TORONTO -- Health officials in Ontario are reporting more than 4,500 new COVID-19 cases Friday and another 34 deaths linked to the disease.

The province reported 4,505 infections in the last 24 hours, a sharp increase from the 3,683 logged a day earlier.

Most of the cases reported today were found in Toronto and Peel Region, with the latter logging a record 1,232 infections. 

Friday’s report is the third-highest daily case total recorded throughout the pandemic and brings Ontario's lab-confirmed COVID-19 case count to 437,310, including 387,712 recoveries and 7,863 deaths. 

The active number of infections in the province is 41,735. The seven-day average for number of cases reported sits at 4,132, down from 4,292 a week earlier.

On Thursday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams suggested that the province may be starting to bend the curve of COVID-19 transmission while pointing to a lowering in the disease’s reproductive number.

“We might be starting to bend the curve a bit, but it has not been enough time yet. We are just starting to see the impact of the stay-at-home order and we need to watch it closely," he said at the time. 

A provincewide stay-at-home order took effect in Ontario on April 8 and is set to expire on May 20 at the earliest in an effort to curb the spread of infection.

With 56,206 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province says its COVID-19 positivity rate is 8.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 ICU admissions across Ontario remain at an all-time high with 818 patients receiving treatment in intensive care. Of those patients, 593 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

Another 2,700 COVID-19 U.K. variant cases confirmed

Health officials said that in the previous day, labs linked 2,700 COVID-19 swabs to the variant known as B.1.1.7, which was first found in the U.K.

The case total for the strain now rests at 46,905.

Another 21 cases of B.1.351 (South African variant) were found, bringing the case total to 134.

Six cases of P.1 (Brazilian variant) found were also logged, which brings the case total to 224.

The province has flagged more than 29,000 COVID-19 swabs for a mutation since it began searching for known variants of concern earlier this year. 

Update on vaccinations

More than 4.4 million Ontario residents have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of those people, 355,208 have received both a first and second dose and are considered to be fully vaccinated against the disease.

The update comes as the province confirmed its first case of a blood clot linked to the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Health officials have also confirmed that pregnant individuals will now be eligible for a shot.


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.