TORONTO -- Ontario health officials reported a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province, with a majority in the Windsor-Essex region.

An additional 257 new infections were confirmed on Monday, up from 178 reported on Sunday, 160 reported on Saturday and 111 on Friday.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott announced on Monday that 177 of the new cases were from the Windsor-Essex region and 80 new cases were from the rest of the province, including 40 in Peel Region.

Twenty-one of Ontario’s 34 public health units reported no cases of the disease.

“After extensive testing this weekend of temporary workers in Southwestern Ontario, the province is reporting 177 new cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex, with another 80 new cases across the rest of the province,” the minister said in a statement.

“Following some initial challenges with testing in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, these numbers reflect the implementation of our three-point plan to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 on farms.”

The province also confirmed an additional seven COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the province to 2,665.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the province stands at 34,911, with 30,196 of the cases now recovered, health officials said.

Of the 2,665 people who have died after contracting COVID-19, 11 were between the ages of 20 and 39, 104 were between the ages of 50 and 59, and 710 were between 60 and 79 years old.

One person under the age of 19 has also died.

Those over the age of 79 were the hardest hit demographic, with 1,839 deaths recorded.

At the same time, of the new COVID-19 cases confirmed on Sunday, the majority of patients were between the ages of 20 and 39.

Health officials say that 182 of the 257 COVID-19 positive patients were within that age group, while 48 were between the ages of 40 and 59. Only 9 were over the age of 79.

Two hundred and thirty two people are currently in the hospital with COVID-19, including 46 patients who are in the intensive care unit (ICU). Of the patients in the ICU, 35 are breathing with a ventilator.

COVID-19 testing in Ontario

In the last 24 hours, 27,127 COVID-19 tests were processed, a very slight decrease from yesterday’s 28,633.

“We have been testing broadly in Ontario over the past two weeks,” Dr. Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s Chief Coroner and Executive Lead of COVID-19 testing, said at a news conference on Monday.

“The good news is that our numbers have not been going up. We’ve done a substantial number of tests for people who are symptomatic or people who feel they may be at risk of the infection of COVID-19 and we have not seen our positivity rate go up.”

Officials have conducted more than 1.3 million tests since the pandemic was declared.

More than 16,000 test samples remain under investigation.