TORONTO -- Ontario has logged more than 1,500 new cases of COVID-19 as well as 14 more deaths related to the disease.

The 1,508 new cases reported on Wednesday mark a significant increase from Tuesday’s 1,074 infections.

The daily number of novel coronavirus cases reported in Ontario has fluctuated for most of the week. There were 1,286 cases reported on Monday, 1,747 on Saturday and 1,468 on Sunday.

The seven-day rolling average of daily cases now stands at 1,361.

Wednesday’s infections also mark the 11th consecutive day in which the daily case count has been in the quadruple digits.

The number of COVID-19 tests processed in Ontario has also jumped in the last 24 hours. With a little more than 49,100 tests processed, the Ministry of Health says the positivity rate has decreased from about 4.5 to 3.5 per cent.

At the same time, the number of people being treated in Ontario intensive care units (ICU) has reached the 300 benchmark once again.

The province has long said that when there are more than 300 patients in the ICU, non-COVID-19-related care becomes nearly impossible to facilitate.

As of Wednesday, the province said there are at least 741 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals across Ontario. Of the 300 people in the ICU, at least 190 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

The majority of cases continue to be found in the province’s three COVID-19 hot spots—Toronto (521), Peel Region (253) and York Region (107).

According to the province’s epidemiological report, three other municipalities are reporting more than 50 cases of COVID-19. The regions include Thunder Bay (63), Ottawa (69) and Niagara (66).

The new infections come one day after Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said the province is entering a third wave of the pandemic. The table, which provides independent advice and analysis to the provincial government, cited an “exponential growth” in the number of new infections, as well as a growth in variants of concern.

On Wednesday, Ontario officials confirmed that another 521 mutations have been identified in lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 tests.

Of the 9,652 mutations discovered in Ontario COVID-19 tests since the province began to record the data, only 1,215 have undergone complete genomic testing to determine lineage.

In total, 1,134 of those tests have been confirmed to be the B.1.1.7. variant, originally found in the U.K. Of those tests, three were processed in the last 24 hours.

There have been 47 confirmed cases of the B.1.351 strain originally found in South Africa, and 34 cases of the P.1. variant discovered in Brazil.

Mass vaccination clinics open across province

In the last recorded 24-hour period, 58,202 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to residents in Ontario.

In total, 290,659 people have received both doses of the vaccine and are considered immunized.

On Wednesday, three mass vaccination clinics opened in Toronto for residents over the age of 80. A clinic in Cobourg, Ont. also opened up earlier this week.

The total number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario now stands at 321,956, including 7,187 deaths and 302,257 recoveries.


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