Nearly 4,500 new COVID-19 infections were logged in Ontario over two days as the province sets a new record for most cases reported in a single day.
The data released Tuesday shows that 2,553 cases were logged this morning, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic, while another 1,939 cases were logged Monday.
The province did not report new COVID-19 case numbers yesterday.
This brings Ontario's COVID-19 case total to 175,908, including deaths and recoveries.
At least 78 deaths related to the novel coronavirus were recorded in the last 48-hour period which pushes Ontario’s COVID-19 death toll to 4,455. Thirty of those who died were residents of a long-term care home.
So far, 151,562 people who contracted COVID-19 have recovered, according to the Ministry of Health.
Tuesday’s report comes as COVID-19 vaccinations resume across the province following a pause over the holidays. Opposition critics slammed the Ford government over the scaled-back vaccination schedule questioning why only a small fraction of Ontario's 90,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had been administered so far.
In an interview with CTV News Channel on Monday, retired General Rick Hillier, who chairs the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, said the decision to pause inoculations over the holidays was made in an effort to give front-line workers a break.
Hillier said he felt that it would be wrong to call health-care workers into vaccination centres during those two days.
However, following the backlash, Hillier said the task force “got it wrong” in making such a decision
“We shouldn’t (have) made that decision. I take responsibility for that. And clearly, we got it wrong. We’ve been slammed, we’ve been spanked, we’ll pick up our game,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said that more than 13,200 vaccines have been administered to Ontarians as of Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, testing for COVID-19 in Ontario has fallen well below the province’s own daily goal of 50,000 tests processed in recent days.
With 34,112 tests completed in the last 24 hours, Ontario’s COVID-19 positivity rate sits at 9.7 per cent -- the highest it’s ever been.
Most of the cases reported Tuesday were found in just a handful of regions across Ontario.
Toronto reported a record 895 infections today and 412 cases a day earlier. Peel Region reported 496 cases Tuesday and 475 cases Monday.
York, Durham and Niagara regions, as well as the City of Hamilton and Windsor-Essex, all reported new case numbers in the triple digits.
Number of patients in intensive care crosses crucial benchmark
According to data released by the province, there are currently 304 patients with COVID-19 being treated in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Ontario’s health officials have long said that it becomes nearly impossible to provide non-COVID-19-related medical care once there are more than 300 patients in the ICU.
Moreover, there are a total of 864 patients in hospital with COVID-19, though the Ministry of Health said that more than 10 per cent of Ontario hospitals did not report patient data.
At least 207 patients in the ICU are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
With files from CP24's Joshua Freeman.