Ontario reports more than 3,000 new COVID-19 infections as ICU admissions cross 500

Ontario is reporting more than 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 as the number of patients in intensive care with the disease crosses 500 for the first time.

The 3,065 infections reported Tuesday mark a slight increase over Monday’s total when 2,938 were added.

This brings Ontario seven-day average for number of cases reported to 2,861. This time last week, that number was 2,207. 

There are currently 510 patients in the ICU with COVID-19, a number unseen in Ontario hospitals throughout the pandemic. Of those patients, 310 are currently breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. 

Labs across the province processed 37,541 COVID-19 tests in the last 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 8.9 per cent. The last time the province’s positivity rate was that high was in early January when it reached 9.4 per cent. 

Since the pandemic began, the province has logged 367,602 COVID-19 infections, including 333,576 recoveries and 7,458 deaths.

Eight of those deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health.

Right now, there are 26,568 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario.  

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the cases reported Tuesday were found in Toronto (955), Peel Region (561), and York Region (320).

Niagara, Halton and Durham regions, as well as Hamilton, all reported case numbers in the triple digits Tuesday. 

On Monday, the top doctors in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa called on the Ontario government to issue a provincewide stay-at-home order in an effort to control the surge of COVID-19 variants, a measure the province’s own science advisory table recommended last week.

The government has abstained from introducing such an order due to its “tremendous ill effect on both children and adults.” Ontario first observed a stay-at-home order following the Christmas holidays as case numbers surged.

On Saturday, Ontario entered a four-week provincewide “shutdown” which still allows for non-essential activities like indoor retail shopping.  

Mutations detected in another 1,068 COVID-19 tests

Since yesterday, more than 1,000 COVID-19 tests have screened positive for a mutation.

The 1,068 swabs bring Ontario’s total number of tests that have been flagged for a mutation of the novel coronavirus to 27,193. These swabs have not yet undergone genomic sequencing and, as such, have not been linked to a known variant of concern.

Since the province began tracking COVID-19 variants in Ontario, it has found 2,165 confirmed cases of B.1.1.7 (U.K. variant), 10 cases of P.1 (Brazilian variant), and 71 cases of B.1.1351 (South African variant).

Update on COVID-19 vaccinations

More than 323,000 Ontarians have received two shots of a COVID-19 vaccine and are considered to be fully vaccinated by the Ministry of Health.

Since inoculations began in December, 2,621,839 needles have gone into arms across the province. At least 76,199 shots were administered in the last 24 hours.