Ontario reported another 4,212 cases of COVID-19 and 32 more deaths linked to the illness on Wednesday, as public health units administered a new high of 136,695 doses of vaccines yesterday..
The previous single-day high for vaccine doses was 115,634 on April 16. Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force has said it hopes to reach a benchmark of at least 150,000 shots per day when shipments of the Pfizer vaccine ramp up in coming weeks.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician and member of the task force, attributed the high “almost exclusively” to uptake of the AstraZeneca vaccine by adults over 40. The province lowered the eligibility age for the AstraZeneca vaccine to 40 from 55 last weekend.
Notably, a country-wide Rogers outage led to an undercount of the number of shots that were given out on Monday in Ontario because some clinics had to move to paper-based reporting. It’s not clear if any doses missed in Monday’s count were added to today’s figure, which would mean it could be artificially inflated. CBC Toronto has reached out to the Ministry of Health for clarification.
ICU admissions climb
The relatively positive vaccine news comes as admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) continue to climb.
There are now 790 patients being treated in ICUs for COVID-19-related critical illnesses, the most-ever in Ontario. Of those, 566 require a ventilator to breathe, also a new high, according to the Ministry of Health.
Critical Care Services Ontario, a government agency that compiles daily reports for hospitals, says that 72 more patients were sent to ICUs yesterday alone.
Ontario hospitals are transferring an unprecedented number of patients within the province as they try to make room for critically ill people while ensuring other patients still receive an appropriate level of care.
Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table, a group of experts who help guide the pandemic response, warned last week that even if daily case counts begin to level off or fall, increasing admissions to ICUs are “baked into” the next few weeks.
Modelling suggests that, depending on public adherence to provincial COVID-19 restrictions, total critical care admissions could exceed 1,000 in the coming weeks before beginning a slow decline.
Breakdown of new infections
Meanwhile, the new infections reported today include:
- 1,249 in Toronto
- 771 in Peel Region
- 386 in York Region
- 276 in Hamilton
- 214 in Durham Region
- 201 in Niagara Region
- 177 in Ottawa
- 168 in Halton Region
- 124 in Simcoe Muskoka
- 120 in Waterloo Region
- 117 in Middlesex-London
The seven-day average of new daily cases sits at 4,327. While it’s too soon to say for certain, it appears that a month-long period of exponential growth in the seven-day average has begun to level off in recent days.
Yesterday, labs completed 51,877 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and logged a provincewide positivity rate of 7.9 per cent.
The 32 additional deaths in today’s update push the official toll to 7,789. The seven-day average of daily deaths is up to 25.6, a new high for the third wave of the pandemic.
More to come.
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