TORONTO -- Ontario has logged more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row.

On Thursday, health officials reported 1,553 infections as well as 15 more deaths related to the disease.

The province reported 1,508 cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, 1,074 on Tuesday, 1,286 on Monday and 1,757 on Saturday.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases now stands at 1,427, up from 1,251 one week ago.

The number of people being treated for COVID-19 in Ontario intensive care units remains above the 300 benchmark, at 304 patients, according to ministry data.

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.

According to the Ministry of Health, there are at least 730 people hospitalized as a result of COVID-19. Of those in the ICU, 186 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

The data shows there are 12,814 known active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, which is the province's highest active caseload since Feb. 11.

The majority of Thursday’s cases are found in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). According to the province’s epidemiological report, there are 404 new cases in Toronto, 294 in Peel Region, 176 in York Region, 85 in Durham Region and 80 in Hamilton.

Outside of the GTHA, only Ottawa reported more than 50 cases of COVID-19. Ottawa will move into the Red-Control zone of Ontario’s colour-coded lockdown framework on Friday, after the city’s case rate increased by 24.8 per cent.

There has been a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 tests processed in Ontario over the past few days. With a little more than 58,500 tests processed, the ministry says the province’s positivity rate now stands at 3.1.

More than 10,000 COVID-19 variants found in Ontario

Since the province began actively searching for COVID-19 variants of concern, there have been 10,291 mutations discovered in lab-positive tests across Ontario.

Of those mutations, 639 were found in the last 24-hour period.

While more than 10,000 variant mutations have been discovered, only 1,218 have undergone genome testing in order to be officially categorized.

There are at least 1,136 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant in Ontario, as well as 47 B.1.351 variants and 35 P.1. variants.

On Wednesday, Ontario’s COVID-19 scientific advisory table said that a three-week lockdown may be necessary in order to prevent the growth of the COVID-19 variants in the province.

The table predicted that Ontario could see between 2,500 to 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day in a few weeks if the current trends continue.

Meanwhile, another 58,119 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the last 24-hour recorded period.

More than 1.3 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Ontario. In total, 292,269 people received both doses of the vaccine and are considered immunized.

The total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario now stands at 303,493, including 7,202 deaths and 303,493 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