Ontario sees 296 more COVID-19 cases, 6 new deaths linked to illness

Ontario reported 296 more cases of COVID-19 and six new deaths linked to the illness on Tuesday.

80 cases included in Tuesday's update were from 2020, Ministry of Health says

On Wednesday this week, residents of Ontario's 10 delta variant hot spots who got a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine before May 30 become eligible to book a second shot. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario reported 296 more cases of COVID-19 and six new deaths linked to the illness on Tuesday.

Due to a data review by Toronto Public Health, about 80 cases in today's count were from 2020. 

Similarly, the Ministry of Health's official update includes 60 total deaths, though 54 are from "previous months" and were included as part of a separate data clean-up effort, a spokesperson said in an email to media.

The province's death toll stands at 9,082.

As of Monday, there were 314 people with COVID-related illnesses being treated in intensive care units. Of those patients, 202 needed a ventilator to breathe.

Meanwhile, labs completed 16,784 tests and Public Health Ontario logged a positivity rate of 1.6 per cent, down from last Tuesday's 2.3 per cent on just over 17,000 samples.

The seven-day average of daily cases stayed steady at 334, though without the 80 added cases it would have fallen to 323.

Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates that the delta variant of concern now accounts for slightly more than 50 per cent of all new cases in the province. In other words, it has become the dominant strain. 

In its latest analysis, the table cautioned that while multiple indicators suggest the pandemic broadly remains under control in Ontario, it is still too early to know what effect most of the province moving to Phase 1 of reopening on June 11 will have on infections and hospitalizations. That picture will only become clearer by next week, the table said.

For now, the effective reproductive number (or R-value) for the delta variant remains below one, meaning it is not currently spreading exponentially.

"But we have to keep it down," the table said this morning in a Twitter thread highlighting its latest estimations.

"The best thing [Ontario] can do: double vaccinate and stick the course on re-opening … This is working, don't rush anything."

Last week, the provincial government expanded its list of delta variant hot spots from seven to 10 to include Durham Region, Hamilton and Simcoe Muskoka. 

The threat of the variant's spread also partly spurred Ontario to move up appointments for second doses of COVID-19 vaccines for a number of groups this week. Two shots have been shown in prelim to be significantly more effective than one at preventing serious illness from the delta variant.

WATCH | Toronto VaxFacts Clinic launches for the vaccine hesitant:

Toronto VaxFacts Clinic launches for the vaccine hesitant

3 months ago
A new Toronto-area COVID-19 clinic has opened that provides direct access to a doctor to talk about vaccine concerns. Clinic staff can also help people get their shot. 6:14

As of 8 a.m. Monday, anyone who got a first shot of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) on or before May 9 could book or reschedule their second dose, several weeks ahead of schedule.

Similarly, residents of the 10 provincially-designated delta hot spots who got a first dose before May 30 can move up their second shot beginning tomorrow morning. 

At a news conference yesterday, public officials once again encouraged Ontarians to get whatever mRNA vaccine is offered to them for a second shot whenever it becomes available. That is the only way second vaccinations can outpace spread of the delta variant, they said.

Public health units collectively administered another 199,535 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, the most-ever on a Monday. 

Ontario is now averaging more than 190,000 shots per day, while about 76.3 per cent of adults have had at least one dose of a vaccine


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