TORONTO -- Ontario is reporting 587 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as the province releases guidelines on how residents can celebrate Thanksgiving this holiday weekend.

The new infections mark an increase from the 476 cases logged Wednesday and 429 on Tuesday.

The seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases now stands at about 565, down from about 574 the previous week. With just over 37,000 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health says the province's positivity rate is about 1.7 per cent.

Six additional deaths were also reported on Thursday, bringing the province’s total death tally due to the pandemic to 9,776. Five of the deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours while one was the result of a data catchup.

According to provincial data, are 279 people being treated for COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals, with 149 patients in intensive care units (ICU).

Of those in the ICU, 134 are either not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccine status.

Anthony Dale, President and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, celebrated the fact that there are now fewer than 150 COVID-19 patients in intensive care.

“This Thanksgiving we have much to be thankful for, especially this; Ontario is now below 150 patients with COVID related critical illness in ICU for the first time in about two months,” he said on Twitter.

“Let’s keep it up and continue to take care as we celebrate this weekend.”

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health is expected to release provincial guidelines for the October holiday season, including Thanksgiving and Halloween.

“In a nutshell, if you're having family over and you're completely vaccinated, if you feel comfortable removing your masks, that would be absolutely appropriate in a fully vaccinated group,” Moore said earlier in the week.

Current restrictions on gatherings remain in place. One hundred people are allowed to gather outdoors with physical distance while indoor gatherings are restricted to 25 people.

Moore also suggested that masks be worn if the group has mixed vaccination statuses.

WHERE ARE THE NEW COVID-19 CASES?

The majority of the new infections continue to be found in the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto is reporting 114 new COVID-19 cases while Peel is reporting 55 and York 42.

Aside from Windsor-Essex (45) and Ottawa (32), all other municipalities have reported fewer than 30 new cases of the novel coronavirus.

According to provincial data, 121 COVID-19 cases were identified at Ontario schools, with 106 of those cases in children. Eight schools are currently closed as a result of COVID-19.

Twelve additional cases have been identified in child-care facilities. Seventeen child-care facilities are closed.

The province has also identified an additional 38 cases of the Delta variant in lab-confirmed COVID-19 tests, bringing the total to 18,979.

More than 10.6 million people in Ontario have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province says that 25,240 doses were administered in the last 24 hours.

Backstory:

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.