COVID-19 cases in Ontario drop below 4,000, but positivity rate rises slightly

Ontario health officials are reporting more than 3,800 new cases of COVID-19, marking a slight drop in infections following a record high the day before.

The province confirmed 3,813 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday. Just the day before, the province added 4,227 new infections, which is the highest number of cases reported over a 24-hour period since the pandemic started.

The only other time the province reported a higher total that 4,227 was on Jan 8, when officials reported 4,249 new cases, but that was due to a data backlog.

While case numbers dropped on Saturday, the province positivity rate rose slightly. With 61,439 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province said its COVID-19 positivity rate rose from 6.3 per cent on Friday to 6.5 per cent on Saturday.

The province’s seven-day average for number of cases recorded is now 3,213, up from 2,552 one week ago.

Health officials also reported that 19 more people have died in Ontario due to COVID-19. In total, the province has seen 7,531 deaths related to the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

The province reported that 1,524 people are currently in hospital due to the disease. At least 585 of these patients are being treated in intensive care and 384 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

The Ontario government issued two emergency orders on Friday evening to help increase critical care capacity in the province after hospitals were ordered to ramp down on elective surgeries amid surging COVID-19 cases.

The province also deemed 2,422 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Saturday, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 343,622.

Saturday’s report brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 382,152, including deaths and recoveries.

Where are the COVID-19 cases in Ontario?

Most of the new cases reported on Saturday are concentrated in hot spot regions in the Greater Toronto Area. Officials reported 973 new cases in Toronto, 669 in Peel Region and 442 in York Region.

Several other regions reported new infection totals in the triple digits on Saturday. Ottawa reported 289 cases, Durham Region reported 281, Hamilton reported 146 new cases, Middlesex-London reported 141 cases, Niagara Region reported 120 cases and Halton Region reported 112 new cases.

The Ontario government entered a provincewide stay-at-home order on Thursday in order to curb the spread of the deadly disease.

The order closed all non-essential businesses for in-person shopping for at least a month in order to deal with the third wave.

Variants in Ontario

The province reported 1,721 new cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK variant) in Ontario on Saturday. The total case count for the strain now stands at 13,213.

Officials identified no new cases of the B.1.351 (South African variant), and so the total case count in the province remains at 76.

In addition, the province added one more case of the P.1 (Brazilian variant) on Friday, which brings its total number of cases to 134.

More than 330K people fully vaccinated in Ontario

The province reports that 330,982 people in Ontario have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are now considered vaccinated against the disease.

In the last 24-hour period, officials said that 104,783 doses of the vaccine were administered to residents in the province.