Ontario reports 1,000+ COVID-19 cases for first time since May 2021
Published Friday, December 3, 2021 10:14AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 3, 2021 10:14AM EST
Ontario reported 1,031 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths on Friday, the first time overall case counts surpassed 1,000 since late May.
The last time Ontario reported more than 1,000 cases was on May 30, when most activities were heavily curtailed under the province’s final stay at home order.
The province reported 959 new cases on Thursday and 780 on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Health said 504 of Friday’s cases involved unvaccinated people, 27 cases involved partially vaccinated people, 442 involved fully vaccinated people and the vaccination status of 58 other cases were not known.
Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table still finds full vaccination reduces relative risk of infection by 82 per cent, hospital admission by 94 per cent and ICU admission by 97 per cent.
Provincial labs processed nearly 40,000 test specimens, generating a positivity rate once duplicate tests and errors are excluded of 2.9 per cent.
There are now 7,217 known active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, up more than 200 from Thursday and nearly 1,200 from one week ago.
There have now been 10,016 deaths due to COVID-19 confirmed in Ontario since March 2020. Ontario has reported 25 net new deaths due to COVID-19 in the past week.
The arrival of the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant in the province and waning immunity among older individuals has prompted the province to lower the eligibility for third doses of vaccine to those 50 and up and a wide range of immunocompromised people.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization concurred Friday with the decision to lower eligibility to 50+, and went a step further to suggest that anyone 18 and up should get a third dose if they live in an area with poor healthcare access, high rates of transmission or other factors making them more vulnerable to infection.
The province is also continuing to immunize 5-11 year-olds and is now offering a fourth approved vaccine, the one-dose Janssen shot by Johnson & Johnson, for the first time.
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says there is initial early and non-peer-reviewed data coming from South Africa that Omicron may more easily re-infect people who have been vaccinated or recovered from a prior infection.
“If reinfection is more likely with this variant versus other variants, then we would like to pivot and we would need to expand third dose eligibility,” he said.
He said firm data on Omicron’s virulence, immune escape ability and other metrics may emerge in the next week, and Ontario and federal officials will need to act swiftly once that information appears.
Across the GTA, Toronto reported 133 cases, Peel reported 60, York Region reported 56 and Simcoe Muskoka reported 106 new cases.
Durham Region reported 44 new cases, Halton reported 27 new cases and Hamilton reported 47 new cases.
The Ministry of Health said there were 286 people in hospital on Friday, including 146 in intensive care and 92 breathing with the help of a ventilator.
The province says 76.5 per cent of all residents across all age groups are fully vaccinated and 80 per cent have at least one dose.
Five per cent of the Ontario population has already received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
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.