Ontario reports just under 14,000 new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations approach 1,000

By Lucas Casaletto

The province is reporting over 13,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time throughout the pandemic as patients admitted to the hospital begin to rise dramatically.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says Ontario recorded 13,807 new infections on Thursday, with 965 people now hospitalized with the virus. There are eight additional deaths.

Elliott says data is being updated to distinguish patients in hospital and the ICU for COVID-19 compared to those admitted for other reasons “but test positive.”

The seven-day average rose by 1,145 and is now over 10,000 cases per day (10,328), with the positivity rate the highest the province has seen to date, at 30.5 per cent.

Ontario recorded a new daily high of 10,436 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, just days after logging more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time in the pandemic.

Health experts warn that the precise number of new cases is likely higher as hospitals and testing centres have reached their limits. Recent data from Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table shows that the estimated percentage of daily cases caused by Omicron is 96.2 per cent.

The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) reported another increase in COVID-19 related hospital and ICU admissions, with 27 adults and 196 patients admitted in the last 24 hours. The OHA says 104 of these patients are on a ventilator as the seven-day rolling average of those in the ICU grows to 176.

Elliott says more than 197,000 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours.


Also today, new rules take effect at long-term care homes in the province, putting a pause on access to long-term care homes by general visitors and day absences for all residents for social purposes. Designated caregivers, however, may continue to enter long-term care homes.

While it is unclear if the Omicron wave is peaking, and despite the extreme climb in new cases, the early data in Ontario looks promising.

On average, the number of active cases in the two weeks leading up to Dec. 23 (before holiday schedules began to impact reporting) is lower than the previous two peaks.

From Dec. 10 to 23, there was an average of 17,487 active cases in Ontario. Active cases increased 253 per cent during that time from 9,193 to 32,412 and continue to rise. Hospitalizations, however, are markedly lower but are showing signs of gradually increasing.

Over the two weeks preceding Christmas, there were 342 people in a hospital — roughly 2.2 percent of active cases. This figure is less than half the hospitalization rate of previous waves.

With files from Isaac Callan and Anukul Thakur, The Canadian Press

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