For the second day in a row, Ontario is reporting close to 1,000 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the province's seven-day average higher than ever before.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are also on the rise, with 381 patients currently admitted. That number is up significantly from the same time last week when there were 322 patients in hospital.
Of those 381 patients, the Ministry of Health said that 86 are being treated in an intensive care unit and 48 are breathing on a ventilator.
The 998 new infections reported Thursday are up slightly over the 987 cases logged a day earlier. On Tuesday, the province added 1,050 new cases, the highest number of infections reported in a single day.
The province's seven-day average for number of cases reported now stands at 981. With 35,754 tests performed for the disease in the previous day, Ontario's positivity rate now stands at 2.8 per cent.
Another 13 deaths related to COVID-19 were recorded in Ontario over the last 24 hours.
In total, there are 80,690 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, including 3,195 deaths and 69,137 recoveries.
According to the province's daily epidemiologic summary, 361 of the new infections were reported in people between the ages of 20 and 39. That age group now accounts for 29,167 lab-confirmed infections, the most of any age group in Ontario.
Another 257 cases were reported in people between the ages of 40 and 59. Additionally, 170 cases were reported in people 19 years of age and younger and 126 cases were reported in people between the ages of 60 and 79.
Eighty-four new cases were reported in people 80 years of age and older.
Where are the new COVID-19 cases?
Most of the new cases are in Toronto (350), Peel Region (269), York Region (71) and Ottawa (45), all regions currently under a modified version of the Ontario government’s Stage 2 public health restrictions.
Halton (47), the City of Hamilton (37), and Durham Region (33) are also reporting new infections in the double digits, however none of those areas are currently observing any enhanced health measures.
Earlier this week the Ontario government unveiled a new shutdown system that would provide more transparency for when to impose lockdowns and closures due to COVID-19.
The new framework means that each of Ontario's 34 public health units will be placed in one of five categories, based on their current COVID-19 trends. Each category comes with a different set of restrictions for businesses.
The government will finalize and announce where each public health unit is placed in the system on Friday.
Meanwhile, several regions across Ontario logged fewer than five new cases. In fact, at least eight of the province's 34 public health units recorded zero new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ontario has completed more than 5.2 million tests for the disease. There are 41,787 tests under investigation.