Ontario reported 66 more COVID-19 deaths and just over 2,000 hospitalizations on Wednesday- more than a week after the province loosened some public health measures.
Sixty-five of the deaths occurred in the past month and one was added to the province’s cumulative death total due to a data cleanup, according to the Ministry of Health.
Among the latest deaths, three occurred yesterday, nine happened on Feb. 7, and 12 occurred on Feb. 6, a ministry spokesperson says.
The province’s virus-related death toll stands at 11,944.
There are currently 2,059 people hospitalized with the virus in the province, down from 2,254 yesterday and 2,939 a week ago, according to the Ministry of Health.
Of those hospitalized, Health Minister Christine Elliott says 56 per cent were admitted to the hospital for the virus and 44 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, 449 of hospital patients are in intensive care, compared to 555 a week ago.
Eighty per cent of ICU patients were admitted for COVID-19 and 20 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for the virus, Elliott says.
Provincial labs processed just over 22,900 tests yesterday, producing a positivity rate of 11.9 per cent compared to 13.4 per cent a week ago, according to the ministry.
Ontario reported 3,162 new coronavirus cases today, but health officials say that number is an underestimate due to testing restrictions.
Among the latest cases, 2,173 are fully vaccinated, 456 are unvaccinated, 131 are partially vaccinated and 402 have an unknown vaccination status.
As of today, 89 per cent of Ontarians aged five and older have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 84 per cent have received two doses and 47 per cent have received three doses.
On Wednesday, the province announced that starting immediately more than 2,300 grocery stores and pharmacies will start handing out free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to customers in an effort to provide more tests to residents.
The government is planning to distribute more than 40 million rapid antigen tests to participating stores over a period of eight weeks.
The release of more rapid tests comes more than a week after the government lifted some public health measures based on improving health indicators.
On Jan. 31, certain indoor settings were allowed to reopen with 50 per cent capacity limits as part of the government’s reopening plan, including indoor dining, gyms and cinemas.
And as of Feb. 21, all capacity limits will be lifted in most indoor settings where proof of vaccination is required, and sporting events, concerts and theatres will have a 50 per cent capacity limit.
The phased approach loosens more restrictions every 21 days, but the government could choose to pause the plan based on worsening health indicators.
To date, there have been 1,061,403 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,019,277 recoveries in the province since Jan. 2020.