoked, despite the recent lifting of the stay-at-home order and the reopening of businesses in many parts of the province.

"That's why right now the public health lab is actually ... testing every single positive case of COVID-19 now for (genome) sequencing", Yaffe said Tuesday.

Ontario reported 309 cumulative cases of the United Kingdom variant, nine cases of the South African variant, including an outbreak at one Mississauga condo identified over the weekend, and one case of the Brazilian variant that was confirmed in Toronto.

"I wouldn't call it reopening, I'd call it transitioning", said Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday.

The stay-at-home order will stay in effect in Toronto, Peel and York Region until February 22, the regions will likely be place in the "Grey-Zone" of the province's colour-tiered framework.