Ontario reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 and 28 deaths on Friday, also marking the first day in four months where nobody in the long-term care system died of the disease.

Ontario reported 1,138 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 1,054 on Wednesday.

It’s the fourth straight day of increases in the province, as all but 3 of Ontario’s 34 public health units reopened non-essential retail, restaurants and fitness centres earlier this week.

The seven-day rolling average of cases now stands at 1,114, up from 1,098 on Thursday and 1,016 eight days ago.

The number of active cases rose for the second day in a row, to 10,294, still well below our January peak of more than 30,000 active infections.

All of the deaths reported on Friday occurred outside of the long-term care system, the first time that has happened in since Oct. 26. All long-term care residents in the province have received at least one dose of an approved coronavirus vaccine.

Across the GTA, there were 362 new cases in Toronto, 274 new cases in Peel, 104 new cases in York Region, 42 in Durham, 32 in Halton and 64 in Hamilton.

Provincial labs processed 64,049 specimens in the past 24 hours, generating a positivity rate of 2.3 per cent.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CP24 that Thursday’s modelling briefing, although cautiously optimistic, told us that things could still get drastically out of hand with our current daily case growth.

“It was a little more rosy, it does paint a little better picture, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “We’re still at 900-1,200 new cases per day here in Ontario, and if we do let our guard down, it will get out of control very quickly.”

Hospitalizations held flat according to official Ministry of Health statistics, which stated 683 people were in hospital, with 284 in intensive care and 193 breathing with the help of a ventilator.

But a Toronto ICU doctor citing Critical Care Services Ontario data said there were 333 patients with COVID-19 in intensive care across the province.

Local public health units and hospital networks reported there were 895 people in hospital due to COVID-19 on Friday, nearly 25 per cent more than what the Ministry of Health was reporting.

The number of variant of concern cases fully confirmed through whole genomic sequencing rose by 31 on Friday, to 477 B.1.1.7 cases, 14 B.1.351 cases and two P.1 cases.

Meanwhile, the province continues to ramp up its coronavirus vaccine rollout, with several public health units already scheduling or administering vaccines to people aged 80 or over living in the general community.

More than 21,000 doses were administered in the past 24 hours, increasing the provincial total of shots administered to 643,765.

More than 258,000 people have now completed their full two-dose inoculation.