Another 32 people have died in Ontario after contracting COVID-19, but hospitalizations and outbreaks are still on the decline.
According to a Ministry of Health spokesperson, 31 of the deaths occurred in the last 17 days, with eight occurring on Saturday.
The latest figures bring the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Ontario to 11,444.
About a quarter of those deaths – 1,250 – occurred in January, making it one of the deadliest months since the pandemic began nearly two years ago.
The good news is that hospitalizations appear to be on the decline after surging during the first few weeks of 2022.
On Monday the ministry reported that there were 2,983 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 583 in intensive care.
While data reported at the beginning of the week is typically incomplete because some hospitals don’t upload information over the weekend, it still represents a significant decrease from one week prior when 3,861 people were in Ontario hospitals with COVID-19.
It is also equates to a 28 per cent decline from the fourth wave peak reached on Jan. 18 when 4,183 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized.
Meanwhile outbreaks continue to decline in the handful of settings where there is widespread access to PCR testing, though they remain near record levels.
As of Monday, there were 345 active outbreaks associated with long-term care homes, 244 associated with retirement homes and 201 associated with hospitals. There were also another 77 active outbreaks associated with shelters and 23 associated with correctional facilities.
Those numbers are all down approximately 15 to 30 per cent from one week ago.
The latest data comes as many business that have been shuttered for most of 2022 reopen at 50 per cent capacity, including gyms and cinemas.
There has also been a shift in messaging that has taken place among some public health officials in advance of the reopening, with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore telling reporters last week that it is time that we “learn to live with COVID-19.”
“With where we are, with the fact that much of the population does have immunity that is hopefully being boosted, and unfortunately, a lot of the population has gotten COVID-19 over the last couple months, which will likely add an immunity barrier in the population,” infectious disease physician Dr. Zain Chagla told CP24 on Monday morning. “Does that indicate that in the coming months, everyone will take off their masks and congregate indoors?” No. But I believe that a gradual reopening, while remaining humble and enabling businesses to operate, is the way to go. We have the resources to keep folks out of the hospital.”