TORONTO -- Ontario health officials are reporting more than 850 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, marking the highest case count in months.

The province confirmed 865 new cases of the novel coronavirus, which comes after officials logged fewer than 700 new infections for the past three days.

The last time the province reported more than 850 new cases in a single day was on June 4, when officials recorded 914 new cases.

Ontario’s rolling seven-day average now stands at 728, up from 646 at this point last week. The province’s seven-day average has been increasing for weeks now.

With 27,293 tests processed in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health says the positivity rate in the province is three per cent.

Of the new infections reported Thursday, 692 cases involved people who are either unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown. The remaining 173 infections involved people who are fully vaccinated.

The province recorded 14 new deaths on Thursday, bringing the total death tally in the province to 9,530.

Four of the 14 deaths reported today occurred in the last week and the remaining 10 occurred more than a week ago, the Ministry of Health said. The deaths are being reported as part of a data catch-up.

The province stated at least 320 people are in hospital due to COVID-19, including 28 people who are fully vaccinated and 292 people who are either not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.

At least 162 patients are in intensive care in Ontario hospitals and 105 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

The province deemed 681 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Thursday, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 551,510.

Today’s report brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 567,071, including deaths and recoveries.

WHERE ARE THE NEW COVID-19 CASES IN ONTARIO

Most of the new cases were found in parts of the Greater Toronto Area. Officials reported 175 new cases in Toronto, 104 new cases in Peel Region, 91 new cases in York Region and 22 new cases in Durham Region.

Officials also reported 89 new cases in Hamilton, 51 new cases in Simcoe Muskoka, 48 new cases in Windsor-Essex, 39 new cases in Ottawa and 33 new cases in Niagara Region.

All other regions reported fewer than 30 new cases of the disease.

The latest modelling data from the province showed that Ontario is facing a "substantial" fourth wave of the pandemic and could see daily case counts reach 9,000 by October in a worst-case scenario if residents do not reduce their contacts.

In a more optimistic scenario, based on a 30 per cent reduction in contacts, the predictions found that case counts could begin declining within days and dip under 500 by October.

The forecasters are recommending that large gatherings be limited and that work-from-home arrangements continue in order to reduce contacts.

VARIANTS OF CONCERN IN ONTARIO UPDATE

The province detected several more cases of variants of concern on Thursday. Officials are analyzing cases on an ongoing basis to detect mutations and variants of concerns.

The province confirmed 84 new cases of Alpha B.1.1.7 on Thursday. The total case count for the strain now stands at 146,425.

Officials identified no new cases of the Beta B.1.351 or the Gamma P.1 variants and so their total case counts remained at 1,501 and 5,222, respectively.

As for the Delta variant, also known as the B.1.617 variant, officials reported 451 new cases of the strain, which brings the total number in the province to 10,994.

MORE THAN 9.9M PEOPLE FULLY VACCINATED IN ONTARIO

The province reports that 9,983,796 people in Ontario have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and are now considered fully vaccinated against the disease.

In the last 24-hour period, officials said 35,152 doses of the vaccine were administered to Ontario residents.

Just over 20.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in the province since the rollout began last year.