Ontario reported 3,295 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, along with 19 more deaths, as hospital ICU admissions hit a new record high.

Ontario reported 3,215 new cases on Wednesday, 3,065 on Tuesday and 2,938 on Monday.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases is now 3,093, up from 2,988 yesterday.

It’s the highest daily standalone count of cases recorded since Jan. 17.

There are now more than 28,000 known active cases of infection across the province, with 7,494 confirmed deaths and 338,559 recoveries.

“Locally, there are 933 new cases in Toronto, 649 in Peel, 386 in York Region, 165 in Durham and 160 in Ottawa,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.

Hospital admissions continue to increase, with the Ministry of Health reporting a total of 1,417 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Thursday, and 525 in intensive care, more than 100 higher than the province’s Wave 2 peak of 420.

A count of data from local public health units and hospital networks found 1,459 patients in hospital due to COVID-19 on Thursday.

The Ministry said 331 people were breathing with the help of a ventilator. Overall hospital capacity hit its highest point since Jan. 26.

“Our healthcare system is already strained and needs to be addressed before it is completely overwhelmed and we lose the ability to care for all patients,” Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said Thursday afternoon.

The latest modelling developed by the COVID-19 Science Table indicated that even outside of a worst-case scenario, ICU occupancy due to COVID-19 could hit 800 by May, leading to drug shortages, diminished standards of care and possible triage decisions on who to try and save.

Dr. Zain Chagla of St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton said that the province has not yet seen its peak in cases, which presents serious risk for hospitals.

“The people in the ICU now are not leaving tomorrow, they usually stay for in the ICU period of time, and the same with regular hospitalizations.”

“Those are probably going to grow even after cases start peaking.”

He said it could take five or six more weeks for the burden on hospitals to reach its peak.

Yaffe denied the charge that the province waited too long to implement harsh measures.

“We don’t wait to the see the ICU numbers go up and we’ve been working very had to see what public health measures need to be put in place.”

“We cannot wait for ICU numbers to go up, that is the very last indicator before death.”

She said it was the rates of growth in cases and hospitalizations observed during the Easter long weekend that prompted officials to recommend a new stay at home order.

Ontario began a second 28-day stay-at-home order and provincial state of emergency today, with the aim of reducing COVID-19 case growth enough to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

Provincial labs processed 63,846 tests in the past 24 hours, generating a positivity rate when errors and duplicates are accounted for of six per cent.

A further 42,400 specimens are still under investigation.

Elsewhere in the GTA, Halton Region reported 156 new cases and Hamilton reported 83.

The province says that 108,000 more doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered on April 7, bringing the total number administered to more than 2.8 million.

The province announced a major expansion of vaccine eligibility on Wednesday, aimed at adults in hotspot postal codes in the GTA, select teachers and essential workers.

They aim to have delivered at least a first shot of an approved vaccine to 40 per cent of the population by the end of April.

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.