TORONTO -- COVID-19 infections in Ontario shot back up past 4,200 Wednesday as the number of patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) with the disease nears 800.

The 4,212 new cases mark a sharp increase over Tuesday’s total when 3,469 were logged. Before that, daily case numbers in the province had remained above the 4,000 mark for the better part of a week.

Wednesday’s report also marks the highest number of patients Ontario has ever seen in an ICU with COVID-19. Of the 2,335 in hospital with the disease, 790 are being treated in intensive care and 566 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

Labs across the province processed 51,877 tests in the last 24-hour period, yielding a positivity rate of 7.9, according to the Ministry of Health, which is down from the 10 per cent recorded a day earlier.

Since the pandemic began, Ontario has logged 429,123 lab-confirmed cases of the disease, including 378,417 recoveries and 7,789 deaths. Data provided by the government shows that 32 of those deaths were reported in the last 24 hours alone.

This brings the active number of COVID-19 infections across the province to 42,917. The seven-day average for number of cases reported is 4,326. This time last week, that number was 4,208.

Where are the new COVID-19 infections?

Most of the cases reported Wednesday were found in Toronto (1,249), Peel Region (771), and York Region (386).

Other public health units that reported cases numbers in the triple digits include Hamilton (276), Durham Region (214), Niagara Region (201), Ottawa (177), Halton Region (168), Simcoe-Muskoka (124), Waterloo (120), and Middlesex-London (117).

Ontario is under a provincewide stay-at-home order until at least May 20. On Tuesday, Ontario’s science table, which has regularly advised the government throughout the pandemic, called for even stronger measures to control the spread of infection.

Of the recommendations made, the table said that paid sick days for essential workers would be critical in blunting COVID-19 transmission.

The province has rebuffed such recommendations in the past while pointing to the federally-available Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) as a viable option.

However, following growing calls for such a measure by public health experts and the opposition, Deputy Premier Christine Elliott confirmed Tuesday the government is actively considering "alternatives" to the CRSB to fill "gaps" in the program which was first launched in the fall of 2020.

More than 40,000 cases of U.K. variant confirmed

The province has confirmed more than 40,000 cases of the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7 since it began searching for mutations of the disease earlier this year.

More than 2,100 tests were linked back to the strain, which was first found in the U.K., in the last 24 hours pushing the case total to 41,395.

Meanwhile, three more cases of B.1.351 (South African variant) were also found, bringing the case total to 108.

One other case of P.1 (Brazillian variant) was also found, which brings the case total to 212.

Ontario first began searching for variants of concern back in February and has since found mutations in more than 28,000 swabs which are awaiting genomic sequencing.

More than 4 million vaccines administered

In the last 24 hours, the province said it administered 136,695 COVID-19 vaccines across Ontario which brings the total number of shots administered to 4,131,882.

Of those who have received a vaccine, 349,396 have been given both their first and second shots and are considered by the Ministry of Health to be fully vaccinated.


The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.