TORONTO -- Health officials in Ontario are reporting fewer than 150 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and seven additional deaths linked to the disease.

The 146 new infections mark an increase over Monday’s total when 114 were logged, which was the lowest daily case count reported since Sept. 1.

The seven additional COVID-19-related deaths bring Ontario’s death toll to 9,258.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the province has recorded 547,409 COVID-19 infections. Of those cases, 536,603 are considered to be resolved.

The seven-day average for the number of cases reported sits at 170. A week ago, that number was 203. 

With 17,489 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province says that Ontario’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 0.8 per cent.

Right now, the province is reporting 173 patients in hospital with COVID-19. At least 192 of those patients are being treated in intensive care and 123 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. The discrepancy in patient data may be explained by a delay in hospital reporting.

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the cases reported Tuesday were found in Toronto (43), Waterloo (36), Peel Region (13), and Middlesex-London (10).

At least 15 of the province’s 34 public health units reported no new cases of COVID-19.

The province is set to enter Step 3 of its reopening plan on Friday, which will see all of Ontario operating under the loosest set of public health restrictions in months. 

Update on COVID-19 variants of concern

Another 121 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern were reported by Ontario health officials in the last 24 hours.

Of those cases, 31 were of the Alpha variant B.1.1.7, bringing the total number of infections related to that strain to 144,745.

Eight cases of the Beta variant B.1.351 were also detected, which brings its case total to 1,448.

There were 41 new cases reported of both the Gamma variant P.1 and Delta variant B.1.617.2, pushing their case totals to 4,859 and 2,752 respectively. 

More than 7 million Ontarians fully vaccinated

The province announced Tuesday that more than seven million residents are now fully vaccinated.

Some 176,000 needles went into arms yesterday alone.

In total, 17,296,458 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across Ontario since December. 

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.