Ontario reported 22 net new COVID-19 deaths, with hospitalizations up slightly from the previous week and early surveillance data indicating a spike in transmission across the province, on Friday.
According to the Ministry of Health, 15 of the deaths recorded on Friday happened during the last 30 days, and seven happened before that.
In the last week, 59 people have died, and 452 have died in the last month.
In Ontario, a total of 12,388 people have died with COVID-19.
About 489 deaths were removed from the tally earlier in March as they were determined to be “incidental” with a cause of death not in any way related to infection.
There were 667 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday, up six from yesterday and 54 from one week ago.
Of those, the number of people in intensive care fell by four to 161 on Friday. The ICU burden caused by COVID-19 continues to fall and has fallen by 24 from one week ago.
UHN infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch described what he’s seen in overall wastewater surveillance data as the precursor to a “wavelet” but cautioned we really do not test enough to know what is going on.
“We’re not doing widespread PCR testing across the province so it’s hard what the true burden of infection is, but if you look at the wastewater signal not just in Toronto and other parts of the province, we are seeing an uptick in the surveillance.”
The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table says the signal generated by copies of the SARS-COV-2 virus in wastewater across the province has as much as tripled since March 9.
“It would come to no one’s surprise if days or a week or so later we’re going to see a bump in the number of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19-related illness.”
Even as masks are now optional in most settings across the province, Bogoch said it was a good idea to still wear one.
“I think that’s a good idea, especially because we’re on the cusp of a spring wave.”
When asked about the latest trend in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford replied that the province had more than adequate health care capacity to treat anyone who becomes ill enough to require hospitalization due to COVID-19 this spring.
Of the 2,671 cases detected through limited PCR testing in the province, the Ministry of Health says 291 cases involved unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people, 734 involved people with two COVID-19 vaccine doses, 1,537 involved people with three doses of vaccine and 199 involved people whose exact vaccination status was not known.
Provincial labs processed 17,654 test specimens, generating a positivity rate of 12.6 per cent.
The province says administered 9,928 COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday.
Of those, 1,047 were first doses, 2,462 were second doses and 4,911 were third doses.
Across all age groups, 84.2 per cent of Ontario residents have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 80.9 per cent have two doses and 47.8 per cent have three doses.