Ontario reported more than 6,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past two days, as the province entered a month-long shutdown on Saturday to curb rising infections.

Provincial health officials logged 3,009 new cases today and 3,089 cases on Friday.

The Ministry of Health did not report numbers yesterday due to the Good Friday holiday.

The last time the province logged more than 3,000 coronavirus cases was on Jan. 17 with 3,422  infections.

The province reported 2,557 new cases on Thursday, 2,333 on Wednesday and 2,336 on Tuesday. 

The seven-day rolling average of new cases now stands at 2,552, compared to 1,944 seven days ago.

Provincial health officials also reported 39 more virus-related deaths in the past two days. None of the latest fatalities were among long-term care home residents.

Most of the latest deaths were among those 60 and older, with 21 between 60 and 79 years old and 17 aged 80 and up. Ontario’s virus-related death toll now stands at 7,428.

Another 98 lab-confirmed highly-contagious variants of concern were identified over the past two days with 89 of the dominant B.1.1.7 variant, three of the B.1.351 variant and six of the P.1 variant.

In addition, nearly 2,100 cases that have screened positive for a variant of concern are awaiting whole genome sequencing to confirm their lineage, with a total of 24,459 cases waiting for further testing to confirm which variant they are.

More than 3,700 people have recovered from the disease in the past two days, resulting in 23,190 active cases of the virus across the province today.

Ontario labs processed more than 121,400 tests in the past two days.

More than 25,000 tests are under investigation.

The province’s positivity rate stands at 5 per cent, compared to 4.8 per cent two days ago, according to the Ministry of Health.

Most of the new cases continue to be in the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto logged 954 today, while 434 cases were reported in Peel Region, 348 in York, 138 in Durham and 91 in Halton.

Meanwhile, Hamilton logged 146 new cases, while 145 new infections were reported in Middlesex-London and 205 in Ottawa.

Of Ontario’s 34 public health units, 14 reported 30 or more new COVID-19 cases.

As coronavirus infections continue to climb across the province, hospitalizations continue to remain elevated.

The Ministry of Health says there are currently 796 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 infection across the province, compared to 1,162 on Friday.

The government has said that hospitalizations are typically under reported on the weekends due to delayed reporting from hospitals and public health units.

Of those hospitalized, 451 are in intensive care units, up by 16 from the previous day, and 261 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

The director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital Dr. Michael Warner says the provincial shutdown won't be effective in driving down case counts and hospitalizations.

“The GTA is on fire with COVID-19, as are the hospitals that serve them and unless something changes now this situation will get so far out of control that I don’t even want to consider what we might have to do if things don’t change,” he said.

To date, there have been over 358,500 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 327,940 recoveries in the province since the first case emerged in Ontario last January.

More than 321,400 people in Ontario have been fully vaccinated against the disease since mid-December. All vaccines that are currently being administered in the province require two doses for full immunization.

As of Friday evening, over 2.4 million doses have been given to people in the province, with more than 59,500 doses administered yesterday alone.

The latest numbers come as the province entered a four-week shutdown on Saturday to control COVID-19 transmission.

Indoor dining, along with gyms and hair salons must close but essential businesses and non-essential retail are allowed to remain open with capacity limits.

Although a stay-at-home order is not in effect, the government is encouraging people to stay home unless they need to leave for essential reasons, including going to work, buying food, medical reasons and exercise.

Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters on Saturday that the latest numbers are “deeply troubling” and that Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the right decision in implementing a shutdown.

He added that he’s in favour of considering additional measures to control COVID-19 transmission.

“I just think we’re at a very crucial point right now where the vaccines are getting administered. We had almost 40,000 people sign up [at Toronto vaccination clinics] in the last day or two which is great but we need to get caught up. And in order to get caught up we have to bring the level of infection down and that’s really going to involve people following the rules,” he told reporters while attending the Daily Bread Food Bank’s spring food drive in Etobicoke.

The Ministry of Health will not be releasing COVID-19 numbers tomorrow due to the Easter long weekend but the numbers will be posted on Monday.

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.