Ontario reports 8 more COVID-19 deaths, drop in hospitalizations

Ontario reported eight more COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday as hospitalizations and ICU occupancy declined.

The Ministry of Health reported eight net new deaths which occurred over the past month.

There have been 13,351 virus-related deaths in the province since March 2020.

There are currently 506 patients with the virus in Ontario hospitals, down from 512 yesterday and from 522 a week ago.

Of those hospitalized patients, 43 per cent were admitted with the virus and 57 per cent were admitted for other reasons and subsequently tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, 115 of those hospitalized patients are in intensive care, down one from yesterday and up one from a week ago.

The ministry says 53 per cent of ICU patients were admitted with COVID and 47 per cent were admitted for other reasons and tested positive for the virus.

Officials say 49 ICU patients are breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Ontario labs processed 10,385 tests in the past 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 6.9 per cent, up from 6.4 per cent a week ago.

The province confirmed 786 more infections today but health officials say daily case counts are an underestimate due to limited access to PCR testing.

Among the latest cases, 532 of the individuals have received three or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, 104 have received two doses, 81 are partially or unvaccinated and 69 have an unknown vaccination status.

Yesterday, the province administered more than 13,900 vaccine doses across the province.

To date, 90 per cent of Ontarians aged five years and older have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 87 per cent have received two doses and 52 per cent have received three doses.

On Tuesday, the federal government announced that it will be suspending vaccine mandates for domestic and outbound international travel and federally regulated workers as of June 20.

The requirements for foreign nationals coming to Canada will not change.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says lifting the mandates should not result in a significant increase in COVID infections.

“I honestly don't think there's going to be much in the way of fallout from this, from an infection transmission standpoint, on public transportation. I don't and this is in the Omicron era. All these policies have to stay up to date and stay current with the science,” he told CP24 Wednesday morning.

As of Thursday, Ontario will be transitioning from daily COVID reporting to weekly data due to improving pandemic conditions.

Bogoch says he personally would have liked to see daily reporting remain in place.

“I think that the numbers can help drive smart behavioral changes and I think more granular information and transparency is obviously key. But you know, you don't want to obviously weaponize information and sometimes we saw that that could be happening as well. My bias would be to keep those daily updates. They were imperfect but still helpful,” he told CP24 Wednesday morning.