Ontario is reporting another 89 deaths linked to COVID-19 and more than 2,600 new infections today after the province saw its daily case count drop below 2,000 for the first time in more than a month on Tuesday.
Ontario health officials logged 2,655 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus today, a notable jump from the 1,913 recorded on Tuesday but still fewer than the 2,961 cases confirmed one week ago.
Unsurprisingly, today’s rise in cases came with a corresponding spike in testing over the last 24 hours, with 54,307 tests processed yesterday, up from just 34,000 one day prior.
According to the most recent data released by the Ministry of Health, the provincewide test positivity rate now stands at 4.9 per cent, down from six per cent at this point last week.
The seven-day average of new infections in the province also continues to drop, declining to 2,849 from nearly 3,500 last Wednesday. The number of active cases has fallen to 26,467, down from 29,636 one week ago.
Of the new cases reported today, 925 are in Toronto, which saw just 550 new cases one day earlier. The province said Tuesday that Toronto’s daily case count was likely artificially low yesterday due to a “technical issue” that the public health unit encountered.
Another 473 new cases were confirmed today in Peel Region, along with 226 in York Region, and 179 in Windsor-Essex County.
Niagara Region, which saw its daily case count dip to just 52 on Tuesday, reported another 129 infections today.
Virus-related hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions decreased slightly today though those numbers have remained relatively unchanged over the past few days. According to data released by the Ministry of Health, there are currently 1,598 people with COVID-19 receiving treatment in hospital, including 395 in the ICU.
It should be noted that over the last two weeks, reports released by Critical Care Services Ontario (CCSO) have shown a steady rise in COVID-19 patients in the ICU, putting that number at as high as 416 on Monday.
Another 89 virus-related deaths were confirmed over the past 24 hours, substantially more than the 46 reported on Tuesday.
Nearly 1,100 of Ontario’s total 5,568 virus-related deaths were recorded in the last three weeks.
Of the deaths reported today, 42 are among residents of long-term care facilities in the province. Over the past seven days, 351 people have died in Ontario after contracting COVID-19, including 211 long-term care home residents.
The province’s vaccine task force says delays in vaccine shipments should not impact the government’s plan to administer at least the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to all residents of Ontario long-term care homes by Feb. 15.
On Tuesday, the Ford government confirmed that no shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be delivered next week due to production issues.
“We are in the process of ramping up and scaling up a vaccine program and then your dosages that you are expecting get significantly curbed. All that means is we have to triage, we have to prioritize and basically that means putting all the resources in the area that is most impacted, That’s long-term care,” Epidemiologist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a member of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, told CP24 on Wednesday morning.
“I see this as a pretty significant roadblock although it’s short-term… When you look at the medium-term and the long-term, we have good contracts, we have a significant number of vaccines that are going to be delivered. I actually don’t think this pushes back any of those mid or long-term projections where everyone in Canada can have a vaccine who wants a vaccine by probably some time in the summer or late summer.”