Ontario announces 17 new cases of COVID 19, including one baby

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott take part in a media availability with members of their cabinet ahead of meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Thursday, March 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Ontario has confirmed 17 new cases of COVID-19, including an infant baby boy, bringing the total number in the province to 59.

The news comes on the same day the Ontario government announced dedicated COVID-19 assessment centres were set to open in the next several days.

The government says the first wave of such centres will be facilities at Brampton Civic Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital, North York General Hospital, Mackenzie Health in York Region, Scarborough Health Network, and Trillium Health Partners in Peel Region.

The centres will be located in separate spaces to protect other patients.

More centres are set to be established across the province in the next few weeks.

Ontario has also approved new physician billing codes for telephone assessments, which will allow doctors to do more evaluations that way rather than having people come into their clinics.

The province is also in the early stages of planning to establish at-home testing.