Nearly 1,400 new COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario, 18 more deaths
TORONTO -- Health officials in Ontario are reporting close to 1,400 new COVID-19 cases Friday.
The 1,371 infections mark the sixth consecutive day in which the province has logged case numbers above 1,000.
Eighteen more deaths linked to the disease were also confirmed by health officials Friday.
Friday’s report brings Ontario’s COVID-19 case total to 314,891, including 296,252 recoveries and 7,127 deaths.
Labs across the province processed 64,611 tests in the last 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 2.4 per cent.
The seven-day average for number of cases reported stands at 1,269. A week ago, that number was 1,062.
Right now, there are 11,512 active cases of COVID-19 across Ontario.
Where are the new COVID-19 cases?
Most of the cases reported by the province on Friday were found in Toronto (371), Peel Region (225), York Region (111) and Hamilton (109).
Toronto and Peel Region have been operating in the province’s grey-lockdown level of the province’s colour-coded framework since Monday.
Meanwhile, York Region and Hamilton have been operating in the less restrictive red-control level for weeks.
There are currently 676 patients in hospital with COVID-19. The province says that 282 of those patients are being treated in intensive care and 189 are on a ventilator.
COVID-19 variant case count climbs
Another 56 cases of a COVID-19 variant were confirmed in Ontario in the previous day.
Forty-nine of those cases were of the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7. The case total for that variant, which was first discovered in the U.K., now sits at 1,005.
As well, one more case of the variant known as B.1.351 (South African variant) was also found, bringing the case total to 42.
Another six cases of P.1 (Brazilian variant) were also confirmed. There are currently 34 cases of that strain in Ontario.
On Thursday, the province warned that the spread of COVID-19 variants throughout the province could push its daily COVID-19 case counts as high as 8,000 in a worst-case scenario, based on new modelling data.
Health officials said that the next few weeks will be crucial in determining what the summer will look like -- if the province will "return to normal" or if it will be met with a third wave of the virus.
Earlier in the day, Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said that it has found that 42 per cent of Ontario’s COVID-19 cases are variants of concern.
Update on COVID-19 vaccinations
The province says that 282,748 residents have received both their first and second shots of a vaccine and are considered to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Since inoculations began in December of last year, the province said it has administered 1,062,910 shots. More than 43,000 of those shots went into arms yesterday.
This comes as a pilot project offering COVID-19 vaccines in pharmacies across the province expands more broadly today.
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.