Ontario reported 42 new deaths due to COVID-19 on Friday, as hospitalizations continued to climb to pandemic-record highs.

The Ministry of Health says there are 3,814 people in hospital with COVID-19, up nearly 200 from 24 hours prior.

Of those, 527 adults are in intensive care and 288 are breathing with a ventilator, up from 388 and 177 respectively one week ago.

There are also eight children in pediatric ICU care due to COVID-19.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said that 54 per cent of admitted acute care hospital patients were being treated because of COVID-19 and 46 per cent were admitted for a different medical issue.

Public Health Ontario says that there have been 95 hospital admissions due to COVID-19 involving children 11 and younger in the past two weeks, the highest that number has ever been.

Yesterday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore suggested the province could see a peak in hospital admissions due to Omicron by next week.

The Ford government closed indoor dining and fitness centre activity on Jan. 5, saying the closure would be "time-limited" and end on Jan. 26.

Moore said Thursday he could not "guarantee" that reopening timeline for businesses. Public schools will resume in-person learning on Monday.

Forty-one of Friday’s reported deaths occurred in the past month and one new death was confirmed prior to Dec. 14.

There have now been 10,522 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 in Ontario since March 2020, including 206 in the past week.

Eleven of Friday’s deaths involved residents of the long-term care system.

Of Friday’s confirmed cases, 1,458 involved unvaccinated people, 365 involved partially vaccinated people, 8,518 involved people with at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses and the status of an additional 623 cases was not known.

Of those still eligible for PCR COVID-19 testing in the province, 10,964 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Friday.

Provincial labs processed 58,031 specimens in the previous period, generating a positivity rate of 21.8 per cent.

The progression of the Omicron variant through the province and the country has become harder and harder to track and model as jurisdictions limit access to testing.

Health bureaucrats are hoping the hospitalization climb crests sometime later in January, with ICU admissions peaking sometime early in February.

UHN infectious diseases specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy told CP24 he believes we are farther away from a peak in hospital admissions than Ontario public health leaders are stating publicly.

“We are seeing more COVID patients every day,” he said. “We’re talking about opening more COVID units in our hospital and I hear the same thing from other hospitals in the GTA.”

He said that students should be in school, but he doesn’t believe he’s seen any evidence to suggest Jan. 17 is the right time for re-opening from an epidemiological perspective.

“The question is not whether they should be in school, the question is should they be in school right now. Is it the right time, as opposed to waiting a couple of weeks and not leveraging what could happen as a risk against their mental health and everything else that has been posed as suffering in the meantime.”

The province says 163,036 vaccine doses were administered on Thursday, including 13,720 first doses, 12,766 second doses and 136,327 third doses.

Across all age groups, 83.5 per cent of residents have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 78 per cent have two doses and 36 per cent have three doses.

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.