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Ontario reports 2,632 new COVID-19 cases as 7-day average continues to fall

The seven-day average of daily cases — which helps clarify long-term trends in the data — fell to 2,751, marking 10 straight days of decreases in that figure.

New cases include 102 in Toronto that were previously unreported

Paramedics transport a resident of Roberta Place long-term care home in Barrie. Preliminary testing of samples from the facility this week suggested that a variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 could be circulating. More results are expected in coming days. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario reported another 2,632 cases of COVID-19 and 46 more deaths of people with the illness on Thursday.

According to the Ministry of Health, the total case count in today's provincial update included 102 infections in Toronto that were previously unreported due to a technical issue.

The new cases include 897 in Toronto, 412 in Peel Region, 245 in York Region, 162 in Ottawa and 118 in Waterloo Region.

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:

  • Windsor-Essex: 92
  • Durham Region: 92
  • Niagara Region: 90
  • Middlesex-London: 76
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 70
  • Hamilton: 69
  • Halton Region: 52
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 49
  • Lambton: 45
  • Eastern Ontario: 32
  • Haliburton, Kawartha and Pine Ridge: 31
  • Southwestern: 19
  • Huron-Perth: 18
  • Brant County: 13

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.)

The five public health units that currently have the most new cases per capita are:

  • Windsor Essex: 289 new cases weekly per 100,000 people
  • Lambton: 250 new cases weekly per 100,000 people
  • Peel Region: 236 new cases weekly per 100,000 people
  • Niagara Region: 220 new cases weekly per 100,000 people
  • Toronto: 182 new cases weekly per 100,000 people

The cases come as Ontario's network of labs processed 70,256 test samples for the virus, notably more than on each of the last four days. The labs reported a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent.

The seven-day average of daily cases — which helps clarify long-term trends in the data — fell to 2,751, marking 10 straight days of decreases in that figure.

Furthermore, another 2,990 infections were marked resolved in Thursday's report. There are currently some 26,063 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, a number that has been trending steadily downward since its peak on Jan. 11.

Epidemiologists told CBC News that as Ontario nears four complete weeks under "lockdown" conditions, the measures seem to be working. They cautioned, however, the province is still far from ready for a return to normalcy

To that end, the provincial government released a video this morning that features Premier Doug Ford telling residents to "stay at home" in 21 languages. 

Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Health's figures, there were 1,533 people in hospitals with COVID-19, 65 fewer than the day before.

Of those, 388 were being treated in intensive care and 293 required a ventilator a breathe, both down slightly as well from the day before.

Ontario's death toll linked to the illness climbed to 5,614.

Another 15,889 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered yesterday, the ministry said, bringing the total number of shots given out to 253,817. Thus far, 40,225 people in Ontario have received both doses of one of two vaccines currently approved by Health Canada.

Moreover, the province said this morning it would begin including information on the prevalence of variants of SARS- CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in its weekly epidemiological reports. The reports are typically published online every Thursday afternoon.

Yesterday, the Simcoe Muskoka health unit said that preliminary swabs from Roberta Place, a Barrie long-term care home, indicated "a very high probability" that six of the cases in the facility were due to a variant. Conclusive results are expected in the coming days.

The health unit said 122 residents have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 19 have died with the illness. Sixty-nine staff members have also tested positive for the virus. 

LISTEN | Medical officer of health for Simcoe-Muskoka discusses outbreak at Roberta Place:

A covid-struck long term care home is now dealing with another challenging possibility - it could see an outbreak of a new coronavirus variant - one that spreads much faster than the current strain. Simcoe Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner talks about what makes this so scary. 7:51

With files from Lucas Powers

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