Toronto

Ontario reports record-high 9,571 COVID-19 cases on Christmas Eve

Even with the spike, experts say the number of daily infections doesn't present a full picture of the COVID-19 situation in the province, as testing systems are increasingly strained in several regions due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Provincewide test positivity rate nearing 19%

Even with the spike reported on Christmas Eve, experts say the number of daily infections doesn't present a full picture of the COVID-19 situation in the province, as testing systems are increasingly strained in several regions due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario reported a whopping 9,571 cases of COVID-19 on Friday.

That's 3,781 cases higher than Thursday's case count, which — at 5,790 — was already the most cases ever logged on a single day in the province by a considerable margin.

Even with the spike, experts say the number of daily infections doesn't present a full picture of the COVID-19 situation in the province, as testing systems are increasingly strained in several regions due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Still, another record-setting day should come as no surprise. As Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer health, said earlier in the week, record-high daily case counts will likely be the norm for weeks to come.

"Due to the highly-transmissible nature of the Omicron variant, it was expected that numbers would increase in the winter months," said Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for health minister Christine Elliott in a statement Friday morning.

Hilkene repeated Moore's warning about record case counts still to come.

"While the province's ICUs continue to remain stable, we expect the number of admissions to rise in the coming weeks," she said, "particularly among the unvaccinated."

Data to be limited over holidays

Hilkene also noted that the Ministry of Health will not update COVID-19 data on their website from Dec. 25 to Dec. 28, and Jan. 1 to Jan. 3 because of the holidays.

The data for those days will be released on Dec. 29 and Jan. 4.

However, Hilkene said the health minister will continue to tweet COVID-19 data except on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health's daily provincial update:

Tests completed: 72,639.

Provincewide test positivity rate: 18.7 per cent, up from 16 per cent on Thursday and 10.7 per cent on Wednesday.

Active cases: 40,555.

Patients hospitalized with the virus: 508, 355 of whom are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.

Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 164; 102 needed a ventilator to breathe.

Deaths: six, pushing the death toll to 10,146.

Vaccinations: over 229,000 bringing the total to date to 26,343,050 doses. Currently, 90.6 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 or older have one dose while 88 per cent have two.

With files from the Canadian Press

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