Ontario is reporting 135 new COVID-19 infections today as case counts level off in the province.

Today’s tally is up slightly from 127 on Tuesday but down from 153 reported last week.

The rolling seven-day average of new cases appears to have plateaued this week, reaching 150 today, down only slightly from 164 last Wednesday.

Four more virus-related deaths were reported today.

With 20,750 tests processed over the past 24 hours, the province is reporting a positivity rate of 0.8 per cent today, up slightly from 0.6 per cent one week ago.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICU) in Ontario continues to drop. The Ministry of Health says there are currently 145 people with COVID-19 in hospital ICUs, down from 180 last Wednesday.

As of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, 18,479,003 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province. An estimated 80 per cent of adults in the province have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 65 per cent have two.

Of the new cases reported today, 26 are in Toronto, 16 are in Peel Region, 13 are in Durham Region, 12 are in the Region of Waterloo and 10 are in Middlesex-London.

Ontario is currently in Step 3 of the province’s reopening plan and in order to reach the final step, where all remaining public health restrictions are lifted, the Ford government has said it would like to see at least 80 per cent of those 12 and older partially vaccinated and 75 per cent fully vaccinated.

But on Tuesday, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, indicated that the province’s vaccination goals should be much higher due to the Delta variant.

“The modelling… tells us that once we're at around 90 per cent of the eligible population immunized that the risk of Delta will be less for us,” he said.

“If we remain at around 20 per cent of the population unvaccinated we won't build a community immunity and you'll get breakthrough infections in those individuals that are vaccinated because not all individuals, especially those that are elderly or vulnerable or immune suppressed, will get full protection from the vaccine.”


Delta is 'shifting the goalposts'

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a Toronto-based infectious diseases specialist and member of Ontario’s vaccine task force, said the initial targets were set by the province before more transmissible strains of the virus were circulating.

“We know the Delta variant is just more transmissible… of course that is shifting the goal posts,” he told CP24 on Wednesday.

“You don’t have to look too far to see what happens when you start to lift these restrictions.”

Infections have spiked in parts of Europe where most public health restrictions have been lifted and the increase in transmission is believed to be due, in large part, to the Delta variant.

“We are in stage three. We are doing pretty good. But I think it is fair to say let’s take a peek, let’s see how we are doing here before we lift restrictions even more,” Bogoch said.

“I think we have to approach this cautiously. We don’t have to make the same mistakes that other countries have made.”

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.