Ontario reported another 3,682 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 40 more deaths linked to the illness on Thursday, as overall admissions to intensive care units topped 800.
The 40 additional deaths in today’s update are the most on a single day during the third wave of the pandemic in the province. The seven-day average of daily deaths, a lagging indicator that follows surges in cases, climbed to 27.1, also a third-wave high.
For comparison, the seven-day average of deaths in Ontario peaked at more than 60 during the second wave earlier this year, before most residents of long-term care and retirement homes had been vaccinated.
The official death toll stands at 7,829.
According to the Ministry of Health, there are now 806 people with COVID-related critical illnesses in Ontario’s ICUs. Some 588 of those patients require a ventilator to breathe. Both figures are all-time highs.
While the rate of growth in cases appears to be slowing, Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table cautioned that rising admissions to ICUs are essentially “baked in” for the next several weeks.
Signs case numbers are ‘plateauing,’ top doctor says
At a news conference Thursday, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said the province’s case count may be flattening following a drop in daily numbers over the past few days.
“Some things are plateauing and some things are dipping down a bit,” Dr. David Williams said, adding that there are indications that Ontario might be starting to bend the curve, but not enough time has passed yet to confirm this.
Thursday’s figure is the second time in the past three days that case counts have been fewer than 4,000 after almost a week of cases surpassing that number.
“We are just starting to see the impact of the stay-at-home order and we need to watch it a bit further,” Williams said.
The Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday that Williams issued a new directive to hospitals in northern Ontario to stop all non-emergency surgeries to make room for patient transfers. Pediatric hospitals were the only facilities exempt from the directive, the ministry said.
That marked a significant expansion of an earlier order of the same nature to hospitals throughout southern Ontario.
Speaking on April 1, when the science table warned that ICU admissions would likely exceed 800 by the end of the month, co-chair Adalsteinn Brown said the province would face the “definite possibility” of triaging emergency care.
“Eight-hundred is a place where we are not able to provide all of the care that we would want to people … That is a place where clinicians have to make hard decisions you would never want them to have to make,” he said at the time.
“You will see loss of life.”