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Ontario reports 75 more deaths linked to COVID-19 as hospitalizations drop to 4,061

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Ontario health officials are reporting 75 deaths over the span of 19 days due to COVID-19, citing a data catch-up, as hospitalizations declined on Thursday.

“Due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, we are evaluating whether there is a need to update reporting to distinguish between causal and incidental deaths related to COVID-19,” the provincial health minister’s spokesperson said on Thursday.

Health officials said 4,061 people are now in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, a decrease of 71 patients since Wednesday.

There are 594 people in intensive care, five more patients than on Wednesday.

The province also reported that of those hospitalized, 55 per cent are seeking care due to COVID-19, while the remaining 45 per cent were admitted to the hospital for unrelated reasons and are now testing positive for the virus.

In intensive care, 81 per cent of patients are admitted primarily for COVID-19, while the remaining 19 per cent are testing positive but are being treated for a separate issue.

Meanwhile, Ontario is reporting 7,757 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, but health officials have warned that number is an underestimate due to limited testing.

Of those who tested positive for COVID-19, 1,079 are unvaccinated, 260 are partially vaccinated, 5,819 are fully vaccinated and 599 have an unknown vaccination status.

With 42,907 tests processed in the last 24 hours, Ontario is reporting a test positivity rate of 15.9 per cent.

Officials are reporting 1,373 new cases in the Greater Toronto Area, 1,006 in Peel Region, 643 new cases in York Region, 371 new cases in Durham Region and 391 new cases in Halton Region.

Officials reported 415 new cases in Waterloo Region and 300 new cases in Ottawa.

Across Ontario, 420 long-term care homes are facing outbreaks in addition to 316 retirement homes.

The province says 316 residents in long-term care homes have COVID-19 along with 84 staff members. According to provincial data, 26 of the deaths reported on Thursday are among long-term care residents. 

Premier Doug Ford announced a three-step plan on Thursday to gradually lift COVID-19 restrictions put in place earlier this month.

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