New COVID-19 cases in Ontario spike above 1,600, officials attribute increase to data issue
Staff install a sign as York Region residents wait in line for a COVID-19 vaccination at a mass vaccination site for residents 80 years and older, in Richmond Hill, Ont. on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
TORONTO -- COVID-19 infections in Ontario have spiked to levels unseen since early February but the province says Monday’s case count is higher than expected due to a “data catch-up process” related to its case and contact management system.
The province said it recorded 1,631 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours. The last time Ontario saw case numbers that high was on Feb. 5 when 1,670 infections were logged.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said in an email that they weren’t aware of the data issue prior to the release of Monday’s report.
“Apologies for not raising this sooner,” the spokesperson said. “As you know, we try to get this info to you in advance of posting the numbers but weren’t aware of the issue until just now.”
This brings Ontario’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 case total to 309,927, including 291,834 recoveries and 7,077 deaths.
Health officials said that 10 of those deaths were recorded in the previous day.
As well, with only 38,063 tests processed in the last 24-hour period, Ontario's COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 3.4 per cent, the province said.
Monday's report shows that Ontario's seven-day average for number of COVID-19 cases reported is 1,155. A week ago today, that number was 1,099.
Where are the new COVID-19 cases?
Most of the new cases reported Monday were found in Toronto, Peel Region and York Region.
According to the province, Toronto logged 570 new infections, while Peel and York regions recorded 322 and 119 cases, respectively.
As of today, Toronto and Peel Region have returned to the province’s colour-coded reopening framework and are currently operating in the grey-lockdown level.
This means that non-essential businesses like retail stores can once again open their doors, with strict capacity limits in place.
Gyms, personal care services and indoor and outdoor restaurant dining remain off limits within the grey zone.
York Region entered the framework on Feb. 22 and is currently operating in the red-control zone, which is one step down from the grey-lockdown level.
There are currently 626 patients in hospital with COVID-19, though that number is typically lower on Mondays due to a delay in reporting. Of those patients, 282 are in an intensive care unit and 184 are breathing on a ventilator.
Number of COVID-19 variant infections climbs
The province says that since yesterday, 68 more infections of a COVID-19 variant of concern have been confirmed in Ontario.
Of those, 51 are of the strain known as B.1.1.7 (UK variant), pushing the total number for that variant to 879.
Another eight cases of B.1.351 (South African variant) were also confirmed, which brings the case count for that variant to 39.
Nine more infections of P.1 (Brazilian variant) were added bringing the total for that variant to 17.
Update on COVID-19 vaccinations
Since vaccinations began in December, the province says it has administered nearly 1,000,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine across Ontario.
Of the 912,486 total doses administered, 273,676 people have received both their first and second doses and are considered to be fully vaccinated against the virus.
At least 21,882 shots went into arms in the last 24 hours, the province said.
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.