TORONTO -- Ontario is reporting the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks.

Health officials reported 1,299 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, which is a sharp increase from the 990 cases reported on Saturday.

It's the highest number of new infections in a single day since Feb. 13, when 1,300 new cases were logged.

Ontario also reported an increase in the number of COVID-19-related fatalities in the previous 24-hour period, with 15 deaths added.

With 46,586 tests completed in the previous 24-hour period, Ontario’s positivity rate also increased to 3.1 per cent. 

Health officials also deemed 1,105 more cases of the disease to be resolved, bringing Ontario's number of recovered patients up to 290,840

Sunday's case count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 308,296, including deaths and recoveries.

Toronto reported 329 new cases on Sunday, while Peel Region reported 192 new cases and York Region reported 116 new cases.

According to the province, there are at least 606 patients infected with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals as of Sunday. Of those patients, 273 are in the intensive care unit (ICU) and 179 of those 273 patients are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

The increase in cases comes a day before Toronto and Peel Region are set to move into the grey zone of the province's colour-coded framework, which means all non-essential retail stores can reopen with strict capacity limits.

Variants of concern in Ontario

Health officials confirmed Sunday that two more cases of the U.K. variant, also known as B.1.1.7, have been found in Ontario, bringing the province’s total count to 828.

There is now a total of 31 confirmed cases of the South African variant, known as B.1.351.

Five new cases of the Brazilian variant, known as P.1, were recorded Sunday, pushing the province's total infection count at eight.

Meanwhile, 890,604 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario thus far, including 30,192 administered in the previous day.

In Ontario, 271,807 total vaccinations have been completed as of Sunday.


The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.