A new report has confirmed that Ontario now has 400 patients battling COVID-19 in its intensive care units, which comes as the province logged more than 3,000 new cases for the fifth straight day.
The report by Critical Care Services Ontario obtained by CTV News Toronto raised alarms after it confirmed on Saturday that 400 patients are currently in the province’s intensive care units (ICUs) due to the novel coronavirus.
The news comes as health officials reported 3,443 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. Just the day before, the province released record-breaking numbers with 4,249 new infections.
The province reported on Saturday that in total 1,457 people are currently in hospital due to COVID-19, and that 244 of the patients in intensive care are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
Ontario health officials have said that when more than 300 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care, medical care in hospitals not related to the disease becomes nearly impossible to handle.
Dr. Michael Warner, an intensive care unit physician, said on Saturday that hitting the 400-mark of ICU patients across Ontario is very “worrying.”
Warner said the increase in ICU patients is putting additional strain on hospitals, especially in the GTA. He said the province is on its way to hitting 600 patients in ICU, which will result in prioritizing the order of treatment based on urgency.
“That's the worst-case scenario situation, not so much the number of patients but to be in that situation where we have limited resources to the degree that we have to triage patients," he said. "That's a situation we've never faced in Ontario. That's one that's foreseeable based on the trajectory."
The province also reported on Saturday that 40 more people have died due to COVID-19, including 26 people who were residents of long-term care homes. The province’s death toll now stands 4,922.
The province also deemed 2,915 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Saturday, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 178,224.
Saturday's case count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 211,837, including deaths and recoveries.
Where are the COVID-19 cases in Ontario?
Of the 3,443 cases reported on Saturday, health officials said that 1,070 were in Toronto, 548 were in Peel Region and 303 were in York Region.
Several other regions in Ontario reported COVID-19 cases numbers in the triple digits, including Ottawa (179), Durham Region (166), Windsor-Essex (282), Niagara (134) and Waterloo (116).
In an effort to help curb the spread of the disease, the provincial government ordered an Ontario-wide lockdown on Dec. 26.
There were a record 72,900 COVID-19 tests completed in the province in the past 24-hour period. Ontario’s test positivity rate now stands at about 5.3 per cent, according to the province.
There are 61,228 COVID-19 tests still under investigation. In total, Ontario has processed more than 8.4 million tests since the pandemic began in January.
As of 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, 103,263 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario, including 15,700 doses administered in the past 24 hours. The vaccine requires two doses. In Ontario, 5,880 total vaccinations have been completed as of Saturday