Despite a significant drop in virus activity in the community, the number of persons hospitalized with COVID-19 has remained practically same from one week ago, putting a pressure on Ontario’s healthcare system.
According to the most recent Ministry of Health data, there are presently 1,662 persons in hospital with COVID-19, down from 1,679 this time last week and 1,734 on April 27.
The number of patients receiving intensive care treatment is also holding steady. There were 210 COVID patients in the ICU in Ontario as of Friday, up one from the previous week. About half of the patients (99) are currently using a ventilator to help them breathe.
At the height of the initial Omicron wave in January, more than 4,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 and it took weeks for patient volumes to come down.
“Hospitalization, although it looks like they’re starting to come down, really taken a long time to do so,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Susy Hota warned during an interview with CP24 on Friday morning. “We’re kind of stabilized out at around 1,700 patients across Ontario hospitals with COVID and that’s a lot. It is really kind of adding to the stress of everything. Thankfully, it looks like the wave is already starting to come down in all regions within the province. But in the next several weeks and months there’s still a lot of recovery that needs to happen in the hospitals.”
Wastewater surveillance currently points to a reduction in virus activity in all parts of Ontario, though the decline has only just begun in the GTA where transmission remains near the sixth wave peak.
Meanwhile, other public health indicators like counts and positivity rates are increasingly suggesting an exit from the sixth wave of the pandemic.
According to the latest data, there were another 2,418 cases detected through PCR testing over the last 24 hours, down from 2,760 during the same one-day period last week and 4,668 on April 22.
The positivity rate over the last seven days is also down week-over week and now stands at 13.8 per cent. It was 14.8 per cent last Friday and 18 per cent the previous Friday.
“I do think it’s reassuring that in all regions, or all of the six sort of areas where we’re doing wastewater surveillance, we’re seeing that trend, everything is going down right now,” Hota told CP24. “Whereas in the past we’ve seen it such that in some regions it’s decreasing and others are stable or they’re still increasing, right now it looks like every single group is decreasing. So I think that’s a very positive sign. It doesn’t mean that we abandon all measures and, you know, go wild but I think it’s important to know that we’re on the right track. Things are coming down and we should get sort of a bit of relief in the next little while.”