Ontario is reporting a slight increase in the number of COVID-19 cases detected through PCR testing for the second consecutive week, but most other public health indicators remain stable.

The latest data from the Ministry of Health suggests that there were 8,354 new lab-confirmed cases over the last seven days, up from 7,945 the previous week and 7,419 the week before that.

The positivity rate, meanwhile, was virtually unchanged at 11.98 per cent.

The data points to the level of viral activity remaining relatively stable in Ontario, despite concerns around the return of approximately two million public school students earlier this month.

The ministry says that as of Wednesday, there were 1,141 people in hospital with COVID-19, down slightly from the 1,167 people who were hospitalized at this time last week.

Of those hospitalized, 129 are receiving treatment in intensive care. That’s virtually unchanged from last week when 130 COVID-19 positive patients were in intensive care.

The number of active outbreaks in the handful of sectors with widespread access to PCR testing are also holding relatively stable, with week-over-week declines reported amongst long-term care homes, hospitals, shelters and correctional facilities.

Deaths do remain elevated with 65 new fatalities linked to COVID-19 added to the province’s tally on Thursday.

Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, a total of 14,279 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in Ontario.