Ontario reported another 68 new deaths due to COVID-19 on Friday, pushing the death toll for the month of January so far above 1,100.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Alexandra Hilkene said four of the deaths reported today occurred on Thursday, 17 occurred on Wednesday and the 46 remaining occurred in the 11 days prior to Wednesday.
One death that occurred more than 30 days was also added to the total.
Fourteen of the deaths disclosed on Friday involved residents of the long-term care system.
The province has detected 1,103 deaths of people infected with COVID-19 this month, although some occurred earlier and were just disclosed this month.
Yesterday, Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore said he was asking the provincial coroner and local public health units to investigative “causative” COVID-19 deaths versus “associative” ones.
Moore also said it was time for the province to “learn to live with the virus,” as he announced a number of measures including an end to contact information collection in restaurants when they reopen and a resumption of some non-emergent diagnostic and other functions in hospitals.
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Issac Bogoch told CP24 he didn’t think Moore’s statement meant we are yet in the position to treat COVID-19 as endemic.
“Our case numbers are probably well on their way down but they’re still pretty high,” he said. “While there certainly will be a time where we’re going to treat this, not like the flu but maybe more similar to the way we treat influenza, we’re still in a pretty rocky spot right now, even if things are heading in the right direction.”
Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates COVID-19 infection has declined from a peak of 1,000 new cases per million residents in early January to just above 300 infections per million today.
There were 5,337 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Ontario on Friday, albeit with many people excluded from access to PCR testing and most rapid antigen test results not considered for the total.
Of those cases confirmed on Friday, 833 involved unvaccinated people, 181 involved people with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 3,806 involved people with at least two doses of a vaccine and the vaccination status of 517 other cases was not known.
The Ministry of Health said there 3,535 total admissions to hospital of people who tested positive for COVID-19, down 110 from yesterday and 579 from one week ago.
Of those admitted, 607 were in intensive care, up eight from yesterday and 17 from one week ago.
Provincial labs processed 32,672 test specimens in the previous period, generating a positivity rate of 14.4 per cent.
The Ministry of Health says 77,698 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered on Thursday, including 6,988 first doses, 16,099 second doses and 54,656 third doses.
Across all age groups, 84.3 per cent of Ontario residents have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 79.1 per cent have two doses and 42.4 per cent have three doses.
In the 5-11 age category, which has been eligible for a first dose for only two months, 52.9 per cent of children have one dose and 14.2 per cent have two doses.
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.