Ontario is reporting nearly 1,800 new cases of COVID-19 ahead of a planned announcement later today that could see some regions face additional public health restrictions.
The Ministry of Health says that there were 1,780 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus confirmed on Thursday, along with another 25 deaths.
That is a slight dip on the 1,824 cases reported one day prior and the record 1,855 cases reported last Friday.
As a result, it pushes the rolling seven-day average down slightly to 1,757.
That number, however, is 18 per cent higher than it was at this time last week when it stood at 1,489 and 28 per cent higher than where it stood just two weeks ago when it was 1,372.
Hospitalizations also continue to increase amid warnings that elective surgeries and procedures are now being cancelled in some hard-hit communities.
As of Thursday there were a total of 674 COVID patients receiving treatment in Ontario hospitals, including 207 in intensive care units.
It is the first time that the number of COVID patients in the ICU has crossed the 200 threshold since the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.
Back then the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU peaked at 264 on April 9 and took more than a month to decline below 200 following that.
The good news is that the positive cases reported on Friday come as the province conducted 56,001 individual tests.
That is the second highest number of tests ever completed in a 24-hour period. The Ministry of Health says that the positivity rate was 3.6, which is the lowest it has been since Nov. 28.
The latest numbers come as Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet meets to review recommendations from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams on whether to move any public health unit into a more restrictive category in Ontario’s tiered framework for COVID-19 restrictions.
On Thursday Williams said that he would ask cabinet to approve moving “some regions up” into more restrictive categories but he would not tip his hat as to which communities could face additional restrictions.
“There are ones moving up. I didn’t say anything about a lockdown. Doesn’t mean there is or there isn’t,” he said when asked specifically about regions currently designated as red zones.
Of the new cases on Friday nearly 60 per cent of them were in the two regions currently under lockdown with Toronto reporting 633 and Peel reporting 433.
Meanwhile, York reported another 152 cases while Durham reported 94, Halton reported 51 and Hamilton reported 43.
The other two red zones outside of the GTA, Windsor and Waterloo, reported 68 and 40 new cases respectively.
Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
News source: CP24