Ontario reported a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations today as Premier Doug Ford says residents can expect “positive news” this week about loosening current pandemic restrictions.
There are 4,183 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the province, up from 3,887 yesterday and 3,220 a week ago.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says 53.5 per cent of patients were admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 and 46.5 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive.
Of those in hospital, 580 are in intensive care, compared to 477 a week ago, and 337 ICU patients are breathing with the help of a ventilator.
Over 82 per cent of ICU patients were admitted to hospitals for the virus and 17.9 per cent were admitted for other reasons but tested positive.
The province reported another 38 virus-related deaths today, with 37 occurring in the past month and the remaining death occurring more than a month ago.
The virus-related death toll now stands at 10,666.
Long-term care homes continue to battle the highly-contagious Omicron variant as there are 421 active outbreaks at homes across the province, up from 369 a week ago.
The latest numbers come as Premier Ford told a radio station in Ottawa that the government will make an announcement later this week about reducing some pandemic restrictions in the province.
“We’ll have a good announcement by the end of the week,” Ford told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll Tuesday morning.
“We’ll have some positive news. I believe we’re going to make some announcements later this week about going back to other levels of restrictions.”
Ontario returned to a modified Step 2 on Jan. 5, resulting in the closure of indoor dining, gyms, theatres, and reducing private social gathering limits to five indoors and 10 outdoors.
The province also pivoted to virtual learning for two weeks after the winter break, however, many school boards cancelled the start of in-person learning yesterday and today due to the winter storm that hit the GTA.
Ontario labs processed 31,355 tests in the past 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 24.5 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.
The positivity rate appears to be plateauing as it was 24.4 per cent a week ago and 30.9 per cent two weeks ago.
The province logged 7,086 new coronavirus cases today, down from 8,521 cases yesterday, but the case count is likely a significant underestimate due to limited testing capacity.
Among today’s new cases, 5,439 individuals are fully vaccinated, 1,087 are unvaccinated, 245 are partially vaccinated and 314 have an unknown vaccination status.
So far, 88 per cent of Ontarians five years and older have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 82 per cent have received two doses and 40 per cent have received three doses.
To date, there have been 963,693 lab-confirmed coronavirus infections and 861,554 recoveries in Ontario since the pandemic began in Jan. 2020.
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.