Ontario is reporting a slight uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases today but the provincewide positivity rate remains at a low not seen in months.

Provincial health officials logged 590 new COVID-19 infections today, up from 411 new cases on Wednesday but down from 870 last Thursday.

With 31,423 tests processed over the past 24 hours, the province is reporting a test positivity rate of two per cent today, unchanged from Wednesday, which marked the lowest positivity rate since late February.

The rolling seven-day average of new infections now stands at 617, down from 940 one week ago.

The active caseload in the province is 6,464 today, down from 9,961 last Thursday.

Another 11 virus-related deaths were confirmed in the province today.

“While today's daily case number is somewhat up from recent days, we do typically see a rise mid week. So, this is not entirely unexpected,” Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Barbara Yaffe said at a news conference Thursday.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have now dipped to 516 today, down from 729 last week. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care has also declined, down from 546 last Thursday to 450 today. That number includes about 30 patients transferred to Ontario from Manitoba.

Of the new cases today, 114 are in Toronto, 130 are in Peel Region, and 61 are in Waterloo Region.

"These trends are because of your continued efforts to adhere to the public health measures, because you are rolling up your sleeves to get vaccinated," Yaffe said.

After a months-long provincewide lockdown, Ontario is preparing to enter Step 1 of the Ford government’s reopening plan on Friday, which will allow patio dining to resume and non-essential retail to reopen at 15 per cent capacity.

Yaffe urged Ontarians to remain vigilant and “make careful choices.”

“Enjoy dinner on a patio and an outdoor fitness class but do so safely. Continue to adhere the public health guidelines that will keep you and those around you healthy and protected,” she said.

In the latest COVID-19 modelling released Thursday afternoon, it suggests that case counts are continuing to decline 'sharply' in the province.

The modelling predicts that the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, will likely become dominant this summer, but its spread could be controlled as long as Ontario continues "to ensure first and second doses in high-risk communities, continue tailoring vaccine clinics to community needs, and ensure strong testing and case and contact tracing.”

The spread of the more infectious Delta variant has sparked concerns over the possibility of a fourth wave in Ontario.

"This is not a doomsday scenario," said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, the co-chair of Ontario's Science Advisory Table. "We believe that if we're able to follow, really continue a high-risk community-focused vaccination strategy, to do that really quickly and expeditiously that we've got a good chance of controlling the Delta variant and actually, a really good chance of a good summer."

According to Brown, the Delta variant's reproduction rate – the number of people one infected person is expected to infect – has been below one for a few days now.

“As long as we can keep it below, we’ll do well. So, it’s not a doomsday scenario. And we can control the Delta variant with the right actions,” he said.

The province announced Thursday that residents in areas where Delta is a concern, including Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region, can book their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine if they received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 9.

Ontario has now administered 10,627,469 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 182,350 doses that were administered yesterday alone.

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.