Ontario sees 256 new COVID-19 cases, hits new high of more than 246,000 vaccinations

Ontario reported 256 more cases of COVID-19 on Friday, while public health units hit a new single-day high for vaccinations for the second time this week. 

The 246,393 doses administered Thursday topped the previous high, set just two days earlier, by more than 19,000. Almost 89 per cent of the shots yesterday were second doses.

Ontario is now averaging more than 200,000 shots per day, and nearly 77 per cent of those aged 18 and older have had a first shot and more than 30 per cent are fully immunized.

A spokesperson for the minister of health said this morning that Christine Elliott received a second dose earlier this week. Like Premier Doug Ford, Elliott’s first shot was the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Unlike Ford, who opted for a subsequent dose of AstraZeneca yesterday, Elliott instead got an mRNA vaccine for her second — a decision in line with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s most recent guidance.

The province also announced today that it is offering faster second COVID-19 vaccine doses to more residents.

Starting Saturday, youth aged 12 to 17 who live in 10 hot spots for the delta variant of concern can book faster appointments starting at 8 a.m.

All adults in Ontario who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine can book accelerated second appointments on Monday.

That change means approximately 1.5 million Ontarians are about to be eligible for an accelerated second dose.

Meanwhile, today’s case count is down from last Friday, when the province reported 345 newly confirmed infections.

Labs completed more than 26,500 tests and Public Health Ontario logged a provincewide positivity rate of 1.3 per cent. Nine of the last 10 days have seen positivity rates below 2 per cent.

The seven-day average of daily cases fell to 281, its lowest point since Sept. 17, 2020. 

As of yesterday, there were 284 people being treated in intensive care units for COVID-related illnesses, including 10 who were transferred from hospitals in Manitoba. It is the first time the total number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs has dipped below 300 since February 20, or more than four months.

The Ministry of Health also recorded the deaths of two more people with the illness. A total of 9,101 people have died with COVID-19 in Ontario to date. 

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