TORONTO — Ontario is reporting 548 new cases of COVID-19 today, and seven new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 201 cases are in Toronto, 90 in Peel Region and 62 in Ottawa.

Elliott says 61 per cent of today’s cases are in people under the age of 40.

The province says it has a backlog of 55,483 tests, and has conducted 42,031 tests since the last daily report.

It also reported 74 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 41 among students. 

Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 347 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.

Meanwhile, Ontario began COVID-19 testing by appointment only this morning.

Premier Doug Ford has said the shift to the new system was done to prepare the province’s 155 assessment centres for winter.

The government has faced criticism over the long lines at assessment centres where people have had to wait for hours for a COVID-19 test.

The province has also changed its screening guidance, now saying that only symptomatic people or those in high-risk groups should seek out a test.

Testing centres began to close Sunday to prepare for the new model.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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