Ontario reports 904 COVID-19 cases

Over the last week, variants of concern have grown from only five cases to 45 in Peel Region. We also have 9 confirmed cases of the United Kingdom variant that originated in South Africa and 1 that originated from Brazil. That makes 29 additional B.1.1.7 variant cases compared to a day ago. These cases are undergoing genomic sequencing to confirm and identify which variant they are.

In-person learning will begin in Toronto, Peel Region and York Region today, reports CP24.

"But if we let loose, we are going to see another pandemic wave and possibly worse", Yaffe said.

"We're transitioning. We're transitioning into the framework that was laid out by the health team. and we won't hesitate to pull on the brakes at any given time".

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Tuesday that new measures - including expansion of an asymptomatic testing initiative, stricter masking rules for younger students and a COVID-19 screening form - should help keep cases low in the province's schools.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown echoes Loh's remarks and says the city has to be "diligent" as variants of concern continue to surface across the region.

"We feel that for their mental health, their social development and their overall education, they really need to go back (to school)", the Toronto mother said.

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There were 904 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 1,012 resolved infections.

On Jan. 14, the province also enacted a provincewide stay-at-home order urging residents to only leave their homes for essential purposes, including work, medical reasons, buying groceries and exercising.

The rest of the regions, majority outside the Greater Toronto Area, fall elsewhere along the scale that moves from red - the second-most strict level - through green, with lighter restrictions on businesses and gatherings at each stage.

Niagara Region is the only region in the grey-lockdown zone - the most strict level - which allows most businesses to open at 25 per cent capacity.

On Wednesday at Queen's Park, Ford said when the COVID-19 hot spots reopen it will be done "very cautiously".

The boards, ministry and local health units will have input on the schools selected for testing. 27 public-health units will return to the province's COVID-19 colour-coded tiered ranking system, while Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, and North Bay Parry Sound are set to remain under the stay-at-home order until at least February 22. Testing is typically down in days following a weekend.

Loh added that right now is crucial to monitor transmission in schools and across the broader community to avoid a potential third wave.

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