Ontario is reporting more than 2,900 new COVID-19 cases along with 41 more deaths, as hospitalizations grew by more than 10 per cent in a single day.
“Locally, there are 837 new cases in Toronto, 545 in Peel, 249 in York Region and 246 in Niagara,” Health Minister Christine Elliott wrote on Twitter.
Elliott also confirmed provincial labs have detected eight new cases of the much more transmissible B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant from the United Kingdom, bringing Ontario’s total count of cases of the variant to 14.
Studies show that B.1.1.7 is about 56 per cent more transmissible than the dominant strains of coronavirus in North America, according to the most recent study available.
Ontario reported 3,338 new cases on Monday and a standalone record of 3,945 on Sunday.
There are now more than 30,000 active cases of infection in the province, with 5,053 deaths and 186,800 recoveries.
Often cited statistics from Public Health Ontario suggest as many as 1,650 of the province’s current active caseload will require admission to hospital.
UHN infectious diseases expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch said the current pace of cases and the knock-on impact on hospitals cannot go on for the rest of the month.
“You can’t digest 6,000 cases per day, I would argue you can’t digest 2,000 cases per day, the healthcare system can’t take it,” he said, referring to suggestions Ontario’s daily case growth could hit 6,000 by the end of the month.
Hospitalizations across Ontario hit 1,701 on Tuesday, a growth of at least 180 from the day before when deaths and discharges are accounted for.
It’s the greatest single-day increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Ontario since the pandemic began.
Of those patients, more than 400 are in intensive care and at least 262 are breathing with the help of a ventilator.
Bogoch said hospitals in multiple regions across the province are shuffling patients between one another in order to prevent overflowing.
“When they admit 10 more patients with COVID-19, they get on the phone to other hospitals in the GTA, to see who has space available. That’s not a good place to be in.”
In response to the recent increases, the Ford government plans to announce stricter measures Tuesday to enhance the province-wide lockdown put in place for the month of January.
Schools in much of the province are closed for in-person instruction, along with most retailers beyond grocers and big-box stores.
Several hospital networks in southern Ontario were considering building field hospitals in their facility parking lots.
Hospitals in Barrie and Burlington have already done so.
Provincial labs processed 44,800 test specimens in the past 24 hours, with another 43,100 specimens awaiting processing.
Tuesday’s results generated a province-wide positivity rate of 7.8 per cent, similar to what was seen yesterday.
Twenty-three of the 41 deaths reported on Tuesday involved residents of the long-term care system.
The province says 68 more residents of long-term care tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
Two-hundred and sixty-one long-term care homes are now considered to be in outbreak.
Elsewhere in the GTA, Durham Region reported 75 new cases, Halton Region reported 47 new cases and Hamilton reported 86 new cases.
Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
News source: CP24