Ontario sees 512 new COVID-19 cases, 12 more deaths — including person under 20
The official death toll has now climbed to 9,950
Ontario reported 512 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths linked to the illness on Wednesday, including the death of one person under the age of 20.
Today's case count marks week-over-week jump of nearly 13 per cent over last Wednesday, when the province logged 454 infections.
The seven-day average of daily cases climbed to 587.
While cases continue to rise in much of Ontario, the cumulative pace of those increases is slowing.
The province's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates that as of Nov. 13, cases were doubling every 30 days. That's up from about 24 days nearer the beginning of last week, and every 17 days or so the week before.
Similarly, the reproduction value — a measure of how fast a pandemic is growing — has been steadily declining for several days.
The 12 additional deaths of people with COVID-19 reported Wednesday are the most on a single day in nearly one month.
In an email to media, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health indicated that the person under 20 who died lived within the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
"We send our deepest condolences to their family," Alexandra Hilkene said. "Out of respect for the family and their privacy during this difficult time we will not be sharing any further case details at this time."
Ontario's official death toll stands at 9,950.
Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health's daily provincial update:
Patients in ICUs with COVID-related illnesses: 133, with 77 relying on ventilators to breathe.
Tests in the previous 24 hours: 28,931, with a 2.5 per cent positivity rate.
Active cases: 4,714, a second straight day resolved cases have outpaced new infections.
Vaccinations: 15,040 doses were administered by public health units on Tuesday. About 85.8 per cent of eligible Ontarians have had two shots. The City of Toronto, meanwhile, issued a news release saying 85 per cent of its residents now have two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The province's wider vaccination target remains 90 per cent.
Health minister defends symptomatic COVID testing in pharmacies
Ontario's health minister said Wednesday people with COVID-19 symptoms can be safely tested for the virus in pharmacies.
Safety concerns were raised in the legislature today about the proposed plan, but Christine Elliott said infection and control measures will be followed.
She said parts of rural and northern Ontario have a need for testing options, and precautions will be taken to keep people safe.
She also said there will be a list of participating pharmacies and signage posted outside so people know before entering the facility.
The Opposition New Democrats asked today whether the testing rules are being changed after lobbying efforts, but Elliott says they based the decision on the advice of top health officials.
Ontario pharmacies are currently only able to perform COVID-19 tests for people who don't have symptoms, haven't been in contact with an infected person and aren't connected to an outbreak.
With files from The Canadian Press