Ontario reported 70 more COVID-19 deaths today and over 3,600 patients are hospitalized with the virus, a notable day-over-day drop in hospitalizations amid the fifth wave of the pandemic.

There are currently 3,645 patients hospitalized with the virus in Ontario, compared to 4,016 yesterday and 4,061 a week ago, according to the Ministry of Health.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 56 per cent of the latest hospital patients were admitted for the virus and 44 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for COVID-19.

Of those hospitalized, 599 are in ICU, up from 594 a week ago, and 366 are breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Although ICU capacity is up week-over-week, today marks the third straight day of declines in the number of COVID-19 ICU patients.

Eighty-two per cent of the latest ICU patients were admitted to hospital for COVID-19 and 18 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for the virus, according to Elliott.

The 70 deaths reported today occurred in the past 19 days, the ministry says.

Ontario’s virus-related death toll now stands at 11,230.

Among the dead, over 10,200 of the individuals were over 60 years old and 938 were under 59 years old, including 10 who were 19 and under.

Ontario’s virus-related death toll now stands at 11,230.

Provincial labs processed more than 33,500 tests in the past 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 14.1 per cent, compared to 15.9 per cent a week ago, the ministry says.

"This past week, our average per cent positivity of tests is 18.41 per cent compared to the previous week, when it was 22 per cent," Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, told reporters during an news conference on Thursday afternoon. 

"Based on the current stabilization in Ontario’s testing strategy, this is likely reflective of a real decline."

Another 5,852 coronavirus cases were logged in the province today, but that is likely a significant undercount due to testing restrictions.

Among the latest cases, 4,004 of the individuals are fully vaccinated, 960 are unvaccinated, 236 are partially vaccinated and 652 have an unknown vaccination status, according to the ministry.

COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care homes appear to be slowly declining. There are currently 384 active outbreaks at homes across the province, compared to 420 a week ago.

So far, 88 per cent of eligible Ontarians aged five years and older have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 83 per cent have received two doses and 44 per cent have received three doses.

To date there have been 1,016,099 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 950,795 recoveries in Ontario since the pandemic began over two years ago.

On Monday, the province is set to lift some public health restrictions as key indicators, such as wastewater signals, are showing signs of waning transmission of the Omicron variant across the province.

Select indoor settings, including indoor dining, gyms and cinemas, are set to reopen at 50 per cent capacity after being shuttered on Jan. 5 in an effort to reduce virus spread.

CTV News Toronto learned today that moviegoers will be allowed to eat concession snacks in cinemas when they reopen, an act that was previously restricted earlier in the fifth wave.

"Because of your extraordinary efforts to help blunt the transmission of Omicron and protect our health system capacity, we can gradually begin easing public health measures," Moore said on Thursday. 

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.