Ontario is reporting another 46 net new virus-related deaths today, the highest single-day total recorded in the province since February.

Today’s death toll, which includes deaths that have been confirmed over the past month, is the highest reported in a single day since Feb. 2, 2021, when 48 virus-related deaths were confirmed in Ontario.

Provincial health officials said Wednesday that there are now 3,448 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 505 adults in intensive care. This is up from 2,081 and 288 respectively last Wednesday.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said about 54 per cent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 were admitted due to the virus while 46 per cent were admitted for other reasons. For those in the ICU, 83 per cent per cent were admitted due to COVID-19 and 17 per cent were admitted for other reasons and are now testing positive, she added.

Experts have cautioned that regardless of the reason COVID-19 patients have been admitted to hospital, the overall burden on the health-care system remains high.

“Once you’re infectious, the entire procedure is actually changed and it’s burdening the health-care system disproportionately. We can’t just say, ‘OK, the main reason for admissions wasn’t COVID-19, therefore it’s irrelevant.’ This is absolutely an untrue statement,” Dr. Peter Jüni, the scientific director of the Ontario Science Advisory Table, told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday.

A complete breakdown of the vaccination status of patients in hospital was not available today.

The province says there are about 522 adult ICU beds currently available in the province, down from 559 one week ago.

The province said as of Jan. 10, there were about 63 children between the ages of 0 and four with COVID-19 receiving treatment in Ontario hospitals. This group has the highest rate of hospitalization of any age group under 60. There are eight children with COVID-19 receiving treatment in the ICU.

Another 9,783 new cases were logged today but due to testing restrictions, that number is likely a significant undercount of the true number of new infections in Ontario.

Of the cases confirmed today, 1,347 involve people who are unvaccinated, 327 involve those who are partially vaccinated, 7,673 involve people with at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 435 involve people with an unknown vaccination status.

The province says 56,420 tests were processed over the past 24 hours and as a result, officials are reporting a provincewide positivity rate of 20.3 per cent. That is a notable decline from last week, when the positivity rate stood at 28.1 per cent. Officials have said a decline in the positivity rate is a positive early indicator but note that this wave of the virus driven by the more infectious Omicron variant likely won’t peak until later this month.

Of the deaths confirmed today, 15 involved residents of long-term care. The province says there are now 389 COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care homes in Ontario, up from 254 one week ago.

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.