TORONTO -- Ontario is reporting more than 4,700 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in the pandemic as the total number of people who contracted the disease in the province surpasses the 400,000 mark.

On Thursday, health officials reported 4,736 new infections, as well as 29 more deaths.

Before today, the daily case count has fluctuated between 3,600 and 4,500 over the last week. There were 4,156 COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, 3,670 on Tuesday, 4,401 on Monday and 4,456 on Sunday.

The rolling seven-day average of COVID-19 case counts now stands at about 4,208.

The number of people being treated for the disease in intensive care has also surpassed 650 for the first time. According to the province, there are 1,932 people with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals. Of those patients, at least 659 are in the ICU and 442 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

Dr. Andrew Boozary, executive director of social medicine at the University Health Network, called the situation heartbreaking.

"We have seen the models and the anticipation of what was going to happen and what kind of hospitalizations and death were in store if we didn't act and now to see this play out in real life for people, for families it continues to be devastating," he told CP24 on Thursday.

The total number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario now stands at 403,571, including 7,639 deaths and 357,591 recoveries.

With more than 65,500 COVID-19 tests processed over the past 24 hours, officials say the positivity rate in Ontario is now eight per cent.

Where are the COVID-19 cases?

The majority of COVID-19 cases continue to be found in the Greater Toronto Area.

According to Thursday's epidemiological report, there are 1,188 infections in Toronto, 983 in Peel Region, 526 in York Region, 216 in Durham and 140 in Halton.

Other public health units reporting COVID-19 case counts in the triple digits include Ottawa (342), Niagara (215), Hamilton (150), Middlesex-London (181), Simcoe Muskoka (118) and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (102).

Ontario is currently under a month-long provincewide stay-at-home order. Under the order, residents must remain indoors unless leaving their homes for an essential purpose.

Travelling between regions is also not allowed unless for essential reasons.

Ontario's cabinet is scheduled to meet Thursday ahead of the release of new modelling data tomorrow.

More than 2,800 COVID-19 variants identified

Officials say they have identified another 2,811 new cases of the B.1.1.7. variant, first discovered in the U.K, in lab-positive COVID-19 tests. The new B.1.1.7. variants mark a decrease from the last two days, where nearly 4,000 variants were identified.

Since the province began searching for the strain, it has found 27,278 related infections.

In total, health officials have found 95 cases of the B.1.351 variant and 191 cases of the P.1. variant.

Health experts have blamed the super contagious strains for the rise in hospitalizations amid the third wave.

More than 100,000 vaccines administered for second straight day

The province says that 105,430 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the last 24 hour period.

In total, more than 3.5 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials say that 229,491 people have received both doses required to be fully vaccinated.


(NOTE: 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.)