Ontario reports over 500 new COVID-19 cases for second day straight

Ontario has logged more than 500 new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row.

Health officials recorded 574 cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, as well as four more deaths related to the disease.

The new infections represent a slight decrease from the 590 cases reported on Thursday.

The seven-day rolling average of daily cases in Ontario now stands at about 568, down from 889 the previous week.

The province’s positivity rate now stands at about 2.0 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health, with 28,949 tests processed in the last 24-hour period.

As of Monday, there are 489 people hospitalized with the novel coronavirus. Of those patients, 440 patients are in the ICU.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario now stands at 538,651, including 8,935 deaths and 523532 recoveries.

On Friday at 12:01 a.m., the province entered Step 1 of its reopening plan.

In Step 1, patios and non-essential retail are allowed to open to in-person service. Outdoor gatherings will also be allowed with an increased 10-person cap.

WHERE ARE THE NEW CASES?

The municipalities with the most new COVID-19 cases include Toronto (109), Peel (84), and Waterloo (79).

Porcupine Public Health Unit, which was held back from entering Step 1 of the provincial reopening due to high positivity rates, is reporting 51 new infections.

VARIANT OF CONCERN UPDATE

According to the province’s epidemiology report, 1,190 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant were identified in lab-positive tests in the previous 24-hours. These new cases bring the total number of B.1.1.7. variants in Ontario to 137,307.

The province also identified an additional case of the P.1. variant, bringing the total identified in Ontario to 4,099.

Ontario is not publicly reporting cases of the B.1.617 variant originally found in India, despite health experts say the easily transmissible variant could be the cause of a fourth wave in the province.

MORE THAN 10.8 MILLION VACCINE DOSES ADMINISTERED

According to the province’s Ministry of Health, Ontario has administered 10,827,420 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in total.

Of the more than 10 million doses administered, 199,951 of them went into arms on Thursday alone.

“I promised you that as soon as we had sufficient supply, we would ramp up to administer millions of vaccines each month. Thank you to everyone for your help getting us here,” Premier Doug Ford wrote on Twitter Friday to mark the milestone.

Over 1.5 million Ontarians have received both doses and are considered to be fully vaccinated by the Ministry of Health.