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Ontario is reporting 1,829 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 593 of the new infections are in Toronto, 287 are in Peel Region, 157 are in York Region, 124 are in Hamilton and 101 are in Ottawa.

Provincial data show 765 people are currently in hospital due to COVID-19, including 302 in intensive care units and 189 on ventilators.

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The numbers come as restrictions on restaurant dining loosen in several regions.

Starting today, restaurants in Toronto and Peel Region can offer customers outdoor dining.

While Toronto and Peel will remain in the strictest “grey lockdown” category of Ontario’s colour-coded pandemic framework, restaurants in the two regions are being allowed to offer services outdoors.

In addition, food and drink establishments in regions in the second-strictest “red” category can increase capacity to 50 people indoors, up from the previous limit of 10. And establishments in “orange” zones can now have 100 people indoors, up from 50.

Premier Doug Ford said Friday the move is meant to support economic recovery.

The loosening of restrictions comes with a caution from Dr. David Williams, the province’s chief medical officer of health, who notes that Ontario has entered a third wave of infections with more contagious variants spreading. He says people must remain vigilant and continue to practice protocols such as mask wearing, hand washing and physical distancing.

Ontario reported 1,745 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 10 more related deaths. And more contagious variants linked to severe waves of infection around the world now make up about 40 per cent of cases in the province.

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Ontario is responding by expanding its COVID-19 immunization campaign next week to include residents aged 75 and older.

It will also allow certain pharmacies and family doctors in select regions to give the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot to residents aged 60 and older as of Monday.

Eligible residents can contact a pharmacy directly to make an appointment. Participating pharmacies are currently located in the Toronto, Kingston and Windsor health units but Ford said the project will be expanding “across the province.”

Meanwhile, Quebec is reporting 775 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one in the past 24 hours. Provincial health authorities say hospitalizations increased by one to 505, while the number of intensive care cases remains unchanged at 99.

The province administered 41,338 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.This brings the total to 915,653 doses since the campaign began, representing about 10.8 per cent of the population. The province has reported 301,691 infections, 10,594 deaths and 284,203 recoveries and currently has 6,894 active cases.

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