Ontario is recording more than 1,200 new COVID-19 infections, marking the fourth straight day of case counts increasing.
On Friday, provincial health officials logged 1,258 infections of the novel coronavirus, as well as 28 more deaths linked to the disease.
Before that, the province recorded 1,138 new cases on Thursday, 1,054 on Wednesday and 975 on Tuesday.
Daily case counts have hovered slightly above or below the 1,000 mark for much of the past few weeks.
The province’s seven-day average for number of cases recorded is now 1,114, down from 1,206 one week ago.
Of the new cases logged Friday, 362 are in Toronto, 274 are in Peel Region and 104 are in York Region.
York Region moved back into Ontario’s colour-coded reopening framework on Monday, allowing gyms and restaurants to reopen with strict public health measures in place.
Toronto and Peel Region remain under a stay-at-home order until at least March 8.
There were 64,049 COVID-19 tests completed in Ontario in the last-recorded 24-hour period. The test positivity rate now stands at about 2.3 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.
Friday’s count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario 298,569, including deaths and recoveries.
With the 28 new deaths confirmed by health officials on Friday, the province’s death toll is now 6,944. None of the new deaths included residents of the province’s long-term care system.
According to the province, there are at least 683 patients infected with the novel coronavirus in Ontario hospitals as of Friday. Of those patients, 284 are in the intensive care unit (ICU) and 193 of those 284 patients are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
At this time last week, there were 689 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Ontario, 269 of which were in the ICU and 190 were on a ventilator.
On Friday, health officials deemed 1,007 more cases of the disease to be resolved, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 281,331.
There are currently 10,294 active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, down from 10,550 one week ago.
Variants of concern in Ontario
Health officials confirmed Friday that 28 more cases of the U.K. variant, also known as B.1.1.7, have been found in Ontario, bringing the province’s total count to 477.
There is now a total of 14 confirmed cases of the South African variant, known as B.1.351, in Ontario after three new cases were logged by officials on Friday.
No new cases of the Brazilian variant, known as P.1, were recorded Friday, keeping the province’s total infection count at two.
Modelling data released by the province on Thursday suggested that the highly-contagious COVID-19 variants are expected to make up about 40 per cent of all Ontario cases by the second week of March, leading to a likely increase in daily infections and hospitalizations.
Vaccinations across the province
Meanwhile, 643,765 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario thus far, including 21,805 administered in the previous day. The vaccine requires two doses. In Ontario, 258,014 total vaccinations have been completed as of Friday.
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.