Ontario reports 1,023 new cases of COVID-19, 6 more deaths
Published Monday, March 1, 2021 10:15AM EST
Last Updated Monday, March 1, 2021 4:01PM EST
Ontario logged just over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 today and six more virus-related deaths, the lowest single-day death toll reported since late October.
Ontario health officials confirmed 1,023 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus on Monday, down from 1,062 on Sunday and 1,185 on Saturday. Today's case count is also lower than the 1,058 infections logged one week ago.
Six new virus-related deaths were confirmed today, the lowest single-day death toll reported since Oct. 28, when just five new deaths were logged in the province.
The rolling seven-day average of new deaths now sits at 16, down from 24 at this point last week.
Just over 35,000 tests were processed over the past 24 hours with the Ministry of Health reporting a provincewide positivity rate of 3.1 per cent today, down from 3.3 per cent last Monday.
The rolling seven-day average of new infections is now 1,099, up from 1,045 last week.
According to the province, there are now 659 patients infected with COVID-19 who are receiving treatment in hospital, up from 646 seven days ago.
The number of patients in intensive care is now 280, down from 289 on Sunday but unchanged from last Monday.
It should be noted that hospitalization data is less reliable early in the week due to gaps in reporting from some hospitals in the province.
The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario is now 10,570, up from 10,335 last Monday. Of the new cases reported today, 280 are in Toronto, 182 are in Peel Region, and 72 are in Ottawa.
New restrictions imposed in 2 Ontario regions
The Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka public health units are under new restrictions starting today following a surge in COVID-19 infections in both regions. The province activated its so-called "emergency brake" last week to place both public health units into the grey, or "lockdown," category of its colour-coded reopening framework.
The move forced restaurants to shut down in-person dining once again and close gyms, barbershops, and hair salons.
The rise in cases in those regions has been partially attributed to the circulation of more transmissible COVID-19 variants. The Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit is reporting a total of nearly 200 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom. This accounts for more than a third of all confirmed cases involving a variant of concern across Ontario.
The province reported another seven cases of the B.1.1.7 variant on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 535. There are a total of 27 confirmed B.1.351 variant cases in Ontario along with three of the P.1 variant of concern.
Thousands of additional cases have screened positive for a variant of concern but have not yet undergone full genome sequencing. The province has said it is only a matter of time before the B.1.1.7 variant becomes the dominant strain in Ontario.
Some regions will be ahead in vaccinating priority groups
The province continues to roll out vaccine doses as part of Phase 1 of its COVID-19 vaccination program and starting today, multiple regions of Ontario, including Hamilton and York Region, began inoculating members of the general population over the age of 80. Ontario has administered a total of 704,695 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to date and 263,214 people have received two doses for full immunization.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference on Monday afternoon, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said going forward, regions will likely be vaccinating different priority groups at different times.
“What we understand is the demand and the need varies from area to area and we like our health units to respond to that still keeping to the priority list they are supposed to deal with,” Williams said on Monday.
“The fact that there might be a difference between one health unit to another and one can proceed to the next group on their priority list is only but reasonable in that situation there because if you have to wait for everyone to finish one level, then there are going to be vaccines sitting in fridges while you wait for everyone to get caught up because the demographics are not equal everywhere.”
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.