Ontario marked two grim milestones on Thursday, as the province set a new single-day high in COVID-19 infections — which pushed the total number of cases since the pandemic started last year to beyond 400,000.
Provincial health officials reported 4,736 new cases, a rise from 4,156 cases on Wednesday. The previous daily high was 4,456 cases on April 11 of this year.
More than 23,000 Canadians have died as a result of the virus, and 7,639 of those deaths have been in Ontario. The province recorded another 29 virus-related deaths on Thursday.
Nearly 62 per cent of Ontario’s new infections were in the GTA, with Toronto leading the way with 1,188, followed by 983 in Peel Region, 526 in York Region, and 216 in Durham Region.
The 400,000-plus caseload came less than two months after the province logged 300,000 cases overall on Feb. 24. Prior to that February marker, it took less than a month for the caseload to hit 200,000, which occurred on Jan. 6.
Ontario had its first case on Jan. 25 last year and reached the 100,000 mark 10 months later on Nov. 20.
Out of the 403,571 overall cases in the province, more than 354,000 cases have been resolved.
More than 65,000 tests were completed in the past 24 hours, with a positivity rate of eight per cent, a drop from 8.6 per cent the day before.
Health officials said 659 people were currently in the province’s intensive care units, as the number of overall hospitalizations grew to 1,932. Of the ICU admissions, 442 patients are in the ICU on a ventilator.
As ICU admissions continue to rise, the Ministry of Health said a COVID-19 field hospital at Sunnybrook Hospital could be activated later this month. The province said the temporary beds will free up critical care capacity within hospitals.
Health officials have said the more transmissible variants have driven the third wave of the pandemic, which has sent more people to hospital over the past several weeks. So far, the province has recorded 27,564 cases of a variant of concern, with 27,278 of the cases being the variant first confirmed in the United Kingdom.
While the province has ramped up its vaccination rollout, some clinics have had to either cancel or pause bookings due to limited supply. An additional 105,430 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the previous daily update, and so far, more than 339,000 Ontarians have been fully vaccinated.
With a report from The Canadian Press