Ontario reports 4,362 new COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths; hospitalizations top 2,000
Published Saturday, April 17, 2021 10:17AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, April 17, 2021 12:19PM EDT
Ontario reported more than 4,300 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, as those hospitalized with the virus topped 2,000 for the first time in the pandemic.
Provincial health officials reported 4,362 new coronavirus cases and 34 additional deaths today, the highest single-day death count since Feb. 19 when 47 fatalities were recorded.
On Friday, Ontario reported a record 4,812 infections, while the previous record of 4,736 was logged on Thursday and 4,156 cases were reported on Wednesday.
The seven-day rolling average now stands at 4,370, up by 1,000 from a week ago.
Provincial health officials also logged 2,159 lab-confirmed cases of variants of concern on Saturday. The highly-contagious variants, particularly the B.1.1.7 variant, make up most of the new cases across the province and are driving transmission, according to health officials.
Ontario’s virus-related death toll now stands at 7,698. Of the latest fatalities, one person was between 20 to 39 years old, four were between 40 to 59 years old, 18 were between 60 to 79 years old and 11 were 80 years old and up.
Another 3,611 people recovered from the disease, resulting in 40,694 active cases across the province.
Ontario labs processed 56,852 tests in the past 24 hours, down from 64,304 the previous day.
Another 37,520 tests are still under investigation.
The province’s positivity rate is now 6.9 per cent, compared to 8.2 per cent on Friday, according to the Ministry of Health.
Within the Greater Toronto Area, Toronto logged 1,162 new coronavirus infections, while 936 were reported in Peel Region, 430 in York, 301 in Durham and 144 in Halton.
Ontario hospitals had a record 2,065 patients due to COVID-19 infection in the past 24 hours, marking the first time hospitalizations surpassed 2,000 in the pandemic, which was declared last March.
Of those hospitalized, 726 are in intensive care units and 501 are breathing with the help of a ventilator.
To date, more than 412,700 lab-confirmed cases and 364,353 recoveries have been reported in Ontario since the first case emerged last January.
As of Friday evening, more than 3.7 million doses of vaccine have been administered across the province, with 107,278 shots given out yesterday.
More than 344,200 Ontarians have been fully vaccinated against the virus.
The latest numbers come as Premier Doug Ford announced new restrictions yesterday to combat the third wave of the pandemic.
Included in the new measures are more police powers allowing them to stop and question people who are outside of their homes, prohibiting interprovincial travel and non-essential construction, and the closure of outdoor recreational amenities.
The current stay-at-home order, which was implemented on Apr. 8, was also extended until at least May 20.
On Saturday, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said two mobile health units deployed to Ontario in January would remain in the province for two months to help free up space in hospitals inundated with COVID-19 patients.
The mobile health units "provide additional hospital beds and facilitate the transfer of non-critical care patients out of critical care to ensure those specialized resources are available for those who need it most," according to the release issued Saturday.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter that he spoke to the Atlantic premiers on how they can help Ontario as it struggles to manage the third wave.
Trudeau said he reached out to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, Prince Edward Island Premier Denny King, and Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin.
"We spoke about how we can work together to help Ontarians get through this third wave," Trudeau tweeted.
In a statement, Premier King said he spoke with Ford and Trudeau on Saturday about the situation in Ontario.
"At the request of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford, we have asked health officials to undertake a scan of our current situation to determine if there are any resources which could be available," a statement from King's office reads.
"This process includes officials from the Department of Health and Wellness, Health PEI, Chief Public Health Office and consultation with health unions."
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.