Toronto

Ontario reports 4,114 patients in hospital with COVID-19, ICU number fell slightly

Ontario reported on Friday that there were 4,114 people in hospital with COVID-19, a relatively small uptick from the day before, but the overall number of patients requiring intensive care fell slightly.

Updated figures come after Ontario announced plans to start lifting capacity restrictions

A nurse walks down the hall in the Humber River Hospital intensive care unit on Jan. 13, 2022. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario reported on Friday that there were 4,114 people in hospital with COVID-19, a relatively small uptick from the day before, but the overall number of patients requiring intensive care fell slightly.

According to the Ministry of Health, there were 590 people with COVID-19 in ICUs, down from the 594 reported Thursday. While it is only a small difference, it is the most significant drop in total ICU admissions in nearly a month.

That said, Critical Care Services Ontario reported 63 new admissions of COVID-19 patients to intensive care on Thursday. 

Of those patients in ICU, 81.5 per cent were admitted for COVID-related illnesses while 18.5 per cent were already in the ICU when they tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, of the 4,114 total COVID-positive people in hospital, 53.7 per cent were admitted for reasons directly linked to the virus while 46.3 per cent tested positive while in hospital.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said this week that new admissions to hospitals and ICUs seem to be decelerating, while the average length of time patients require care is stabilizing. 

On Thursday, the provincial government announced at the end of January it would begin lifting public health restrictions put in place early in the new year. The plan includes a further easing of measures in mid-February, with most remaining capacity restrictions for indoor settings set to be lifted in March. 

You can read more about the announcement here

Moore also said yesterday that COVID-19 test positivity rates appear to be stabilizing somewhat after reaching unprecedented levels in recent weeks. Public Health Ontario this morning logged a 17.7 per cent positivity rate on 41,538 tests, with another 22,058 samples in the backlog waiting to be completed.

In early January, the province revised PCR testing criteria to include only the most high-risk people and settings. Yesterday's announcement did not include any indication of when PCR tests will become more widely available again.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health also reported the deaths of 64 more people with COVID-19. Two of deaths occurred more than one month ago, the ministry said, and were included in this morning's update as part of a "data cleaning" effort. 

CBC Toronto has reached out to the ministry for further information about the timing of the deaths reported today.

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