Ontario reports more than 4,400 new COVID-19 infections, positivity rate at 10 per cent

TORONTO — Ontario is reporting more than 4,400 new COVID-19 cases as the test positivity rate for the disease climbs back up to 10 per cent.

Monday’s report of 4,447 infections represents an increase from the 4,250 logged on Sunday. Another 4,362 cases were logged on Saturday and a record 4,812 were added on Friday.

With 42,873 tests processed in the last 24 hours, officials say Ontario’s COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 10.5 per cent. The province’s positivity rate reached 10.3 per cent a week ago today, marking the highest level seen since April 2020 when it climbed to 17 per cent. For context, health experts have said that any positivity rate above five per cent is “too high.”

Meanwhile, the province’s health-care system continues to be stretched with an all-time high of 2,202 COVID-19 patients in hospital. Of those patients, 755 are being treated in intensive care and 516 are breathing on a ventilator.

As well, 19 more deaths related to the disease were reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the provincial death toll to 7,735.

Ontario’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 case total now sits at 421,442, including those deaths and 370,844 recoveries.

Right now, there are 42,863 active cases of the disease throughout Ontario. The seven-day average for number of cases reported in the province is 4,347. A week ago, that number was 3,781.

The government introduced additional public health measures on Friday to curb the spread of infection, including restrictions on non-essential interprovincial travel, limits on public outdoor gatherings, and the closure of recreational amenities such as golf courses and basketball courts.

Special powers granted to police, which allowed officers to stop any person on the street or in a vehicle to question their reasons for leaving their homes, were walked back by the government following intense backlash.

The decision to close playgrounds provincewide was also reversed.  

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the cases reported Monday were found in Toronto (1,299), Peel (926) and York (233) regions, Ottawa (233) and Hamilton (227).

Other public health units that recorded new case numbers in the triple digits include Durham (205), Niagara (203), and Halton (169) regions, as well as Simcoe-Muskoka (114).

Ontario is currently operating under a provincewide stay-at-home order which was extended by two weeks on Friday and is set to expire on May 20 at the earliest. 

Another 2,467 cases of COVID-19 U.K. variant found

Since yesterday, health officials confirmed another 2,467 cases of the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7.

There are now 36,579 confirmed cases of the variant, which was first discovered in the U.K., in Ontario.

Four more cases of P.1 (Brazilian variant) were also found, bringing the case total to 211.

The number of B.1.351 (South African variant) infections remains unchanged at 104.

Labs have confirmed mutations in more than 27,000 swabs since they began searching for variants of concern in February. 

Update on vaccinations

The province said it has administered 3.9 million COVID-19 vaccines since it began inoculating people back in December.

At least 346,005 people have received both their first and second shots and are considered by the Ministry of Health to be fully vaccinated against the disease.

On Sunday, the province announced it would lower the age eligibility of the AstraZeneca vaccine from 55 years and older to 40 years and older in an effort to get more needles into arms.

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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