Ontario reports more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases as stay-at-home order takes effect

Health officials in Ontario are reporting more than 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the third consecutive day as a provincewide stay-at-home order takes effect.

The 3,295 infections logged Thursday are up from the 3,215 reported on Wednesday and the 3,065 reported on Tuesday.

The last time case numbers were this high was on January 17 when 3,422 cases were added, three days after the province's first stay-at-home order was introduced. 

Ontario's seven-day average for number of cases reported is currently 3,093. This time last week, that number was 2,341.

Meanwhile, ICU admissions across the province related to COVID-19 have reached an all-time high. Right now, there are 525 patients in intensive care and 331 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

In total, there are 1,417 people in an Ontario hospital with COVID-19, according to the Ministry of Health.  

On Wednesday, the government introduced its second stay-at-home order in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, while also relieving the strain on the province’s health-care system.

The province also declared its third state of emergency since the start of the pandemic to invoke the new measures, which include the closure of all non-essential businesses to indoor shopping for at least 28 days.

With 63,846 tests processed in the previous day, Ontario's COVID-19 positivity rate is at six per cent, the province said.

Thursday's report brings Ontario's COVID-19 case count to 374,112, including 338,559 recoveries and 7,494 deaths. At least 19 of those deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 28,059 active cases of the novel coronavirus across the province. 

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the cases logged Thursday were found in Toronto (933), Peel (649), and York Region (386).

Other regions that reported more than 100 new COVID-19 infections today include Durham (165), Ottawa (160), Halton (156), Middlesex-London (125), Simcoe-Muskoka (124) and Niagara (110).

Toronto and Peel Region have regularly reported the highest daily case counts throughout the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the government announced that it would expand its vaccination efforts to give the shot to education workers and people over the age of 18 who are currently living in areas determined to be at high risk of infection.

More than 1,300 new cases of U.K. variant confirmed

In the past 24 hours, health officials confirmed 1,317 more cases of the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7.

The case count for the strain, which was first discovered in the U.K., now stands at 9,632.

As well, 11 more cases of the mutation known as P.1 (Brazilian variant) were confirmed, bringing the case total to 131.

Three more instances of B.1.351 (South African variant) were also found, which brings the case total to 75.

The province has detected COVID-19 mutations in 23,130 swabs since it began screening for variants earlier this year. However, those tests have not yet been linked back to a known variant of concern.

Update on COVID-19 vaccinations

The province said it administered 108,563 COVID-19 vaccines in the past 24 hours.

Since needles started going into arms last December, 2,834,784 shots have been administered.

At least 326,360 people have received both their first and second shots of a vaccine and are considered to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.