Provincial health officials are reporting 185 new COVID-19 cases and seven more deaths on Thursday, as the seven-day rolling average remains the same compared to a week ago.

On Wednesday, the province logged 135 new coronavirus cases, while 127 were reported on Tuesday and 130 on Monday.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases now stands at 156, relatively unchanged from an average of 155 seven days ago.

Another 149 people recovered from the virus on Thursday, resulting in 1,363 active cases across the province.

Ontario labs processed nearly 19,600 tests in the past 24 hours, resulting in a positivity rate of 0.9 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.

The province also identified more than 230 lab-confirmed cases of variants of concern on Thursday.

In the Greater Toronto Area, Toronto logged 18 new cases, while 13 were reported in Peel Region, 11 in both York and Durham Regions and 10 in Halton.

There are currently 141 people receiving treatment due to the virus in intensive care units (ICUs) across the province.

Of those in ICUs, 84 are breathing with the help of a ventilator.

To date, there have been 548,794 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases and 538,124 recoveries since January 2020.

More than 8.2 million people in Ontario are fully vaccinated against the disease after receiving two doses of approved vaccines.

Over 18.6 million doses of vaccine have been administered across the province since mid-December, with 125,166 shots into arms yesterday alone.

The latest numbers come almost a week after the province entered Step 3 of the reopening framework last Friday, allowing for indoor dining to resume and gyms and theatres to reopen with some capacity limits.



On Wednesday, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table released a 21-page brief stating that vaccine certificates could be useful in reopening higher-risk settings sooner or at an increased capacity.

These settings include indoor dining, bars, gyms and cultural and sports events.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said vaccine certificates could work in Ontario but they are a challenging concept to enforce.

“I think the key here of course is in the details and in the potential implementation of that, right. This is always a balance between individual rights and freedoms versus public health and public safety. There's always the issue too of equity,” he told CP24 Thursday morning.

Dr. Peter Juni, director of the science table, said the certificates are a good idea to have in the province’s “back pocket” as the dominant Delta variant spreads across the province.

“Now we have Delta and Delta won't go away, things will get worse again. We’re right now in the honeymoon phase and this is good to have in the back pocket, but then we need to address all the complex issues including equity, accessibility, privacy,” he told CP24.

Last week, Premier Doug Ford spoke against implementing a proof-of-vaccination system in the province.

The Ministry of Health reiterated on Thursday that the province will not mandate COVID-19 vaccines.

“Our government has been clear that the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandated for Ontarians, but we do strongly suggest that people embrace the opportunity. To date this approach has been widely successful, with Ontario ranking as one of the world’s leading jurisdictions for population percentage to have received their first dose of the vaccine," a spokesperson for the Minister of Health said in a statement to CP24.

The provincial government had previously said that at least 80 per cent of those 12 years and older need to be partially vaccinated and 75 per cent fully vaccinated before lifting all remaining restrictions.

However, earlier this week, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore suggested that 90 per cent of those 12-plus in Ontario be fully vaccinated before lifting all remaining restrictions.

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.