The province has set another unwanted record. A new high for positive Ontario COVID-19 cases was announced on Thursday morning, April 23, and mortality rates are going up with it. The province has confirmed over 600 new cases across the region, taking the total to almost 13,000 and the death toll to over 700 people.

According to the government's official COVID-19 website, 634 new positive provincial cases have been confirmed since Wednesday, for a total of 12,879 so far in Ontario.

That's a 5.2% increase from the previous report and is currently the highest single-day jump recorded, a record that Ontario has set numerous times over the last few weeks.

Unfortunately, 713 people are now reported to have died in the province due to COVID-19, which is up 54 from the previous update.

However, CBC reports that regional public health units in the province have reported at least 759 deaths in total.

According to CTV News, out of the 713 confirmed fatalities, 516 lived in long-term care homes where the effects of the virus have been felt the worst.

This news comes after the province's strong effort to reach higher testing goals in their health facilities.

And, in fact, there has been a notable increase in completed tests in the past day. Some 10,214 new tests were recorded in the latest update.

That figure is much closer to the province's target for testing rates which has been set at 14,000 per day.

Two weeks ago, Premier Doug Ford had criticized Ontario's slow rate of testing as "unacceptable" and called for the province to immediately raise the number of daily tests to 13,000.

Nearly 200,000 Ontarians have been tested so far.

According to government stats, 44.5% of cases are in individuals aged 60 or older, while 24.8% are under the age of 40.

Also on Thursday morning, Ford announced that Ontario will be extending its emergency orders for another two weeks until May 6, 2020.

But he clarified to reporters on April 22 that the province does not have any real chance of ending its lockdown by May 24.

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