Toronto, Peel Region joins rest of Ontario in stage 2 of reopening; New U.S. cases hit highest level in two months

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Wednesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

6:10 a.m.: You can finally get a haircut, eat at a restaurant patio, or visit malls in Toronto and Peel Region for the first time in 13 weeks on Wednesday as they join the majority of Ontario in entering Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan.

The province announced Monday that more businesses and services will be allowed to open with appropriate public health measures in place.

Restaurants and bars will be open for delivery, takeout and outdoor dining only, according to the City of Toronto. Shopping malls will be open, but you’ll have to go elsewhere to enjoy the food court as dining spaces will be prohibited.

Personal care services like barber shops, hair styling, nails, tattoos and esthetic services will be allowed to open. Though you will have to hold off on face-related pampering like facials and beard trims a while longer.

Recreational and cultural spaces are also allowed to reopen, including water recreational services like indoor and outdoor swimming pools and splash pads. Community centres will reopen for “a very limited number of modified uses,” the City says, including certain outdoor sports and recreational activities. Campgrounds, museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and heritage institutions are also reopening. As are libraries with limited on-site services, film and television production, tours and guide services.

6:05 a.m.: New coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged to their highest level in two months and are now back to where they were at the peak of the outbreak.

The U.S. on Tuesday reported 34,700 new cases of the virus, according to a tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University that was published Wednesday. There have been only two previous days that the U.S. has reported more cases: April 9 and April 24, when a record 36,400 cases were logged.

New cases in the U.S. have been surging for more than a week after trending down for more than six weeks. While early hot spots like New York and New Jersey have seen cases steadily decrease, the virus has been hitting the south and west. Several states on Tuesday set single-day records, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas.

Cases were also surging in other parts of the world. India reported a record daily increase of nearly 16,000 new cases. Mexico, where testing rates have been low, also set a record with more than 6,200 new cases.

But China appears to have tamed a new outbreak of the virus in Beijing, once again demonstrating its ability to quickly mobilize vast resources by testing nearly 2.5 million people in 11 days.

4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 2 a.m. ET on June 24, 2020:

There are 101,963 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

-Quebec: 54,884 confirmed (including 5,424 deaths, 23,620 resolved)

-Ontario: 33,853 confirmed (including 2,619 deaths, 29,107 resolved)

-Alberta: 7,781 confirmed (including 153 deaths, 7,096 resolved)

-British Columbia: 2,835 confirmed (including 170 deaths, 2,471 resolved)

-Nova Scotia: 1,061 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)

-Saskatchewan: 753 confirmed (including 13 deaths, 642 resolved)

-Manitoba: 303 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 293 resolved), 11 presumptive

-Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)

-New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 143 resolved)

-Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)

-Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

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-Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

-Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

-Nunavut: No confirmed cases

Total: 101,963 (11 presumptive, 101,952 confirmed including 8,454 deaths, 64,684 resolved)

Tuesday 7 p.m.: The owner of a farm where some 199 migrant workers have tested positive for COVID-19 says his operation assiduously followed public health guidelines to prevent an outbreak, and has previously been lauded for providing quality accommodation to migrant workers.

In an interview with the Star on Tuesday, Scotlynn Growers president Scott Biddle said the local health department has “always used us as an example for what other farmers should be doing.”

“We’re building housing for another hundred men this year,” Biddle told the Star, adding that the new accommodation will be larger than what’s currently required by Health Canada to account for any changes to federally-mandated housing standards.

The comments come after a Star investigation revealed a history of complaints at Scotlynn by Mexican migrant workers about substandard housing and other concerns.

In reports to the Mexican Ministry of Labour between 2016 and 2018, workers described overcrowded bunkhouses, bedbug infestations, and sometimes failure to receive timely medical attention. Scotlynn received 33 complaints over the two year period, the highest number of any Canadian farm.

On Saturday, 55-year-old father of four Juan López Chaparro, who worked at Scotlynn, died after fighting COVID-19 for three weeks.

Read the full story from Sara Mojtehedzadeh here.

Tuesday 6:50 p.m.: Canada could avoid a second wave of the coronavirus if it learns the lessons of South Korea and Taiwan and attacks testing, tracing and treatment of COVID-19 cases and practices “dynamic distancing” from the get-go, MPs heard Tuesday.

That means as the economy reopens, communities must be ready to reimpose physical distancing and socially restrictive measures periodically with surges in disease activity in order to contain outbreaks and allow economic revitalization to continue, Asaph Young Chun, head of Korea’s Statistics Research Institute, told the Commons health committee.

Those “nonpharmaceutical” interventions are the best “exit strategy” from the COVID-19 lockdowns, he said.

Two American health experts said South Korea and Taiwan showed the path for other countries to follow, but they warned Canada against reopening too quickly even to its neighbours, the United States.

Read the full story from Tonda MacCharles here.