TORONTO -- Ontario reported its lowest COVID-19 positivity rate in months as the province added more than 1,500 new cases and 88 deaths related to the disease.

With 64,467 tests processed in the last 24 hours, Ontario’s positivity rate stands at 2.6 per cent. The last time that number was that low was on Oct. 24 when the same rate was reported by the province.

The 1,563 new infections found bring Ontario’s lab-confirmed case total to 273,660, including 6,393 deaths and 250,937 recoveries.

Of the 88 COVID-19-related deaths recorded in the previous day, 36 involved residents of a long-term care home. 

Ontario's seven-day average for number of cases reported is 1,599. A week ago today, that number was as high as 2,128.

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the new infections were found in Toronto (584), Peel Region (265) and York Region (132).

School boards in those areas learned Wednesday that students would not be returning to class on Feb. 10 as previously planned, in an effort to curb the spread of infection.

Instead, schools in Toronto, Peel and York regions will reopen on Feb. 16 while in-person learning for most of southern Ontario will resume on Feb. 8.

As part of an extended winter break, all students began their studies in January with online learning. Schools in northern Ontario reopened on Jan. 11 while 11 other public health units in southern Ontario reopened in the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, several other jurisdictions in Ontario reported new case numbers in the mid to high double digits including Hamilton, Halton and Niagara regions.

There are currently 1,101 patients in hospital with COVID-19, a number that has been steadily dropping in recent days.

Of those patients, 323 are receiving treatment in intensive care and 241 are breathing on a ventilator.

Update on vaccines

As of Thursday, the province says that 80,977 residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In total, 355,055 shots have been administered since inoculations began in December with 6,724 injections taking place in the last 24 hours.

The province is currently operating in the first phase of its vaccine rollout, which has seen limited doses available for health care workers in hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes, other congregate care settings and remote Indigenous communities.

With files from Katherine DeClerq


The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.