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Ontario reports 163 new cases of COVID-19, 12 more deaths|BCI CANADA

TORONTO — Ontario is reporting 163 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 12 more deaths.

That brings the province to a total of 34,016 cases, including 2,631 deaths and 29,336 resolved cases.

That's 229 more resolved cases than the previous day, resuming a trend Ontario has seen over a couple of weeks of resolved cases growing more quickly than active ones, except for one day Tuesday.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19, and those in intensive care and on ventilators all dropped, with the latter two figures falling to their lowest levels since the province started publicly reporting them at the beginning of April.

Ontario extended its state of emergency today to July 15, which Premier Doug Ford has said is hopefully the last extension.

Many of the emergency orders made under the state of emergency are expected to continue even after July 15, including bans on large gatherings.

After the state of emergency expires, the province won't be able to make new emergency orders, amend them, or re-enact old ones, but existing ones can be extended.

Local medical officers of health will still have certain powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which is what some have used to require masks in commercial establishments.

Ontario's two most heavily populated regions will see more businesses open their doors today as Toronto and Peel move into the next stage of the province's COVID-19 recovery plan.

The two regions officially enter Stage 2 of the pandemic reopening framework, joining nearly all the rest of the province that began ramping up activities over the past two weeks.

Windsor-Essex remains the only region not cleared to move to the next phase, due to stubbornly high COVID-19 case numbers on farms in the region.

Businesses given the green light to resume operations in Toronto and Peel today include hair stylists, pools and tour guide services.

Restaurants are also allowed to reopen their patios for dine-in service, though no one is yet allowed to be served indoors.

In all cases, the Ontario government says proper physical distancing measures must be maintained to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2020.

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

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