Ontario reports 841 more COVID-19 cases, 7-day average on the rise
Province reports 9 more deaths from the illness
Ontario reported another 841 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as the seven-day average of new daily cases — a measure that helps limit noise in the data — is starting to climb again after a brief lull.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said at a news conference that today's number of new cases is the second highest the province has seen since the virus's second wave hit.
"That's concerning as we watch how this second wave is working through us in the province of Ontario," Williams said.
The seven-day average now sits at about 761, still below the most recent peak of 781 that came earlier this month, but consistently on the rise in the last four days.
The province also reported nine more deaths in today's update, a second-straight day with nine new deaths. Forty people have died from COVID-19 in Ontario in the last week.
Today's new cases are concentrated in the following public health units:
- Toronto: 335
- Peel: 162
- York: 106
- Ottawa: 72
Other areas that saw double-digit increases include:
- Durham Region: 29
- Halton Region: 29
- Simcoe Muskoka: 24
- Hamilton: 20
- Eastern Ontario: 10
- Middlesex London: 10
Seventy-four of the newly confirmed cases of the illness are school-related, including at least 49 students and five staff. A total of 1,641 cases school-related cases have now been registered provincewide since the academic year began, with 501 schools having reported at least one in students or staff. That figure is equivalent to about 10.38 per cent of all publicly-funded schools in Ontario.
(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health's daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoid lag times found in the provincial system.)
Williams said cases in schools have been primarily found in students, but there has not been much evidence of in-school transmission.
"That means a lot of good work is being done … in the school settings," he said.
But the province is, Williams said, seeing clusters of cases linked to social gatherings at weddings, sporting events and at household gatherings.
Ford wishes for 'crystal ball'
At the province's daily news conference Thursday, Premier Doug Ford was asked if he had any insight as to if the province will be able to lift its "modified Stage 2" restrictions that have been enacted in the parts of Ontario that have been hardest hit by the virus. When introduced, the province said they were planning for the measures to last for 28 days.
"I wish I had a crystal ball to find out where we're going," Ford said. "I pray in a couple of weeks that these numbers are going to change."
"People have to follow the guidelines."
Ontario has now seen a total of 67,527 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the first was reported in late January. Of those, about 86 per cent are considered resolved, including 741 more in today's update.
There are 6,390 confirmed, active infections provincewide, a jump of 91 since Wednesday and a new record-high for Ontario.
After a considerable decrease in Wednesday's update, the number of people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of the illness increased again, up 10 to 270. Some 74 patients are being treated in intensive care, and 48 are on ventilators — one fewer than Wednesday.
Meanwhile, there are active outbreaks of COVID-19 in at least 80 long-term care facilities.
5 Toronto hospitals with COVID-19 outbreaks
Another Toronto hospital has declared an outbreak of COVID-19.
The Scarborough Health Network said six patients are infected in one unit at its general hospital in the city's east end.
A spokeswoman for the health network said the unit has been closed to admissions in order to protect patients and staff.
Leigh Duncan added that enhanced infection prevention and control measures are in place in the affected unit.
Scarborough joins a growing list of Toronto hospitals that have declared an official outbreak, defined as two health-care-related cases of COVID-19 within 14 days.
St. Michael's Hospital, St. Joseph's Health Centre, Toronto Western Hospital and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have also declared outbreaks among staff or patients.
With files from Lucas Powers and Adam Carter