Coronavirus: Ontario reports more than 3,300 new COVID-19 cases as ICU admissions hit record high

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Ontario is reporting more than 3,300 new COVID-19 cases as the number of patients in intensive care hits 900 for the first time in the pandemic.

Health officials reported 3,369 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, which is down from the 3,887 new cases on Friday.

With 46,803 tests completed in the previous 24-hour period, health officials say the test positivity rate stands at about 7.3 per cent.

Ontario’s test positivity rate has remained stable over the past three days. The rolling seven-day average is now 3,618.

For the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, patients admitted to intensive care units due to COVID-19 has hit 900. That is up from the 883 patients on Thursday.

Of those intensive care unit patients, 637 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

As of Saturday, there are 2,152 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario.

Ontario logged 29 additional COVID-19-related deaths in the previous 24-hour period, which bring the total number of fatalities to 8,079.

The province also deemed 3,964 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Saturday, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 421,216.

Saturday’s report brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 466,733 including deaths and recoveries.

COVID-19 cases drop in Toronto

Most of the new cases reported on Saturday are in hot spot regions.

Health officials reported 1,050 new COVID-19 cases in Toronto, which is down from the 1,331 new cases in Toronto on Friday.

There are 819 new cases in Peel Region, 286 in York Region, 158 in Ottawa, and 157 in Durham Region.

The other health regions reporting new case loads in the triple digits include Middlesex-London (107), Hamilton (132), and Halton Region (127).

Meanwhile, Ontario confirmed an additional 3,482 cases of the B.1.1.7. COVID-19 variant on Saturday, bringing the total number to 69,442.

Officials also recorded an additional 127 cases of the P.1. strain and seven of the B.1.351 mutation.

Ontario does not currently report how many cases of the B.1.617 variant, originally found in India, are found in the province.

The province reports that 373,559 people in Ontario have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are now considered immunized against the disease.

In the last 24-hour period, officials said that 107,700 doses of the vaccine were administered to residents in the province.

The province has repeatedly said it has the capacity to administer 150,000 doses per day.

There have been 5,247,684 doses administered since vaccines became available.

New modelling data released by the province earlier this week suggests the third wave is now finally “cresting” but the current situation remains very “precarious.”

The science table called for even stronger measures to curb case growth. Projections showed that without stronger measures, daily cases would remain above 2,000 in June.

The projections for ICU rates show with the current case growth it remains above 800 patients for a while. In the best-case scenario, the occupancy rate falls to 500 by end of May, which remains “a very high level.”

Last month, an official from Ontario Health said that if ICU occupancy surpassed 900 then the province might have to consider enacting triage protocol where some patients might be denied care based on their risk of short-term mortality.

“But if we go above that [900 in ICU] and then COVID numbers in the community continue to grow then we will probably be into territory where we have to start thinking about other means, either growing capacity or activating the triage protocol but that has to be and we are determined that it will be the last resort,” Ontario Health Executive Vice President Dr. Chris Simpson told CP24 on April 12.

Simpson added that Ontario Health is “pulling out absolutely all the stops” to avoid having to activate a triage protocol.

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