TORONTO -- Ontario reported more than 2,400 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the highest number of cases recorded in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

The 2,432 new infections reported mark the third straight day in which the province has logged more than 2,000 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Thursday's report also shows that the seven-day average number of cases reported in Ontario has crossed 2,000 for the first time.

With 58,178 tests processed in the last 24 hours, Ontario's COVID-19 positivity rate stands at about four per cent.

This brings Ontario’s COVID-19 case total to 148,967, including 4,058 deaths and 127,425 resolved cases.

Twenty-three of those deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, according to data released by the province Thursday. At least 13 of those deaths were in residents of a long-term care home.

More than 2,520 long-term care residents have died since the pandemic began in January, representing roughly 60 per cent of all deaths recorded across Ontario.

Of the province's 626 long-term care facilities, 143 are currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak.

Another 2,009 cases are now considered to be resolved by the ministry of health. 

At the same time, the Ontario Hospital Association is calling on the government to introduce a four-week lockdown in every public health unit operating in the “red zone” of the province’s colour-coded framework.

“The situation is extremely serious,” the OHA said in a news release issued Thursday.

“We are now in the holiday season and if members of the public choose to ignore public health measures and gather outside their households, the consequences risk overwhelming Ontario’s hospitals. Every health care system has its breaking point.”

The call by the OHA also applies to regions that the province may consider placing in the “red zone” in the future.

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the cases reported Thursday were found in the Ontario’s four regions currently operating in the “grey zone” of the province’s framework. Those regions include Toronto, Peel and York regions as well as Windsor-Essex.

All of those areas reported new case numbers in the triple digits Thursday, with Toronto leading the pack with 737 infections.

On Wednesday, the City of Toronto surpassed 50,000 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

The city’s top doctor marked the grim milestone by urging residents to stay home during the holidays to help curb the spread of infection.

“I cannot urge you strongly enough to keep apart during the holidays,” Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said. 

Halton Region is the only other area to record new case numbers in the triple digits. The area is currently operating in the "red zone" of the provincial framework.

There are currently at least 919 patients in an Ontario hospital with COVID-19.

Of those patients, 263 are receiving treatment in an intensive care unit and 172 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.