Ontario is reporting more than 3,400 new COVID-19 cases and 10 more deaths on Tuesday as hospitalizations continue to rise amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Provincial health officials logged 3,453 new infections today, down from 3,784 a day ago but up from 1,429 a week ago.

Over the past few weeks, cases have been rising steadily across Ontario as the Omicron variant now accounts for 91 per cent of coronavirus cases in the province, according to Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said the variant became the dominant strain in the province as of last week.

The table also said the variant has a doubling time of 2.9 days.

Ontario recorded 4,177 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, 3,301 on Saturday and 3,124 on Friday.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases hit 3,153 today, a notable rise from 1,400 a week ago, and a high not seen since May 8 when the average was 3,193.

Among the latest cases, 673 of today’s cases are unvaccinated individuals, 132 are partially vaccinated, 148 have an unknown vaccination status and 2,500 are fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated individuals, who represent about 18 per cent of Ontario’s population, account for 19 per cent of today’s cases.

Yesterday, the province administered over 206,000 vaccines as people are scrambling to get third doses for increased protection against the virus amid the holidays. A total of more than 2.1 million third doses have been administered so far in Ontario.

On Monday, booster dose eligibility opened to all Ontarians 18 years and older in an effort to combat the Omicron variant.

“I'm once again asking for call to arms and urge everyone to book their appointment as soon as you can to protect yourself and your loved ones. Evidence is showing us that vaccines likely provide strong protection against severe illness from Omicron especially with a booster dose,” Moore said in a COVID-19 update Tuesday afternoon.

Infectious diseases specialist at Toronto General Hospital Dr. Isaac Bogoch says it could take about seven days for a third dose to provide any protective benefits, but cautioned that vaccinated individuals can still get the virus.

“Even with that third dose, of course you can still get COVID. We've seen multiple cases of people with three doses that still had COVID. So remember that the vaccines are excellent, but they're not perfect,” he told CP24 Tuesday morning

“The predicted effectiveness of the three dose series is about 70 per cent in reducing the probability of symptomatic infection. So that's not nothing, that's actually pretty impressive. But again, that's only early data, that data might change,” he added.

To date, about 86 per cent of Ontarians aged five years and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 81 per cent have received two doses.

The province reported another 11 more virus-related deaths today and removed one death from the cumulative total, raising the death toll to 10,123.

Another 1,332 people recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours, resulting in 25,702 active cases, compared to 12,032 active cases a week ago.

Ontario labs processed more than 49,200 tests yesterday, producing a positivity rate of 9.9 per cent, a significant rise from 6.6 per cent a week ago, the ministry says. Today’s positivity rate is the highest observed since late April.

Over 48,000 tests are currently under investigation as labs are struggling to keep up with the surge in testing over the past week.

Moore said people can expect delays in booking tests due to the high demand right now.

“Increasing demand is making it more challenging to access timely testing, and individuals seeking test appointments may experience longer wait times in some areas of the province.”

In the Greater Toronto Area, Toronto reported 901 new cases, while 280 new infections were logged in Peel Region, 345 in York, 245 in Halton and 160 in Durham.

There are currently 412 people with the virus in Ontario hospitals and 165 of them are in intensive care units. 

The province says 145 of hospital patients are unvaccinated, 109 are fully vaccinated and 12 are partially vaccinated.

Meanwhile, 128 of the ICU patients are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status and 37 are fully vaccinated.

Moore said that so far only 15 of the 4,600 people with lab-confirmed cases of the Omicron variant have ended up in hospital, providing some degree of hope for the coming weeks.

But he also said that the increased infectiousness of the Omicron variant could still result in a significant strain on health-care resources.

“Even if is much less virulent its attack rate could mean that it spreads so rapidly that it will have an effect on our hospital sector,” he warned. 

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.