Ontario reported more than 900 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 19 deaths, the fourth day of a slow rise in cases that officials said may keep them from accelerating provincial reopening plans.

The province reported 914 new cases on Friday.

Ontario detected 870 new cases on Thursday, 733 new cases on Wednesday and 699 on Tuesday.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases now stands at 889, down from 1,353 one week ago.

The provincial laboratory network processed 32,258 specimens in the past 24 hours, generating a positivity rate of at least 2.8 per cent.

Positivity has now held constant for the past 3 days in the province.

Across the GTA, Toronto reported 214 new cases, Peel Region reported 169 new cases, York Region reported 31, Durham Region reported 69, Halton reported 33 and Hamilton reported 59.

Two of the 19 deaths reported on Friday involved residents of the long-term care system.

A total of 8,820 people are known to have died from novel coronavirus infection in Ontario since March 2020.

During that time, 75 deaths were detected in people aged 39 or younger, while 5,488 deaths involved residents 80 and older.

Another 1,397 people have recovered from their illness, with 9,459 known active cases remaining.

The Ministry of Health now says there are 687 people in hospital due to COVID-19 across the province, with 522 in intensive care.

At least 31 ICU patients are transfers from Manitoba.

But local public health units and hospital networks were reporting 1,267 patients in hospital due to COVID-19 on Friday, with Toronto Public Health alone reporting nearly 90 more patients than the province’s stated total.

On Thursday, public health officials said the slow climb of cases this week gave them enough concern to back away from suggestions by Ford government ministers that the June 14 start of the three-phase reopening plan could begin earlier than planned.

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates B.1.617 “Delta” variant cases now make up 27 per cent of all new positive samples, with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams saying Thursday that approximately 440 examples of Delta were detected through whole genomic sequencing since mid-April.

Epidemiologists have urged the province to accelerate administering second shots of COVID-19 vaccines, as Delta is believed to be better at evading the immunity granted by a single dose of vaccine than previous strains of the virus.

Ontario responded Friday by announcing it was moving up second dose appointments for those 70+ and people who received their first doses up until April 18 by about three weeks.

Friday saw another 168,322 people receive a dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total number of shots administered to 9.661 million.

More than 896,000 people have received two doses of vaccine to date.

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.