TORONTO -- There are now more than 6,000 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.

Provincial health officials added another 478 cases on Friday morning, as they confirmed 22 more deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

The death toll for the province stands at 222. However, a scan of the province’s 34 public health units found 269 deaths due to COVID-19.There is a 16 hour lag between when numbers are pulled from the province's integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) and when the numbers are released to the public, according to health officials.

Of the deceased, 136 are listed as 80 years or older, 70 are between the ages of 60 and 79, 15 are between the ages of 40 and 59, while the youngest deceased person is listed as being between the ages of 20 and 39.

There are currently 73 outbreaks at long-term care homes across the province. As a result of those outbreaks, the province has reported the deaths of 98 residents.

Overall, the province says that 673 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, an increase of 41 from the day earlier. Of those 673, 260 patients are receiving care in an intensive care unit, 217 of which are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. 

Close to 700 health care workers in Ontario have also contracted the virus. 

Ontario health officials say that 2,574 people have recovered from the virus, which represents 41.3 per cent of the total cases.

As of Friday morning, 1,598 people are currently under investigation for the virus. The province has tested 92,673 people so far.

READ MORE: Ontario won’t reach Ford's 13K per day COVID-19 testing benchmark for weeks

There is growing concern over the speed in which the province is conducting these tests. Ontario’s capacity for testing COVID-19 sits at 13,000 tests per day, though only 5,573 tests were completed in the past 24 hours.

Earlier this week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that the province needs to start testing "everyone possible" for COVID-19, adding that his patience for slow testing “has run thin.”

On Friday, the government announced a new testing strategy that will begin expanded testing of paramedics, police, correctional officers, inmates, residents of group homes, residents of Indigenous reserves, and occupants of homeless shelters.

The strategy will see the number of daily tests climb to about 8,000 by April 15, 12,500 tests a day by April 22 and 16,000 tests per day by May 6.

When asked about his previous demand that 13,000 people be tested each day as soon as possible, Ford defended the new plan, saying testing numbers would double in days.

How is COVID-19 spreading in Ontario?

According to Friday’s epidemiologic summary, 1,265 patients contracted the virus through community transmission, representing 20.3 per cent of all reported cases in the province.

Health officials said that 1,063 patients had travelled within the 14 days prior to becoming ill. Roughly 370 patients had travelled to the United States, 106 had travelled to the United Kingdom and 58 had travelled on board a cruise ship.

Of the 6,237 cases in Ontario, 1,012 patients contracted the virus through close contact with a confirmed case, or 16.2 per cent.

The exposure information for close to half of all those patients (2,897) is listed as pending.

Quick facts on all COVID-19 patients in Ontario:

  • 52.9 per cent of all cases in Ontario were reported by Greater Toronto Area public health units
  • 54.1 per cent of all patients are female and 45.3 per cent are male—37 cases did not specify their gender
  • 34.6 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 40 and 59
  • 25.2 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 20 and 39
  • 24.2 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 60 and 79
  • 13.4 per cent of all patients are 80 years of age or older
  • 2.4 per cent of all patients are 19 year of age or younger
  • Six cases had an unknown age, according to provincial health officials

With files from Chris Herhalt