Ontario is reporting 834 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths as processed tests continue to be below the province’s daily target.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said that more than 30,000 tests were processed by provincial labs within the last 24 hours, up from the nearly 24,000 tests conducted a day ago but still under the province’s goal of 50,000 tests a day.
On Tuesday, Elliott said there are plans to increase pop-up and mobile testing in several Toronto and Peel Region neighbourhoods where there has been a significant drop in testing since the province switched to appointments only earlier this month.
“We know that since we have moved into testing by appointment only there are some people who are not coming in for testing so we need to go to them,” Elliott said on Tuesday during a news conference from Brampton.
Infectious Diseases Expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch agrees that current testing numbers are not a true representation of how many COVID-19 cases there are across the province.
“I think as we have a growing capacity to do tests we’ll probably see some pivot or some shift in the policy as to how people can get tests done,” Bogoch told CP24 Wednesday morning. “I agree completely with you that this online booking policy is not perfect and certainly won’t be a completely accurate reflection of who’s getting this infection.”
Ontario recorded 827 new infections on Tuesday, 851 on Monday and a record-high 1,042 cases on Sunday.
With the latest numbers, the province’s positivity rate is now at least 2.77 per cent, a drop from 3.46 per cent a day ago.
The seven-day rolling average now stands at 885 compared to 753 a week ago.
Most of the new infections continue to be in the Greater Toronto Area.
"Locally, there are 299 new cases in Toronto, 186 in Peel, 121 in York Region and 76 in Ottawa,” Elliott tweeted Wednesday morning.
Elsewhere in the GTA, Durham Region logged 26 new cases, down from 44 on Tuesday, and Halton recorded 24 new infections, up from 10 a day ago.
Meanwhile, Niagara Region recorded 17 new cases, a noticeable increase from four infections recorded on Tuesday.
Among the new infections, 313 are among patients between 20 and 39 years old, while 42 are 80 years old and over.
There are 773 more resolved cases on Wednesday bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 7,474.
To date, more than 72,800 Ontarians have contracted the novel coronavirus since late January and 62,303 people have recovered. The virus death toll in Ontario now stands at 3,108.
Among today’s new deaths, two were long-term care home residents.
There are currently 87 long-term care homes in Ontario with an outbreak, a drop of one from Tuesday.
According to the province, 312 people are being treated for the virus in hospitals, unchanged from a day ago. But a count of today's data from local public health units and hospital networks found that 337 people are hospitalized for the virus, down from 348 on Tuesday.
Seventy-one patients are currently in an intensive care unit and 51 of those patients are breathing with the help of a ventilator.