Ontario reported a more than 23 per cent week-over-week increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday as one epidemiologist says the province is now in a sixth wave of the pandemic.

The Ministry of Health says there are currently 790 patients with the virus in Ontario hospitals, compared to 639 a week ago.

Forty-seven per cent of hospitalized patients were admitted with the virus and 53 per cent were admitted for other reasons but tested positive for the virus, the ministry says.

It’s the highest number of hospitalizations Ontario has seen since March 5 when 795 patients were admitted.

While hospitalizations have been rising over the past week, ICU occupancy has recently started to increase.

Of those currently hospitalized, 165 are in intensive care, up from 158 yesterday but down down from 179 this time a week ago. Seventy-two per cent of ICU patients were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and 28 per cent were admitted for other reasons.

The Ministry of Health says seven of the nine deaths reported today occurred in the past month and two occurred more than a month ago. Two of the deaths were long-term care home residents.

The province says there have been 12,414 virus-related deaths since March 2020.

Ontario labs processed more than 12,300 tests in the past 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 14.4 per cent, up from 12.2 per cent a week ago, according to the ministry.

Another 1,610 lab-confirmed coronavirus infections were reported today, but that is an underestimate due to limited PCR testing in the province.

The Ontario Science Advisory Table says wastewater surveillance data indicates that transmission is on the rise across the province and is doubling every 10 days.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says as cases are increasing, the province is now in a sixth wave of the pandemic.

“It's clear that there are more cases now than there were a week ago and two weeks ago. We could call this a wave, we just don't know the size of the wave but it's here,” he told CP24 Tuesday morning.

“I think it's fair to say that we'll see a rise (in cases), it's just not quite clear how big it's going to be,” he added.

Among the latest cases reported today, 842 of the individuals received three doses, 431 received two doses, 232 are not fully vaccinated and 105 have an unknown vaccination status.

So far, 89 per cent of eligible Ontarians aged five years and older have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 86 per cent have received two doses and 51 per cent have received three 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.