Ontario reported 3,124 new COVID-19 cases, the most since early May 2021, with the number of illnesses among unprotected and vaccinated people now more nearly approximating their proportions in the broader population on Friday.
In the last 24 hours, five more deaths have been linked to COVID-19, bringing the seven-day rolling average of new cases to 1,914, up from 1,115 one week ago.
The number of new infections reported today is more than double the 1,453 new infections identified in the same time period last week, indicating enhanced transmissibility of the Omicron form, which is thought to double every 2.8 days.
The province reported 2,421 new cases on Thursday and 1,808 on Wednesday.
It’s the highest overall number of cases seen in Ontario since May 9, when the province was weeks into a strict stay-at-home order.
The Ministry of Health says that 778 of Friday’s cases involve unvaccinated people, 96 involve partially vaccinated people, 2,120 involve fully vaccinated people and 130 have an unknown vaccination status.
Approximately 18 per cent of the Ontario population is unvaccinated and they made up 25 per cent of all cases, while 68 per cent of Friday’s cases involved fully vaccinated people and they make up 77 per cent of the province’s population.
Waning immunity due to the duration of time since many Ontario residents and the immune escape ability of the Omicron coronavirus variant are likely to blame.
The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table now believes more than 50 per cent of all cases in the province are Omicron.
UHN infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CP24 Ontario is “sitting on the cusp of a really large wave.”
“We are going to see some very, very high case numbers and that will lead to some hospitalizations, and some ICU stays and sadly some deaths,” he said. “That’s in the weeks away and not in the months away.”
Modellers suggested Thursday the province could see 10,000 or more cases per day by January.
Provincial labs increased their output to more than 54,000 test specimens, generating a positivity rate of 8.2 per cent.
Positivity has climbed every day from the mid-3 per cent range last week. Friday’s rate was higher than any time since May 10.
There are now 15,792 known active cases of COVID-19 in the province, alongside 10,107 deaths since March 2020 and more than 616,000 recoveries.
One week ago, there were only 9,200 active cases in the province.
almost 358 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19, up 49 from a week ago, and 157 people were in critical care, up six from a week earlier, according to the Ministry of Health on Friday.
Meanwhile, the province continues to increase vaccine distribution because it appears to be an important component of developing protection against symptomatic Omicron illness.
On Thursday, Ontario gave out 156,525 vaccine doses: 13,562 first doses, 5,188 second doses, and 137,775 third doses.
Across all age categories, 82% of Ontario citizens have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, 77% have received two doses, and 10.7% have received a third dose.