TORONTO -- Ontario health officials reported more than 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in months, marking the highest number of cases reported over a 24-hour period since the pandemic started.

The province confirmed 4,227 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday. It’s the highest number ever reported in a single day since the start of the pandemic because the only other time the province reported a higher total was on Jan 8, when officials reported 4,249 new cases, but that was due to a data backlog.

Friday’s total of 4,227 cases marks a significant increase from the 3,295 infections reported Thursday and the 3,215 infections reported on Wednesday.

The province’s seven-day average for number of cases recorded is now 3,259, up from 2,552 one week ago.

With 61,410 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province says its COVID-19 positivity rate now stands at 6.3 per cent.

Health officials also reported that 18 more people have died in Ontario due to COVID-19. In total, the province has seen 7,512 deaths related to the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

The province reported that 1,492 people are currently in hospital due to the disease. At least 552 of these patients are being treated in intensive care and 359 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

Starting Monday, most Ontario hospitals are expected to “ramp down” all elective surgeries and non-emergent/non-urgent activities in order to deal with the record number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.

The province also deemed 2,641 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Friday, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 341,200.

Friday’s report brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 378,339, including deaths and recoveries.

Where are the COVID-19 cases in Ontario?

Most of the new cases reported on Friday are concentrated in hot spot regions in the Greater Toronto Area. Officials reported 1,218 new cases in Toronto, 762 in Peel Region and 532 in York Region.

Several other regions reported new infection totals in the triple digits on Friday. Durham Region reported 247 cases, Ottawa reported 246 cases, Halton Region reported 174 cases, Middlesex-London reported 159 cases, Hamilton reported 133 cases and Niagara Region reported 107 cases.

The Ontario government entered a provincewide stay-at-home order on Thursday in order to curb the spread of the deadly disease.

The order closed all non-essential businesses for in-person shopping for at least a month in order to deal with the third wave.

Variants in Ontario

The province reported 1,860 new cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK variant) in Ontario on Friday. The total cases count for the strain now stands at 11,492.

Officials have also identified one more case of the B.1.351 (South African variant), which brings its total case count in the province to 76.

In addition, the province added two more cases of the P.1 (Brazilian variant) on Friday, which brings its total number of cases to 133.

More than 328K people fully vaccinated in Ontario

The province reports that 328,598 people in Ontario have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are now considered vaccinated against the disease.

In the last 24-hour period, officials said that 105,382 doses of the vaccine were administered to residents in the province.


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.