Ontario reported more than 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the third day in a row, as the province’s second stay-at-home order went into effect on Thursday morning.
Another 19 people have died in the province as a result of the virus. The provincial death toll now sits at 7,494.
Health officials said there were 3,295 new infections, a slight rise from 3,215 cases on Wednesday. Toronto had the most new cases at 933, with 649 in Peel Region, 386 in York Region, and 165 in Durham Region.
The provincial government continues to grapple with how to bring the pandemic’s third wave under control amid rising cases and deaths, and increased hospitalizations especially to intensive care units (ICU).
According to the latest data, 1,417 people are currently hospitalized in Ontario and 525 of those patients are currently in the ICU with a COVID-19-related critical illness. Critical Care Services Ontario, which tracks hospitalizations in the province, stated in its daily report that 57 people were admitted in the past 24 hours.
The positivity rate dropped from 6.7 per cent the previous day to six per cent with the province completing nearly 64,000 tests in the previous day.
Health experts have said that the surge in infections has been driven by the more infectious variants. Ontario has 9,838 overall cases of a variant of concern, with 1,331 additional cases recorded in the latest update. Of that total, 9,632 are of the variant first discovered in the United Kingdom.
The spike in the VOC number over the previous day is due to the fact Public Health Ontario has re-categorized some of its testing data to include all presumed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in their total case count.
As the province expands its vaccination rollout, an additional 108,563 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered on Wednesday, and so far, more than 326,000 Ontarians have received two doses.