Ontario health officials are recording a spike in the number of people who have died due to COVID-19, as the province reports just over 2,900 new cases of the disease.
The province reported on Friday that 100 more people have died due to the novel coronavirus, but officials said 46 of those deaths recorded by Middlesex-London Health Unit occurred earlier in the pandemic.
A spokesperson with the public health unit said the backlog is due to a data-clearing effort and that the deaths are cumulative and not a one-day increase.
Health officials also confirmed another 2,998 infections on Friday, after a jump in case numbers the day before when the province reported 3,326 new cases. Before that increase, less than 3,000 new cases were reported on Wednesday and Tuesday.
With a record-breaking 76,472 tests completed, the province positivity rate on Friday also fell to 4.6 per cent, according to the Ontario Ministry of Health, which is the lowest rate seen since Dec. 26.
The province’s seven-day average for the number of infections recorded is now 3,273, down from 3,394 one week ago.
The province said that among the 100 people reported to have died due to COVID-19, at least 45 were residents in long-term care. The province says that more than 3,100 people who lived in Ontario long-term care homes have died since the start of the pandemic.
In total, the province has recorded 5,289 deaths related to COVID-19.
Health officials reported that 1,647 people are currently in hospital due to the disease. Of those patients, more than 387 are in intensive care, and 280 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
Officials have said that when more than 300 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care, medical care in hospitals not related to the disease becomes nearly impossible to handle.
The province also deemed 3,380 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Friday, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 197,194.
Friday’s case count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 231,308, including deaths and recoveries.
Where are the COVID-19 cases in Ontario?
Of the 2,998 cases reported on Friday, health officials said that 800 were in Toronto, 618 were in Peel Region and 250 were in York Region.
Several other regions in Ontario reported COVID-19 cases numbers in the triple digits, including Waterloo (161), Niagara Region (153), Windsor-Essex (148), Hamilton (138), Ottawa (133), Durham Region (113) and Middlesex-London (103).
In an effort to help curb the spread of the disease, the provincial government ordered a 28-day Ontario-wide lockdown on Dec. 26.
Earlier this week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a second state of emergency and issued a stay-at-home order for the province, which started on Thursday.
The order will remain in effect for at least 28 days.
There were 76,472 COVID-19 tests completed in the province in the last-recorded 24-hour period and 63,728 COVID-19 tests are still under investigation.
In total, Ontario has processed more than 8.7 million tests since the pandemic began in January.
As of 10:30 a.m. on Friday, 174,630 initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario, including 15,609 doses administered in the past 24 hours. The vaccine requires a booster shot and, as such, 17,094 complete vaccinations have been completed as of Friday.