TORONTO -- Ontario now has 150 patients receiving treatment for COVID-19 in its intensive care units, marking the meeting of a key threshold that will make it more difficult for hospitals to provide other care and perform scheduled surgeries.

A report by Critical Care Services Ontario obtained by CTV News Toronto raised concerns across the health-care community as it confirmed there are 150 patients in the province’s intensive care units due to the novel coronavirus.

The news comes as the province reported 1,210 cases new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. This is the 14th straight day in which Ontario has reported case counts in the quadruple digits.

Previously, the province said that once the number of patients in intensive care gets to 150, it becomes harder to support non-COVID-19 needs in hospitals. Once it exceeds 350 people, it becomes "impossible" to handle.

Initially, Ontario's COVID-19 modelling showed hospital capacity would only slightly exceed the 150-bed threshold in the worse-case scenario, but the predictions evolved as case numbers rose in the province.

Dr. Michael Warner, an intensive care unit physician, issued a video statement on Thursday asking the province to take urgent steps to prevent the cancellation of other important intensive care services.

“This is happening five days ahead of the modeling predictions presented by the government on Nov. 12,” Warner said.

“This means were going to have to limit access to non-COVID-related care, cancel surgeries, cancel cancer surgeries, cancel hip replacements, knee replacements. We don’t want to do this, we can’t do this, people will die if we do this.

“We need to keep our health-care system accessible to all patients whether they have COVID or not.”

Anthony Dale, president of the Ontario Hospital Association, also issued a statement on Thursday, saying hospitals will do everything they can to maintain access to care for patients.

"Today, the number of ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients crossed the 150-bed threshold. This means that some Ontario hospitals face heightened pressures in maintaining access to other vital surgeries and procedures," Dale said.

"Please know that given the gravity of the situation, hospital will continue to do everything possible to maintain access to services for patients who need care." 

On Thursday, the province reported that at least 146 patients are currently in the ICU due to COVID-19, which is up from the 127 reported just a day earlier. There are at least 535 people currently in Ontario hospitals in total due to COVID-19. Eighty-eight of the patients are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

Health officials also stated on Thursday that 28 more people have died to COVID-19. The day before, the province said that 32 people died after contracting the disease, which marked the highest number of deaths reported in a single day since the second wave began.

Seniors continue to be the age group hardest hit by the pandemic. According to the province’s epidemiology report, 15 of the 28 deaths recorded on Thursday were long-term care home residents.

Since the pandemic started, of the 3,443 people who have died in Ontario due to the disease, 2,387 were over the age of 80.

The total number of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario now stands at 99,372, including the 3,443 deaths and 83,301 recoveries.

Where are the COVID-19 cases in Ontario?

Toronto reported 346 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, while Peel Region reported 361 new infections and York Region logged 143. Ottawa reported 37 new cases.

Other public health units that reported more than 10 cases of COVID-19 include Durham Region (57), Simcoe-Muskoka (27), Middlesex-London (19), Windsor (24), Hamilton (37), Halton Region (35), Waterloo region (28) and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (11).

Most of the new cases of COVID-19 reported Wednesday are in people under the age of 80. There were 446 infections in people between the ages of 20 and 39, at least 353 in people between the ages of 40 and 59 and 139 in people between the ages of 60 and 79. There were 189 cases in people under the age of 19.

COVID-19 testing in Ontario

Officials processed 41,838 COVID-19 tests in the last 24 hours. The ministry of health said the province’s positivity rate now stands at about 4.5 per cent when including duplicate tests and errors.

There are 44,493 COVID-19 tests still under investigation.

In total, Ontario has processed more than 5.7 million tests.