Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, is scheduled to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation in the province at 3 p.m. ET. She is expected to be joined by Dr. Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s chief coroner and a member of the COVID-19 vaccine task force.
You’ll be able to watch it live in this story.
Ontario reported 4,736 new cases of COVID-19 and a third-wave high of 29 more deaths of people with the illness on Thursday as total hospitalizations climbed to more than 1,900.
There are 1,932 patients with COVID-19 in the province’s hospitals, according to the Ministry of Health. Of those, 659 are being treated in intensive care for COVID-related illnesses — also a new high — and 623 continue to test positive for the virus. Some 442 people in critical care require a ventilator to breathe.
Critical Care Services Ontario, a government agency that compiles a daily tally of hospitalizations for hospitals and health organizations, says that that 64 more people with COVID-19 were admitted to ICUs yesterday alone.
The Ministry of Health told the Canadian Press that Ontario may activate a field hospital that was assembled in the parking lot at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto as hospitals in the city and surrounding regions struggle with an influx of patients.
The additional cases reported in today’s provincial update include:
- 1,188 in Toronto.
- 983 in Peel Region.
- 526 in York Region.
- 342 in Ottawa.
- 216 in Durham Region.
- 215 in Niagara Region.
- 181 in Middlesex-London.
- 150 in Hamilton.
- 140 in Halton Region.
- 118 in Simcoe-Muskoka.
- 102 in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph.
Moderna shipment delayed
Labs completed 65,559 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and logged a provincewide positivity rate of eight per cent.
The seven-day average of daily cases climbed to 4,208, a new pandemic peak by a considerable margin.
The 28 further deaths of people with COVID-19 bring the official toll to 7,639. The seven-day average of deaths rose to 20.7 per day, a new high for the third wave of the pandemic. Ontario saw it’s highest seven-day average for daily deaths in January, when it topped 60.
The stark figures come as Ontario learned that another shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna will be delayed. The shipment of 448,400 doses was scheduled to arrive next week, but now the province says it will not get to Ottawa until May 3 at the earliest.
Provincial officials have pointed to inconsistent deliveries of the Moderna vaccine as a key factor in the current pace of Ontario’s immunization campaign.
Yesterday, two major health networks in Toronto announced they would be halting registrations or cancelling appointments entirely because of inadequate supplies of vaccines. Both the University Health Network and the Scarborough Health Network — which serve some of the hardest-hit communities in Ontario — will temporarily shutter mass vaccination clinics until more doses are distributed to their teams.
Ontario has capacity to vaccinate up to 150,000 people daily, the province’s vaccine task force says, but is currently averaging about 98,000.
Public health units administered 105,430 shots yesterday, according to the Ministry of Health. A total of 339,491 people in the province have now gotten both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Ontario has used 3,528,404, or about 73 per cent, of the 4,852,885 doses it has received from the federal government to date, though some 303,000 of those total doses arrived only yesterday.
Variants outpacing vaccinations
Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table, a group of experts that informs the government’s pandemic response, has repeatedly warned that the spread of variants of concern is vastly outpacing the immunization effort. The group says that variants account for about 65 per cent of all new cases in the province, though that figure is likely an underestimate due to delays in testing and lab work.
Local health officials in the Grey Bruce Health Unit, located about 100 kilometres northwest of Toronto on the shores of Lake Huron, are telling residents to stay home for the next two days as variants of concern surge in the region of about 162,000 people. They say the move is necessary as after 70 new cases were confirmed in the region in the past 36 hours.
Officials are also shutting down the Grey Bruce Health Unit information line and cancelling a mass vaccination clinic planned for Saturday to redeploy staff to case management and contact tracing.
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