Ontario recorded 14 new COVID-19 deaths, while the number of persons admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 increased by 62% in a single day, on Wednesday.
There are currently 2,081 people in hospitals throughout Ontario who have tested positive for COVID-19, up from at least 1,290 just one day ago and 965 only a week ago.
The Ministry of Health warned that the figures from yesterday was likely undercounted because almost 10% of hospitals had not recorded their patient counts.
It’s the first day of a minimum two-week virtual learning stint for Ontario public school students, and indoor dining, indoor fitness activity and movie theatres throughout the province are closed.
Even with access to PCR tests significantly curtailed for the past five days, the province reported 11,582 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, down from a peak of 18,445 on New Year’s Day.
Since Jan. 1, access to free PCR testing in Ontario has been restricted to those seeking admission to hospital, healthcare, long-term care and congregate care staff, their residents, Indigenous people and select individuals working in high-risk sectors of the economy, along with people identified in the course of outbreak investigations.
Of those who tested positive, the Ministry of Health says 1,554 were unvaccinated, 386 were partially vaccinated, 9,255 were fully vaccinated and 387 had an unknown vaccination status.
There is little public surveillance data now available to depict the spread of Omicron throughout Ontario. A matched cohort study by Public Health Ontario, using hospitalization data up to Dec. 17, 2021, suggested the province’s current known active caseload of 134,000 is at least an 80 per cent undercount.
More than 59,000 tests were processed on Wednesday, generating a positivity rate of 28 per cent.
One death previously added to the provincial tally was removed Wednesday, leading to a net increase in COVID-19 deaths of 13. Eighty-one people have died of COVID-19 in the past seven weeks.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to rise, with more children seeking care in hospital due to COVID-19 symptoms.
Public Health Ontario says there are 33 children under the age of four with COVID-19 in hospital today, representing more than 10 per cent of all child admissions to hospital due to COVID-19 for the entire length of the pandemic (313).
There are also nine children aged 5 to 11 in hospital due to COVID-19, when there have only been 91 admissions to hospital in this age category for the entire length of the pandemic.
To accommodate all of these new patients, hospitals are pausing non-emergent surgeries, including certain cardiac and cancer procedures, for much of the month.
There are 288 people in intensive care for treatment of COVID-19 symptoms today, up 22 from yesterday and 88 from one week ago.
Of the ICU patients, 138 were breathing with the help of a ventilator, up 10 from Tuesday.
The all-time record high for COVID-19 admissions to Ontario hospitals occurred on April 22 when there were 2,350 patients admitted.
The Ministry of Health says 180,013 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered on Tuesday.
Of those, 9,636 were first doses, 8,682 were second doses and 161,487 were third doses.
Across all age groups, 83 per cent of Ontario residents have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 78 per cent have two doses.
About 27 per cent of Ontario residents have three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.