Ontario reports 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 as government expands inspection blitz

COVID-19 testing

TORONTO — Ontario is reporting 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 today and 52 more deaths related to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 708 new cases in Toronto, 422 in Peel Region, and 220 in York Region.

She says there are also 107 more cases in Hamilton and 101 in Ottawa.

Nearly 63,500 tests have been completed in Ontario over the past 24 hours.

The province is reporting that 11,161 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province’s last report.

A total of 276,146 doses have been administered in Ontario so far.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 252,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario. Of those, 222,287 have recovered and 5,753 people have died.

Saturday’s numbers were down from Friday’s figures of 2,662 new cases and 87 more deaths.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government has announced it’s expanding its “inspection blitz” of big-box stores to ensure they’re following COVID-19 guidelines this weekend.

The workplace inspections, which started in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, will now stretch out to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham regions.

Officials want to ensure workers and customers at the essential businesses are properly protected from COVID-19 during the provincewide shutdown.

The blitz was developed in consultation with local health units and also includes a variety of other workplaces, including retail establishments and restaurants providing take-out meals.

The province’s labour ministry says more than 300 offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will conduct the inspections.

Corporations can now be fined $1,000, and individuals can be fined $750 or charged for failing to comply with the orders.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province is confident that the majority of workplaces in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham are following orders.

“However, if we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action,” McNaughton added in a statement Saturday.

“The only way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and end the provincewide shutdown is for everyone — owners, customers and staff alike — to follow the proper guidelines.”