Ontario has reported a jump in new COVID-19 cases following two days in which the number of daily patients was below 300.
Health officials confirmed another 383 cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, as well as 34 more deaths.
The new patients bring the total number of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province to 26,866, including 2,189 deaths and 20,673 recoveries.
Following five days where the daily number of reported COVID-19 cases was over 400, the province experienced a large dip in patients. On Tuesday, the number of cases was the lowest it’s been in nearly two months at 287, followed by a slight increase of 292 the next day.
On Wednesday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams told reporters that the province’s positivity rate has dropped from six and seven per cent to 3.5 per cent.
“That’s the lowest it’s been in a long time,” Williams said. “’We want to maintain our testing and at the same time see our cases stay down in the regard."
Williams did not appear surprised on Thursday that the number of cases increased, attributing the fact to people gathering together on Victoria Day long weekend.
“I was thinking we would get an uptick in the number today, generally it’s because its seven to nine days after a weekend, " he said. "We saw the same thing following Mother’s Day weekend."
According to Thursday’s epidemiological summary, eight of Ontario’s deceased COVID-19 patients were between the ages of 20 and 39. Eighty-seven of all deceased patients in the province were between the ages of 40 and 59 and 574 people were between the ages of 60 and 79.
There have been no deaths recorded in people 19 years of age or younger.
People 80 years of age or older continue to be the hardest hit age group with 1,520 deaths. More than 1,300 of those patients were residents at long-term care homes.
The province is reporting 191 outbreaks at Ontario long-term care facilities, 91 in retirement homes and 50 in hospitals.
There are 833 COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Thursday, and 137 of those are in the intensive care unit (ICU). Ninety-four of those in the ICU are using ventilators.
The province is reporting at least 4,577 health-care workers have contracted COVID-19. At least six have died.
COVID-19 testing in Ontario
The number of COVID-19 tests conducted daily in Ontario appears to be increasing, although officials have yet to reach their goal of 20,000 per day.
In the last 24 hours, 17,615 tests were conducted.
There were 15,133 tests conducted on Tuesday, compared to 9,875 on Monday, 8,170 on Sunday and 11,383 on Saturday.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has been urging residents who are asymptomatic and believe they may have been exposed to the disease to contact an assessment centre to get a test.
"If you have no symptoms, you feel you've been around groups, you feel you're nervous you might have COVID-19, please go get tested," he told reporters on Wednesday.
To date more than 662,000 tests have been conducted for COVID-19. There are 11,868 test samples under investigation in Ontario.
Quick facts on all COVID-19 patients in Ontario:
• 43.3 per cent of all patients in the province are male and 55.9 per cent are female – 224 cases did not specify male or female gender
• 40.3 per cent of all patients are 60 years of age or older – 14 cases did not specify their age
• 3.4 per cent of all patients are 19 years of age or younger
• 25.6 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 20 and 39
• 30.6 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 40 and 59
• 20.4 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 60 and 79
• 19.9 per cent of all patients are 80 years of age or older
• Public health units in the Greater Toronto Area account for 65.6 per cent of all cases
• 5.6 per cent of all patients had travelled in the 14 days prior to becoming ill
• 60.9 per cent of all patients had close contact with a previously confirmed case or were "outbreak-associated"
• 18.1 per cent of all patients had "no known epidemiological link"
• 15.3 per cent of all patients had exposure information listed as "missing or unknown"