Ontario records more than 4,300 new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations cross 2,000

TORONTO — Health officials in Ontario are reporting more than 4,300 new cases of COVID-19 as the number of patients in hospital with the disease crosses the 2,000 mark for the first time.

The 4,362 infections logged Saturday represent a decrease from Friday’s record-breaking 4,812 cases. The province broke a record on Thursday as well when it recorded 4,736 cases.

There are currently 2,065 patients in hospital with COVID-19, the highest number ever reported by the province. Of those patients, a record 726 are being treated in intensive care.

Labs across the province processed 56,852 tests in the last 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 6.9 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.

Since the pandemic began, the province has logged 412,745 cases of COVID-19. That number includes 364,353 recoveries and 7,698 deaths, 34 of which were reported since yesterday.

Right now, there are 40,694 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario. The seven-day average for number of cases reported in the province is 4,370. This time last week, that number was 3,213.

On Friday, the province introduced a number of new public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Those measures include a restriction on interprovincial travel, new limits on outdoor gatherings, reduced capacity at essential retailers and places of worship, and a two week extension on the provincewide stay-at-home order.

The province also granted police officers the power to stop individuals on the street or in their vehicles to question their reasons for leaving the house, a measure several Ontario forces say they are rejecting

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the cases reported Saturday were found in Toronto (1,162), Peel Region (936), York Region (430), and Durham Region (301).

Other public health units that reported case numbers in the triple digits today include Ottawa, Simcoe-Muskoka, Middlesex-London, Hamilton, Halton Region, and Niagara Region. 

More than 2,000 more cases of COVID-19 U.K. variant confirmed

In the last 24 hours, health officials said they found more than 2,000 more cases of the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7.

This brings the case total for the strain, which was first found in the U.K., to 32,327.

Another five infections of the P.1 strain (Brazilian variant) were also found, bringing the case total to 207.

Labs confirmed two more cases of B.1.1351 (South African variant) which pushes the case total to 101.

Since the province began screening for variants of concern in COVID-19 tests, it has found mutations in more than 26,000 swabs.

Update on vaccinations

The province says it has administered 3,751,316 vaccinations since needles started going into arms in December.

At least 344,244 people have received both their first and second shots and are considered to be fully vaccinated by the Ministry of Health.

Backstory:

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.

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