Ontario reported 28 net new COVID-19 deaths, continuing a weeks-long reduction in hospitalizations, on Friday.
According to the Ministry of Health, 26 of the deaths happened during the last 30 days, with two more deaths identified recently and added to the total.
Residents at long-term care facilities were involved in six of the deaths on Friday.
There have been 139 deaths in the last week and 874 in the last month, bringing the total number of deaths to 12,525 since March 2020.
The Ministry said there were 821 patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 on Friday, down from 834 on Thursday and 284 one week ago.
Of those, 262 were in intensive care and 156 were breathing with a ventilator.
Yesterday, Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore said that if current trends continue, the indoor mask mandate in public spaces and schools could lift by the end of the month.
He also suggested the province is not detecting approximately 90 per cent of infection at present, suggesting there could still be 20,000 infections occurring per day.
UHN infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CP24 any decision on when to lift mask mandates should be informed by public health data.
“As long as this is evaluated week by week and trends are headed in the right direction, there certainly will be a time where mask mandates can and should be lifted and people can wear masks voluntarily,” he said.
“The time isn’t right now and of course this is still a fluid area. Is it going to be at the end of March, is it going to be a little later in April, let’s just let the data drive the decision.”
Of the 2,085 new cases confirmed through limited free PCR testing on Friday, the Ministry of Health said 207 involved unvaccinated people, 54 involved partially vaccinated people, 1,638 involved people with at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 186 involved people with unknown vaccination status.
In the last 24 hours, provincial labs processed 15,925 test specimens, yielding a positivity percentage of 10.7%, slightly higher than the week’s average of 10.24 percent.
In the province, only a few groups are eligible for free PCR diagnostic testing.
According to the Ministry, 17,047 doses of COVID-19 vaccination were given out on Thursday.
There were 1,867 initial doses, 4,687 second doses, and 8,853 third doses among them.