Ontario has logged nearly 1,400 new COVID-19 infections, marking the eighth straight day of case counts reaching the quadruple digits.
Provincial health officials logged 1,396 new infections of the novel coronavirus on Friday.
Ontario’s daily case count has dipped after a new record was set in the province on Thursday (1,575). Before that, the province also saw record-breaking case counts on Wednesday (1,426) and Tuesday (1,388).
Ontario’s seven-day average for number of cases reported continues to climb and is now 1,355, up from 997 one week ago.
Friday’s report brings the province’s total number of lab-confirmed cases to 91,180, including deaths and recoveries.
Nineteen new deaths linked to the disease were logged by provincial health officials on Friday, bringing Ontario’s death toll to 3,312. That is the highest single-day death toll reported in Ontario since the start of the second wave. Ten of the deaths confirmed on Friday were residents of long-term care homes in the province.
Officials deemed 1,018 more cases to be resolved as of Friday, bringing the total number of recovered patients in the province to 76,238.
There are currently 11,630 active COVID-19 cases in Ontario.
According to the province’s data released on Friday, there are 452 COVID-19 patients being treated in Ontario hospitals. Of those patients, 106 are in intensive care and 67 of those 106 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
On Thursday, the Ontario government released new COVID-19 modelling, projecting that the province could see 6,500 cases per day by mid-December if cases grow at a rate of five per cent.
Under the five per cent growth scenario, Ontario could see more than 400 patients in intensive care within the next six weeks.
According to the government, non-COVID-19 capacity and all scheduled surgeries at Ontario hospitals can be maintained when there are less than 150 novel coronavirus patients being treated in intensive care.
Once that number rises above 150, it becomes harder to support non-COVID-19 needs and once that number exceeds 350, it becomes “impossible,” the government said.
After the projections were released publicly, Premier Doug Ford said he would “make a decision” on how to move forward after a briefing from his health team on Friday morning.
On Friday afternoon, Ford announced that the province is lowering the thresholds for its COVID-19 colour-coded system, putting additional regions in the “red zone.”
“Today, on the recommendation of our Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, and on the advice of our public health measures table, we’re updating our COVID-19 framework with new thresholds,” Ford said. “We see the numbers rapidly increasing.”
“Dr. Williams has also updated his advice to everyone who lives in a red control zone. Limit your trips outside the home except essential reasons, like going to work, school, getting groceries, keeping a medical appointment, or exercising, work remotely where possible, families should not, I repeat not, visit any other households or allow visitors to their homes, and please avoid social gatherings. These adjustments, they are necessary to respond to the latest evidence and we may need to make further adjustments in the future.”
Ford added “we are staring down the barrel of another lockdown,” and said he will “not hesitate for a second if we have to go further.”
Under the revised framework, Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region, Hamilton, and York Region will be in the “red zone.”
Where are the new COVID-19 cases?
Of the new cases logged on Friday, 440 are in both Toronto and Peel Region, 155 are in York Region, 55 are in Halton Region, 43 are in both Waterloo and Hamilton, and 41 are in both Ottawa and Durham Region.
Most of the new infections logged on Friday are in people between the ages of 20 and 39, with 514 cases recorded in that age category. There were also 409 new infections found in people between the ages of 40 and 59, and 183 new infections in people between the ages of 60 and 79. People 19 years of age and younger account for 212 of the new infections and 85 new infections were found in people 80 years of age of older.
COVID-19 testing in Ontario
Since the start of the pandemic in January, Ontario has conducted more than 5.5 million tests for the novel coronavirus.
In the last-recorded 24-hour period, 40,509 tests were completed, resulting in a test positive rate of an estimated 3.4 per cent. That is up from about 2.4 per cent at this time last week.
There are currently 45,507 tests remaining under investigation in the province.
The province has yet to reach its COVID-19 testing capacity of 50,000 per day.