COVID-19 case numbers in Ontario remain below 300 for fifth straight day

TORONTO — Ontario is reporting a little over 250 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, marking the fifth consecutive day in which case numbers have remained below the 300 mark.

Health officials logged 256 infections of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours which is a slight decrease from Thursday’s total when 296 were added.

A day earlier, the province recorded 255 cases and the lowest single-day case total reported since Sept. 15.

Friday’s report brings Ontario’s COVID-19 case total to 543,571, including 531,571 recoveries and 9,101 deaths—two of which were reported since yesterday.

The Ministry of Health said that labs across the province processed 26,561 tests Thursday, yielding a positivity rate of 1.3 per cent.

The seven-day average for number of cases reported stands at 292. A week ago, that number was 410.

Right now, there are 2,899 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario.

There are currently 275 patients in hospital with COVID-19. Of those patients, 284 are being treated in an intensive care unit and 173 are on a ventilator.

It should be noted that the total number of hospitalizations stated by the province Friday is actually lower than that of ICU admissions, which may be due to a delay in patient reporting. 

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Of the cases reported by the province on Friday, most were found in Waterloo (39), Peel Region (38), and Toronto (36).

Other areas that recorded case counts in the double digits include Grey Bruce (18), Hamilton (17), and Porcupine Health Unit (11).

On Thursday, the province announced that it would move to Step 2 of its reopening plan two days early while citing declining case numbers and the increased rate of vaccinations across the province.

As of June 30, residents will be allowed to book personal care services, meet with up to 25 people outdoors, and host indoor gatherings of up to five people.

READ MORE: What’s allowed when Ontario enters Step 2 of its COVID-19 reopening plan

The province had originally expected to enter Step 2 on July 2.

However, the Region of Waterloo will remain in Step 1 due to current COVID-19 transmission trends and the prevalence of the Delta variant, local health officials said.

Also, Porcupine Health Unit, which has remained under lockdown measures as the rest of the province reopened on June 11, will enter Step 1 today.

Update on COVID-19 variants of concern

Health officials confirmed 139 more instances of COVID-19 variants of concern in the last 24-hour period.

Labs found 110 additional cases of the Alpha variant, B.1.1.7, bringing the case total to 143,035.

Another 24 cases of the Delta variant, B.1.617.2, were also found, pushing its case total to 1,080.

There were five other cases of the Beta variant, B.1.351, reported, which brings the case total for the strain to 1,161.

No new cases of the Gamma variant, P.1, were recorded Thursday and the case total remains unchanged at 4,270.

Record number of vaccinations administered

The province said it administered a record 246,393 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

Throughout Ontario’s seven-month vaccination campaign, 13,569,209 needles have gone into arms, including 3.76 million people who have received both shots and are considered to be fully vaccinated.

On Friday, the government announced that adults in Ontario who received an mRNA vaccine will become eligible to book a second shot next week.

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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