TORONTO -- Ontario health officials are reporting fewer than 180 new cases of COVID-19, and eight more deaths due to the disease.

The province confirmed 179 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, which comes after officials reported daily infection numbers of 183 on Friday, 210 on Thursday and 194 on Wednesday.

Ontario’s rolling seven-day average now stands at 187, down from 239 at this point last week.

With 23,695 tests processed in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health says the positivity rate in the province dropped to 0.6 per cent. The last time officials recorded a positivity rate of 0.6 per cent in Ontario was on Sept. 3.

As the province recorded eight new deaths related to the disease, the total death tally in the province rose to 9,245.

There are currently 165 people in hospital due to the disease. At least 197 patients are in intensive care and 187 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. The hospital patient total today is lower than ICU admissions, which may be due to a delay in reporting.

The province deemed 218 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Saturday, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 536,028.

Saturday’s report brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 546,983, including deaths and recoveries.

WHERE ARE THE COVID-19 CASES IN ONTARIO

In the Greater Toronto Area, officials reported 23 cases in Toronto, 21 new cases in Peel Region, eight new cases in York Region, six new cases in Halton Region and three new cases in Durham Region.

Officials also reported 32 new cases in Waterloo, 27 new cases in Grey Bruce Health Unit and 16 new cases in Hamilton. All other regions in Ontario reported fewer than 10 new cases of the disease.

The province announced on Friday that it would be moving to Step 3 of its reopening plan on July 16, nearly five days ahead of schedule, allowing indoor dining to resume and gyms to open for the first time in months.

VARIANTS OF CONCERN IN ONTARIO UPDATE

The province detected several more cases of variants of concern on Saturday. Officials are analyzing cases on an ongoing basis to detect mutations and variants of concerns.

The province confirmed an additional 63 new cases of B.1.1.7 on Saturday. The total case count for the strain now stands at 144,556.

Officials identified no new cases of B.1.351 and so the total case count in the province stood at 1,439.

In addition, the province added 61 more cases of P.1 which brings its total number of cases to 4,800.

As for the Delta variant, also known as the B.1.617 variant officials reported 98 new cases of the strain, which brings the total number in the province to 2,557.

MORE THAN 6.7M PEOPLE FULLY VACCINATED IN ONTARIO

The province reports that 6,702,624 people in Ontario have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and are now considered fully vaccinated against the disease.

In the last 24-hour period, officials said 207,507 doses of the vaccine were administered to Ontario residents.

Just over 16.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in the province since the rollout began last year.