COVID-19: What you need to know for February 16

Ontario reports 1868 new COVID-19 cases as stay-at-home order lifts in 27 public health units

Ontario health officials say the province is reporting fewer than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 on both Monday and Tuesday.

"We have asked the public health measures table to give us more specific advice on triggers for the emergency brake but I would say that one of the big ones in the percentage of cases that are the variants of concern", she said.

The province said almost 30,400 tests were completed on Sunday and more than 27,000 people were tested on Monday.

"Without the ability to respond quickly and effectively, and without the ability to control spread in the community, we face the very real risk of a third wave, and potentially a third lockdown", he said. In total, the province has recorded 6,719 deaths related to the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

Tuesday's 904 cases come as many regions across the province have lifted their stay-at-home order.

The Director General of the World Health Organization says the number of new weekly cases around the world since the beginning of the year has dropped by half.

Currently, 742 people are being treated in hospital with 292 of those patients in intensive care.

A total of 20 confirmed COVID-19 variant cases had been reported in the region as of Saturday, but the health unit said only one of those has so far been verified as the South Africa-based variant.

The case and death counts weren't updated on Monday due to the Family Day holiday.

Of the newly announced cases, 320 are in Toronto, 154 are in Peel, and 118 are in York Region.

Newfoundland and Labrador now has 297 active cases of COVID-19.

Ontario reported 309 cumulative cases of the United Kingdom variant, nine cases of the South African variant, including an outbreak at one Mississauga condo identified over the weekend, and one case of the Brazilian variant that was confirmed in Toronto.

The stay-at-home order will stay in effect in Toronto, Peel and York Region until February 22, the regions will likely be place in the "Grey-Zone" of the province's colour-tiered framework. Twenty-seven of these regions transitioned into the province's colour-coded reopening framework on Tuesday.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube also expressed concern about variants, even as his province continued to report encouraging numbers.

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