Ontario reports 166 new COVID-19 cases, 6 additional deaths
Sunday's new cases mark fewest number since Sept. 9, 2020
Ontario is reporting 166 new COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths from the virus on Sunday.
Sunday's daily case count marks the lowest number of cases in a single day that the province has seen since Sept. 9, 2020.
Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health's daily provincial update:
Seven-day average of daily cases: 181
Tests completed: 19,651
Provincewide test positivity rate: 0.9 per cent, marking six straight days of a rate below one per cent
Active cases: 1,592
Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 202; 132 needed a ventilator to breathe
Deaths: 6, pushing the official toll to 9,251
Vaccinations: 170,537 doses were administered on Saturday. More than 79 per cent of Ontario adults have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says he continues to seek advice from "expert opinions" on a plan to have students return to class full-time in person in the fall.
One of those experts is Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert.
"Thanks for your leadership throughout the pandemic," Lecce wrote in a tweet on Sunday.
With the return to school under two months away, teachers' unions have been calling on the province to release a concrete plan on getting kids safely back in classes.
While it's unclear when the province will release full details of its plan, Lecce said last week that the province's recent move to allow Ontarians 12+ to receive vaccines will allow for a more flexible and "normal" in-class learning experience.
Substantive & insightful discussion with Dr. <a href="https://twitter.com/BogochIsaac?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BogochIsaac</a>, Infectious Diseases expert <a href="https://twitter.com/UofT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UofT</a>.<br><br>We are seeking expert opinions on our plan to return students to class full-time in September, while continuing to keep schools safe.<br><br>Thanks for your leadership throughout the pandemic.—@Sflecce
Dr. Anna Banerji, pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, told CBC News on Sunday that the impact of COVID-19 among children has been "minimized" during the pandemic.
"Most kids have mild symptoms ... but we can't underestimate that there is an impact for kids," she said.
She urged families with children that haven't yet been vaccinated to be "very careful" given COVID-19 variants of concern, including the Delta variant and the more recent Lambda variant, both of which continue to spread in Ontario.
Banerji said getting all students 12 and older, as well as education workers and school custodians, vaccinated will be crucial in lessening the impact of the virus once in-person learning resumes in the fall.
When it comes to children under 12, she is urging families to ensure that anyone in close contact with their child has been immunized.
"We know that kids with the new variants ... they can get sick," she said.
"We just need to protect the kids as much as we can, but prevent the spread."