The Ontario government is providing $1.2 billion in new money to help the province’s hospitals. The announcement comes as the rolling 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases hits 1,600.
Ontario reported nearly 1,700 new infections Monday, with the positivity rate reaching its highest level since late January. There were 1,699 new cases, down from the nearly 1,800 on Sunday and the same for Saturday.
Officials said about half of the new cases were found in the two continuing hotspots, Toronto and the Peel Region to its west, and more 50 new cases were variants of concern.
“Over $1.2 billion in funding to help hospitals manage the financial pressures created by COVID-19," said Premier Doug Ford. "This funding will help hospitals strengthen their financial position and recover lost revenue due to the pandemic."
Ford said another $2 billion will be allocated to help hospitals tackle the growing surgical backlog.
In other developments, restaurant workers will be getting inoculated as part of Phase Two of the vaccine rollout. Health Minister Christine Elliott said she will get the AstraZeneca shot on camera in a bid to combat people’s hesitancy over that particular vaccine.
The province also confirmed that public health units are holding back doses of the vaccines to guarantee there is enough supply. In Ontario, 299,297 people, 2.04% per cent of the population, have been fully vaccinated. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 12% of its population a single dose.
The AP contribut5ed to this story.