The number of people being treated for COVID-19 in intensive care has hit its lowest point since December, as the overall burden on the healthcare system continues to ease following the sixth wave of the pandemic.

The latest data from the Ministry of Health indicates that there are at least 1,024 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 151 in Ontario intensive care units.

It is the lowest number of COVID patients in the ICU since Dec. 10.

It should, however, be noted that about 10 per cent of hospitals do not upload occupancy data to the ministry on weekends.

Overall COVID hospitalizations are now down 12 per cent from this time last week, while the number of people in the ICU is down 27 per cent.

Other public health indicators are also showing steady improvements, weeks after wastewater surveillance data started to point to a drop in overall virus activity.

Over the last 24 hours Ontario’s labs confirmed 1,564 new cases of COVID-19 through PCR testing, compared to 1,934 during the same time period last week and 2,243 the previous week (May 1).

Outbreaks in the handful of settings with widespread access to PCR testing were also down slightly week-over-week. There are now 192 active outbreaks in long-term care homes and 126 in retirement homes, compared to 200 and 162 respectively last Sunday.

Similarly, the number of outbreaks in hospitals has decreased from 104 to 89 over the last week.

““We’re in a better place than we were – I am cautiously optimistic that we’ll have a better summer as the weather improves,” Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore told CP24 on Friday.

Seven more deaths

Previous projections from Ontario’s science advisory table had warned that the province was likely to see 500 COVID patients in the ICU by this month but the number actually peaked at 219 on April 26 and has been gradually coming down since then.

Deaths do remain elevated as the most of lagging of indicators, with the ministry adding another seven net new deaths to its COVID tally on Sunday.

Since the onset of the pandemic more than two years ago, a total of 13,070 Ontarians have died as a result of COVID-19. 

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.