Ontario sees 3,682 new COVID-19 cases as ICU admissions climb to pandemic high

Ontario reported another 3,682 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 40 more deaths linked to the illness on Thursday, as overall admissions to intensive care units topped 800.

The 40 additional deaths in today’s update are the most on a single day during the third wave of the pandemic in the province. The seven-day average of daily deaths, a lagging indicator that follows surges in cases, climbed to 27.1, also a third-wave high. 

For comparison, the seven-day average of deaths in Ontario peaked at more than 60 during the second wave earlier this year, before most residents of long-term care and retirement homes had been vaccinated.

The official death toll stands at 7,829. 

According to the Ministry of Health, there are now 806 people with COVID-related critical illnesses in Ontario’s ICUs. Some 588 of those patients require a ventilator to breathe. Both figures are all-time highs.

While the rate of growth in cases appears to be slowing, Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table cautioned that rising admissions to ICUs are essentially “baked in” for the next several weeks.

The Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday that Ontario’s chief medical officer of health issued a new directive to hospitals in northern Ontario to stop all non-emergency surgeries to make room for patient transfers. Pediatric hospitals were the only facilities exempt from the  directive, the ministry said.

That marked a significant expansion of an earlier order of the same nature to hospitals throughout southern Ontario. 

Speaking on April 1, when the science table warned that ICU admissions would likely exceed 800 by the end of the month, co-chair Adalsteinn Brown said the province would face the “definite possibility” of triaging emergency care. 

“Eight-hundred is a place where we are not able to provide all of the care that we would want to people … That is a place where clinicians have to make hard decisions you would never want them to have to make,” he said at the time.

“You will see loss of life.”

WATCH | Who gets critical care in Ontario ICUs as demand surges?

Dr. James Downar, co-author of a triage strategy for Ontario’s critically ill patients, says the plan prioritizes those likely to survive in the next 12 months, whatever their illness or injury. 9:08

The new cases reported today include:

  • 1,131 in Toronto
  • 507 in Peel Region
  • 436 in York Region
  • 279 in Ottawa
  • 200 in Durham Region
  • 165 in Niagara Region
  • 144 in Hamilton
  • 129 in Halton Region
  • 113 in Middlesex-London

The seven-day average of daily cases fell to 4,176.

More to come.

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