Ontario reports more than 4,400 COVID-19 infections as ICU admissions climb
TORONTO -- For the second day in a row, health officials in Ontario are reporting more than 4,400 new cases of COVID-19 as the number of patients in intensive care with the disease continues to climb.
The 4,401 infections reported Monday represent a marginal decrease from Sunday’s total when a record 4,456 were added.
Right now, there are 1,646 patients in hospital with COVID-19 and at least 619 of them are being treated in an intensive care unit.
With 47,929 tests completed in the last 24 hours, Ontario's COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 9.5 per cent, the highest it’s been since January 4 when it was 9.7 per cent.
The seven-day average for number of cases recorded across the province is 3,781. This time last week, that number was 2,757.
Ontario has logged 391,009 cases of the novel coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. That number includes 348,684 recoveries and 7,567 deaths. At least 15 of those deaths were recorded in the previous day, according to the Ministry of Health.
Right now, there are 34,758 active cases of COVID-19 throughout Ontario.
Where are the new COVID-19 cases?
Most of the infections reported Monday were found in Toronto (1,282), Peel Region (772), York Region (564), and Ottawa (339).
Case counts in the triple digits were also reported in Durham Region (224), Halton Region (177), Niagara Region (147), Hamilton (129), and Middlesex-London (112).
Ontario is currently operating under a provincewide stay-at-home order to blunt the transmission of COVID-19 and its variants. The month-long order, which came into effect on Thursday, saw the closure of all non-essential businesses and requires residents to remain at home, unless leaving for an essential purpose.
Speaking to CP24 Monday, infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said that despite the record-high case numbers, “things are still going to get worse.”
“I don’t think we’ve crested yet. Probably two weeks after the Easter long weekend will be the peak, that would be my best guess, but a lot of this truly does depend on what unfolds over the next couple of weeks as well,” Bogoch said.
Bogoch, who also sits on the province’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, said that the benefits of the stay-at-home order will likely only be seen two weeks after its introduction.
More than 2,000 new infections of U.K. variant
In the last 24 hours, the province says it found another 2,153 cases of the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7.
There are 16,540 confirmed cases of the strain which was first discovered in the U.K. Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table has said that the variant is not only more contagious, but also carries an increased risk of hospitalization and death.
Meanwhile, there are six more cases of the P.1 variant, which was first found in Brazil, bringing the case total to 140.
Another three cases of B.1.351 (South African variant) were also found, bringing its case total to 81.
Since the province began searching for mutations in COVID-19 swabs, nearly 25,000 tests have been flagged.
Update on COVID-19 vaccinations
Since the province began administering COVID-19 vaccines in December, 3,214,465 needles have gone into arms across Ontario.
Nearly 75,000 shots were administered in the last 24 hours, the province said. More than 333,000 people have received both their first and second shots and are considered to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The update comes as Ontario expands its vaccine eligibility to education workers and those 18 years of age and older living in hot spot regions where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly.
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