Ontario logs nearly 1,100 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths; Toronto data issue continues
TORONTO -- Ontario is reporting nearly 1,100 new COVID-19 cases and 18 more deaths linked to the disease as officials note a data migration issue in Toronto yet again.
On Friday, provincial health officials logged 1,076 infections of the novel coronavirus.
Of the news cases logged, 361 are in Toronto, 210 are in Peel Region and 122 are in York Region.
According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, the case count logged for Toronto on Friday is “under-reported” due to a further data migration. Officials have not said how many more cases should have been included in Ontario’s total count on Friday as a result.
The same issue was reported on Thursday when Ontario recorded 945 new COVID-19 infections.
Earlier this month, the local public health unit in Toronto migrated data to the provincial system, resulting in daily case counts fluctuating for a few days.
There were 62,012 COVID-19 tests completed in Ontario in the last-recorded 24-hour period.
The test positivity rate now stands at about 2.2 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health. The last time that number was that low was Oct. 16, 2020 when a test positivity rate of two per cent was seen.
The province’s seven-day average for number of cases recorded is now 1,179, down from 1,575 one week ago.
Friday’s count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 283,587, including deaths and recoveries.
With the 18 new deaths confirmed by health officials on Friday, the province’s death toll is now 6,632. Of the new deaths, eight were residents of long-term care homes.
According to the province, there are at least 763 patients infected with the novel coronavirus in Ontario hospitals as of Friday. Of those patients, 295 are in the intensive care unit (ICU) and 204 of those 295 patients are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
At this time last week, there were 1,043 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Ontario, 325 of which were in the ICU and 225 were on a ventilator.
On Friday, health officials deemed 1,415 more cases of the disease to be resolved, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 264,459.
There are currently 12,496 active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, down from 15,722 one week ago.
Thus far, 442,441 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario, including 15,605 administered in the previous day. The vaccine requires two doses. In Ontario, 151,282 total vaccinations have been completed as of Friday.
Variants of concern in Ontario
Officials have confirmed there have been a total of 275 cases of the U.K. variant, also known as B.1.1.7, found in Ontario as of Friday. Three cases of the South African variant, B.1.351, have also been found in Ontario, according to officials.
Friday’s data comes one day after the province’s science table released new modelling. The projections suggested that case counts will begin to rise in late February due to the increased contagiousness of the new variants if the Ontario government moves ahead with its plan to gradually lift the stay-at-home order across the province.
“All arrows are pointing in the right direction,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Issac Bogoch told CP24 on Friday morning. “You have lower daily case counts, lower seven-day averages, lower per cent positivity, decent diagnostic testing capacity, hospital and ICUs slowly having the pressure released from them but of course there is the wildcard of the variants of concern which certainly are more transmissible plus reopening which gives more opportunity for the virus, including the variants of concern to spread.”
He added, “as always I think we have to proceed with caution.”
Ontario’s top doctor said the government will announce Friday which categories of its COVID-19 restrictions some regions will fall into when they begin to reopen next week.
The province began a gradual reopening of its economy Wednesday by lifting the stay-at-home order in three regions with low COVID-19 transmission rates.
The rest of the province, except for three hot spots in the Greater Toronto Area, are set to have the order lifted next week when they transition back to the colour-coded restrictions system.
Toronto, Peel Region and York Region are set to remain under the stay-at-home order until at least Feb. 22.
NOTE: 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.