Ontario health officials are reporting more than 1,800 new COVID-19 cases after the province processed a record-breaking number of tests over the past 24 hours.
The province confirmed 1,855 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday. It’s the highest number of cases ever recorded in a single day in Ontario. The previous record high was on Saturday when officials logged 1,588 cases.
Officials said the province completed 58,037 tests over the past 24 hours, which is the highest number of tests processed since the pandemic began and the first time the province has surpassed its 50,000 capacity limit. The previous record-breaking number was on Oct. 8, when the province processed 48,488 tests in a 24-hour period.
The ministry of health said the province’s positivity rate on Friday now stands at about 3.7 per cent when including duplicate tests and errors.
Health officials also reported 20 new deaths on Friday. Seniors continue to be the age group hardest hit by the pandemic. According to the province’s epidemiology report, 13 of the 20 deaths were people living in long-term care homes.
Since the pandemic started in January, of the 3,595 people who have died in Ontario due to the disease, 2,494 were over the age of 80.
Provincial health officials deemed 1,451 more cases to be resolved as of Friday, bringing the total number of recovered patients in Ontario to 94,366.
The total number of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario now stands at 111,216, including the deaths and the recoveries.
The province released updated COVID-19 projections on Thursday that showed that in the worst-case scenario, Ontario could see more than 9,000 new cases of the disease per day by the end of the year.
There are 541 people currently in Ontario hospitals due to COVID-19, with at least 151 of those patients in an intensive care unit and 101 of them breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
The province previously stated that once the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU reaches 150, it becomes harder to support medical needs not related to the disease. Furthermore, once 350 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU in the province, it becomes “impossible” to handle other medical needs.
Thursday’s projections also suggested that more than 200 COVID-19 patients will be admitted to Ontario intensive care units in December “under any scenario.”
Where are the COVID-19 cases in Ontario?
Ontario's three COVID-19 hot spots continue to be the most impacted regions in the province. On Friday, Peel Region reported 517 new cases, Toronto reported 494 new cases and York Region reported 189.
Toronto and Peel Region entered the province’s lockdown phase on Monday, which forced most non-essential businesses, including gyms, malls and personal care services, to close for at least 28 days.
Several other regions in Ontario reported rising COVID-19 case numbers. Halton Region reported 130 cases, Hamilton reported 82 cases, Waterloo reported 74 cases, Durham Region reported 65 cases, Ottawa reported 55 cases, Windsor-Essex reported 52 cases and Simcoe-Muskoka reported 38 cases.
Most of the new cases of COVID-19 reported on Friday involve people under the age of 80.
There were 686 infections in people between the ages of 20 and 39, at least 564 in people between the ages of 40 and 59 and 249 in people between the ages of 60 and 79. There were 278 cases in people under the age of 19.
In total, Ontario has processed more than 6.1 million tests since the pandemic began in January. There are 54,241 COVID-19 tests still under investigation.