Premier Doug Ford says Ontario and the federal government will be working together in the coming months to achieve a surge testing capacity of 78,000 COVID-19 tests per day.
Ford makes the commitment in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlining how Ontario plans to use its $7-billion portion of the $19-billion Safe Restart Agreement reached over the summer.
The premier says the surge testing will fulfil Ontario’s per capita share of the federal national testing commitment.
Ford also says in the letter that Ontario is committed to regularly administering 50,000 tests per day by the fall.
The letter says Ontario’s current testing levels are around 25,000 a day.
Ford is expected to unveil a new strategy later this week to address a possible second wave of COVID-19.
Ontario reported 315 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and two new deaths from the virus. There were also 154 cases marked as resolved over the past 24 hours.
The total number of cases in Ontario now stands at 45,383, which includes 2,822 deaths and 40,245 cases classified as resolved.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 25 public health units were reporting five or fewer cases. She said 77 new cases were reported in Toronto, 61 in Ottawa and 54 in Peel Region.
The province said it processed 28,761 tests over the previous 24 hours.
A dozen new COVID-19 cases were reported in schools, including six students, four staff, and two individuals who were not identified.
Meanwhile, Ford’s office said Wednesday that the government will lower the limits on social gatherings in a bid to stem a recent increase in COVID-19 cases.
The current limit on social gatherings is 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors.
Provincial health officials have attributed the spike in cases largely to people not following public health guidelines at social gatherings.
Ford has promised to take action in the regions where most of the cases have emerged — Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa.
He has also not ruled out further lockdowns in those areas if virus case numbers aren’t brought under control.
© The Canadian Press