TORONTO -- Ontario health officials logged 945 new COVID-19 cases and 18 more deaths related to the disease, but say the numbers are “underestimated” due to further data migration at Toronto Public Health.

In a statement issued Thursday morning, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said that as part of Toronto Public Health’s transition to the provincial system, the public health unit’s case counts “are under-reported today, resulting in an underestimate of the daily counts.”

The last time Toronto Public Health migrated data to the provincial system, it resulted in a couple days’ worth of daily case count fluctuations.

According to the province, there were only 112 cases of COVID-19 reported in Toronto on Thursday. Officials have not said how many more cases should have been included in today's total.

Officials also said there were also 258 COVID-19 cases in Peel Region and 116 in York Region.

Ottawa was the only other region in the province reporting more than new 50 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 63 new infections.

The seven-day rolling average of daily reported COVID-19 cases in Ontario is now 1,264.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Health, hospitalizations related to the disease are continuing to decline. As of Thursday, there are 883 people being treated in Ontario hospitals for COVID-19.

Of those patients, at least 299 are in the intensive care unit (ICU). The last time the number of ICU patients fell below the 300 mark was in late December.

Two hundred and eleven of the patients in the ICU are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

There have been 282,511 lab-confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Ontario since the beginning of the pandemic, including deaths and recoveries.

The COVID-19 death toll now stands at 6,614. Of the 18 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, nine were residents in long-term care homes.

Source of variant cases mostly linked to close contacts, outbreaks

New details have been included in the province’s daily epidemiological summary regarding the three COVID-19 variants of concern found in the province.

According to ministry data, Ontario officials have confirmed at least 236 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant, first found in the U.K.

Of those cases, 48 were found in people over the age of 80, while 44 were in people between the ages of 60 and 79 and 54 were in people between the ages of 40 and 59.

Seventy-one of the infections were in people between the ages of 20 and 39, while 19 cases were found in people under the age of 20.

Provincial health officials also included data on the “likely source of acquisition” of the variants, saying that about 80.5 per cent of B.1.1.7. variants were associated with an outbreak or were a close contact of a confirmed case.

About eight per cent of cases were linked to travel, while about 10 per cent had no known epidemiological link.

There are at least three confirmed cases of the B.1.351 COVID-19 variant first found in South Africa in the province. Of those cases, one had a link to travel, another was linked to a close contact while the last one had no known epidemiological link.

The province has not yet included any information on the P.1. variant, but Toronto Public Health confirmed over the weekend that the variant first found in Brazil was detected in someone who had recently travelled to the region.

The province processed a little more than 68,000 COVID-19 tests in the last 24 hours, which the Ministry of Health says brings the positivity rate in the province to about 2.3 per cent.

There are more than 43,300 COVID-19 tests still under investigation.

A total of 136,988 people have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario.


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.