Ontario records more than 2,400 new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations jump
TORONTO -- Health officials in Ontario are reporting more than 2,400 new COVID-19 infections as hospitalizations related to the disease reach their highest level since early February.
The 2,453 cases logged Saturday represent an increase over Friday’s total when 2,169 cases were recorded. A day earlier, the province added 2,380 new cases, though 280 of those were added due to a “data catch-up process.”
The seven-day average for number of cases reported is 1,944. A week ago, that number was 1,532. Two weeks ago, it was 1,337.
This brings Ontario’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 case total to 340,692, including 315,865 recoveries and 7,308 deaths.
At least 16 of those deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the government.
Labs across the province processed 61,005 tests for the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 4.5 per cent.
Right now, there are 985 patients in hospital with COVID-19. On Friday, there were 913 patients. The last time Ontario COVID-19 hospitalizations were that high was on Feb. 6 when there were 1,021 patients in hospital with the disease.
Of those patients, 365 are being treated in the ICU and 192 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
Where are the new COVID-19 cases?
Most of the cases reported Saturday were found in Toronto (814), Peel Region (411), York Region (263), Hamilton (156), Durham Region (139) and Ottawa (115), according to data provided by the Ministry of Health.
Toronto and Peel are currently operating in the grey-lockdown level of the province’s colour-coded framework.
On Friday, the province announced that personal care services, such as barber shops, hair and nail salons, in these areas would be permitted to reopen as of April 12, with capacity limits in place. Outdoor fitness classes have also been given the green light to resume as of Monday.
Premier Doug Ford defended the decision to loosen restrictions in these areas, while also pleading for residents to remain vigilant in adhering to public health restrictions.
“I'm going to be frank, people are tired. I'm telling you they're tired, they're exhausted out there, they need a little bit of fresh air, but please do so very carefully, that's all we're asking,” he said speaking at a news conference Friday.
At the same time, Hamilton was moved to the grey zone as case counts continue to climb in the city.
York Region, Durham Region, and Ottawa remain in the less restrictive red zone.
Ontario confirms 35 more cases of COVID-19 variants of concern
Since yesterday, another 35 cases of a COVID-19 variant of concern were confirmed across the province.
Officials say 29 more infections of the variant known as B.1.1.7 were logged, pushing the case total to 1,523. Three more cases of both the B.1.351 and P.1 variant were also recorded, bringing the case totals for those strains to 63 and 61, respectively.
Another 931 COVID-19 swabs screened positive for a mutation, though their lineage to a known variant of concern is outstanding. At least 17,611 cases of COVID-19 that have screened positive for a variant of concern are still awaiting genomic sequencing.
Update on COVID-19 vaccinations
Since vaccinations began in December, 308,301 people have received both their first and second shots and are considered by the Ministry of Health to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
So far, 1,916,332 needles have gone into arms across Ontario with 77,740 doses administered in the last day alone.
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.