Ontario reported two new COVID-19 deaths on Monday, as hospitalizations crept upward from Sunday’s five-month low.
The Ministry of Health said both new deaths occurred in the past 30 days.
The province has reported 13,072 deaths due to COVID-19 since March 2020.
Meanwhile, there were 159 patients in hospital ICU due to COVID-19 on Monday, up eight from Sunday’s low for 2022.
There were also 1,122 patients total in hospital due to COVID-19, up nearly 100 from Sunday, but the Ministry said that Monday’s count is likely an undercount because not all hospitals report data on weekends.
UHN infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said there are variety of factors contributing to the rapid decline in hospital burden caused by the Omicron subvariant BA.2.
“There’s lots of factors pushing those numbers lower,” he told CP24 on Monday. “There’s seasonal variation to this virus, it’s not everything but it is something. We’re entering a season where we’d expect lower respiratory viral infections. But of course there’s less people in indoor settings.”
He said Omicron is just not as virulent as previous strains of the virus, and a large portion of Ontario’s population was infected in the last four to five months.
“There’s so much community level immunity from vaccination and prior infection.”
“This variant can still pack a punch, it’s just probably not as significant as the Delta variant or the Alpha variant.”
But the exact impact of COVID is still difficult to document. Multiple Canadian health authorities have detected increases in deaths not immediately captured by COVID-19 statistics.
A study released Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found up to nine per cent of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital are re-admitted within 30 days of discharge, and another two per cent die within 30 days of discharge.
The province says 1,061 COVID-19 cases were detected in the previous 24 hours, though that is considered to be a significant undercount as a wide swath of the population is no longer eligible for free PCR testing and rapid antigen test results are usually not documented.
Provincial labs processed 8,132 test specimens in the previous period, generating a positivity rate of at least 7.7 per cent.
The number of continuing outbreaks of COVID-19 in vulnerable settings increased slightly, with 191 of Ontario’s 626 long-term care homes in outbreak, along with 123 retirement homes and 89 hospitals.
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.