Ontario is reporting more than 3,200 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily case count logged in the province since mid-January.

Provincial health officials recorded 3,215 new infections today, up from 3,065 on Tuesday and 2,938 on Monday.

It is the highest daily tally reported in the province since Jan. 17, when 3,422 new cases were confirmed.

The rolling seven-day average of new infections is now 2,988, up from 2,316 one week ago.

Data released by the province today indicates that the number of people with COVID-19 in intensive care is now 504, down from 510 on Tuesday but up from 396 last Wednesday.

The number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals is now 1,397, up from 1,111 last week.

With 49,889 tests processed over the past 24 hours, the provincewide positivity rate is now 6.7 per cent, up from 4.8 per cent seven days ago, according to the Ministry of Health.

Ontario now has 27,359 confirmed active COVID-19 infections, up from 20,155 last Wednesday.

Another 17 virus-related deaths were confirmed over the past 24 hours. The average daily death toll in Ontario now stands at 14, down from 16 last week.

Of the new cases confirmed today, 1,095 are in Toronto, 596 are in Peel, 342 are in York Region, 225 are in Ottawa, and 187 are in Durham Region.

The province announced Wednesday afternoon the implementation of a month-long stay-at-home order starting Thursday that will force all non-essential retail stores to close in Ontario.

Premier Doug Ford also said that everyone over the age of 18 in the province's hardest hit neighbourhoods will be prioritized for a COVID-19 shot as part of Phase 2 of the province's vaccine distribution plan.

The announcement comes after Premier Doug Ford introduced a provincewide shutdown last week, closing restaurants, gyms, and many other businesses in all regions of Ontario for four weeks. But many experts urged the province to implement tougher measures to curb the surge in infections propelled by more transmissible COVID-19 variants of concern.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases expert and member of the province's COVID-19 vaccine task force, told CP24 earlier Wednesday that a provincewide shutdown similar to the one implemented in January is necessary to bring cases down.

"As terrible as it was, it worked. We saw our cases peak and we had this plan implemented in January, and they plummeted throughout the month of January... Anything resembling that is probably going to be very effective," he said.

"You need, sadly, at this point, a very blunt tool because your case numbers are so high, your health-care system is really being stretched beyond capacity, and you don't have many other options available to you when you are in a state like this."

But not all experts agree that the new measures will have a significant impact.

Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Toronto's Michael Garron Hospital, said a stay-at-home order without the introduction of other key measures, including vaccinating all adults in hot spot communities, will not be effective.

Officials say more than 100,000 vaccine doses were administered in Ontario yesterday, a new record for the province.

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.