Ontario reports more than 2,300 new COVID-19 cases as ICU admissions drop below 800

TORONTO — Ontario is reporting more than 2,300 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday as the number of patients in intensive care with the disease drops below 800 for the first time in weeks.

The 2,320 infections mark a slight increase over Tuesday’s total when 2,073 were logged, which was the lowest number of cases reported since March 24.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Health, there are currently 776 patients in an intensive care unit with COVID-19. The last time ICU admissions fell below the 800 mark was on March 21 when 790 patients were receiving treatment.

Meanwhile, labs across Ontario conducted 45,681 tests for the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, yielding a positivity rate of 6.4 per cent. Testing numbers had slumped on Monday and Tuesday with just under 30,000 tests performed each day.

The seven-day average for number of cases reported is 2,826. A week ago, that number was 3,432.

Wednesday’s report brings the total number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario to 499,412.

That number includes 461,076 cases that are considered to be resolved and 8,374 deaths, 32 of which were reported since yesterday.

Right now, there are 29,962 active cases of the novel coronavirus in the province.

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the cases reported Wednesday were found in Toronto (712), Peel Region (452), and York Region (157).

Case counts in the triple digits were also reported in Durham Region (139), Hamilton (113), and Ottawa (105).

Ontario has been under a provincewide stay-at-home order for over a month. The order is set to expire on May 20, however public health officials have hinted that it is likely to be extended

COVID-19 U.K. variant case count nears 100,000

Since labs began searching for COVID-19 variants of concern, the Ministry of Health says that nearly 100,000 cases of the U.K. strain have been confirmed.

At least 2,949 cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, pushing the case total to 98,495.

As well, 91 cases of P.1 (Brazilian variant) were found, which brings the case total to 1,683.

Another 38 instances of B.1.351 (South African variant) were also found. There are 568 confirmed cases of that variant in Ontario.

The province does not report how many cases of the B.1.617 variant, first discovered in India, are found in the province. 

Number of Ontarians fully vaccinated crosses 400K

The province says that as of Wednesday, 402,258 residents have received both a first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and are considered to be fully vaccinated against the disease.

So far, 6.4 million needles have gone into arms across Ontario with more than 140,000 shots being administered in the previous day.

On Tuesday, Ontario’s top doctor announced that the government would be pausing the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine as a first dose following an increase in reports of rare, but possibly deadly, blood clots. 

Health Minister Christine Elliott is set to provide an update on Ontario’s vaccine rollout at noon. 

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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