Ontario records more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, 19 more deaths

TORONTO — Ontario health officials are reporting more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 more deaths related to the disease.

Health officials confirmed 1,300 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday. The province has now reported fewer than 1,500 new cases for eight straight days.

On Thursday, the province reported 945 new cases and on Friday, it reported 1,076 new cases, but health officials noted those totals were underestimated due to a data issue in Toronto.

With 58,760 tests completed, the Ontario Ministry of Health reported a positivity rate of 2.3 per cent on Saturday.

The province’s seven-day average for number of cases recorded is now 1,167, down from 1,479 one week ago.

Of the 19 people who died due to COVID-19, health officials noted that three of them were residents in long-term care homes. In total, the province has recorded 6,651 deaths related to the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

Officials reported that 786 people are currently in hospital due to COVID-19. Of those patients, more than 287 are in intensive care, and 203 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

The province also deemed 1,434 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Saturday, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 265,893.

Saturday’s case count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 284,887, including deaths and recoveries.

Where are the COVID-19 cases in Ontario?

Of the 1,300 cases reported on Saturday, health officials said that 433 are in Toronto, 253 are in Peel Region and 116 are in York Region.

Most other regions in Ontario reported fewer than 61 new cases. Twenty-seven of these regions will transition into the province’s colour-coded reopening framework on Tuesday. Three regions already transitioned this past week.

Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and North Bay Parry Sound District, which reported seven new cases on Saturday, are not included in the regions moving into the tiered system and the stay-at-home order will remain in place until Feb. 22.

Variants in Ontario

Officials confirmed there are 297 cases of the U.K. variant, also known as B.1.1.7, and three cases of the South African variant, also known as B.1.351, found in Ontario as of Saturday.

The province has also noted that one case of the Brazil variant, also known as P.1, was also found recently in Ontario.

Provincial health officials reported that about 82.2 per cent of B.1.1.7. cases were associated with an outbreak or were a close contact of a confirmed case. About 7.1 per cent of cases were linked to travel, while about 10 per cent had no known epidemiological link.

This past week, experts, who presented the province’s most recent modelling data, warned that the COVD-19 variants could lead to a possible third wave of the disease.

They noted, however, that aggressive vaccination and a stay-at-home order could help combat the spread of these more-contagious variants.

A total of 164,307 people in Ontario have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are now fully vaccinated against the disease. 

Backstory:

NOTE: 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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