Ontario is reporting just under 300 new COVID-19 cases today as the province's active caseload dips below 3,000 for the first time since September.

Provincial health officials logged 296 new infections today, up from 255 on Wednesday but down from the 370 cases confirmed one week ago.

The rolling seven-day average of new infections is down week-over-week, from 443 last Thursday to 305 today.

With 29,514 tests completed in the past 24 hours, Ontario is reporting a provincewide positivity rate of 1.1 per cent, the lowest that number has been since September 25.

Six more virus-related deaths were reported in Ontario today.

Information released by individual public health units and hospitals indicates that there are at least 789 people with COVID-19 receiving treatment at Ontario hospitals.

According to the Ministry of Health, there are 300 COVID-19 patients in intensive care in Ontario hospitals, down from 362 last week.

The number of active, lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario now stands at 2,938, the lowest it has been since Sept. 19.

Of the new cases confirmed today, 95 are in Waterloo, 35 are in Toronto, 20 are in Peel Region, 19 are in Hamilton, and 17 are in Ottawa.

Today marks the lowest single-day case total in Toronto since Sept. 3.

Labs detected another 81 examples of the Delta B.1.617 coronavirus variant, bringing the total number of positive cases confirmed to 1,056 since early April.

As of today, 76 per cent of Ontario residents have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 29 per cent have received two doses.

The decline in new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, coupled with th uptick in vaccinations in Ontario, has prompted the Ford government to move the province into Step 2 of the reopening plan earlier than expected.

This morning, the province confirmed that Ontario will enter Step 2 on June 30, two days earlier than was initially planned.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist and member of Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine task force, said Thursday that the province is ready for the next stage of reopening.

"We have shrinking case counts, we have a vaccine program that is rolling ahead at a 100 miles an hour, and we have hospitals that are increasingly decompressed and ICUs that are increasingly decompressed," he told CP24. "(It's) time to move forward."

In Step 2, personal care services, including salons and barbershops, can reopen. Outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people and indoor gatherings of up to five people will be permitted. Outdoor amusement parks and water parks can also open for the season on Wednesday.

"We've certainly achieved those (vaccination) targets, but we've also achieved the other metrics that we've been looking at, such as hospitalizations, number of new cases, the number of people in intensive care," Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Thursday.

"We are very pleased that we're going to be able to move into Stage 2."

Waterloo will be held back from entering Stage 2 due to a high number of Delta variant cases circulating in the region.

Elliott said Waterloo's progress will determine when the rest of the province can advance to Step 3 of the reopening plan.

"We still need to proceed very cautiously. We're not in the clear just yet, but we will see over the next several weeks how things are progressing in Waterloo and then we'll be able to make a determination then about where we stand in terms of going into stage three."

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.