Ontario is reporting fewer than 600 new cases of COVID-19 on the first day of its partial economic reopening.

The Ministry of Health says that there were 574 new instances of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus confirmed on Thursday along with four more deaths.

The number is down from the 914 cases reported on this day last week.

As a result, Ontario’s rolling seven-day average has declined by nearly eight per cent compared to yesterday and now stands at 568.

It had stood at 1,353 as recently as two weeks ago.

The positivity rate also continue to hover around levels not seen in months.

On Thursday the province’s labs processed nearly 29,000 individual tests and only two per cent of them came back positive.

It is the third straight day with a positivity rate of around two per cent but prior to this week the number had not been that low since late February.

The seven-day average for the positivity rate is 2.6 per cent.

Modelling has suggested case counts will continue to decline for at least 10 days

The latest case numbers come one day after the release of new modelling which suggested that case counts will continue to decline for at least 10 more days and could dip below 300 by mid-August in the most likely scenario.

The projections did warn that there could still be a fourth wave of the pandemic if the Delta variant is allowed to run rampant through the community but Science table co-chair Dr. Adalsteinn Brown said that such a scenario was “highly unlikely.”

“This is really all about two things. One is we need to continue to control the variant with the vaccine rollout and that's what we're doing right now. We are at nearly 200,000 doses of the vaccine now per day and if we just continue that part with first and second doses it will be OK. And the other part is that we really just have to step wisely with this reopening,” Dr. Peter Juni, the scientific director of Ontario’s science advisory table, told CP24 on Friday. “With the Delta variant right now it is flat, it is basically the same number of cases per day. That is completely unlike the situation we had with the B. variant In February. It was out of control and we just opened anyway.”

About one-third of the new cases reported on Friday were in Toronto (109 cases) or Peel (84).

Elsewhere in the GTHA, York reported 28 cases, Halton reported 30, Hamilton reported 31 and Durham reported 26.

Waterloo reported 79 cases, which is its highest number in any single 24-hour period in weeks. The Porcupine Health Unit in northern Ontario also reported another 51 cases as it continues to deal with a surge in infections that is occurring despite the steady decline in transmission across most of the province.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations are continuing their steady decline.

The ministry said that there are now 489 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 440 in the ICU.

At the peak of the third wave were more than 900 people in intensive care units, resulting in the province temporarily halting all elective care and setting up a field hospital outside Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre that was partly staffed by Canadian Armed Forces personnel.

Speaking with CP24 about the province’s current trajectory, Juni said that he believes we can avoid a fourth wave and future lockdowns, even with the Delta variant circulating.

“If we do a good job and don't get ahead of ourselves this will be the last one (reopening). Period,” he said.

There have been a total of 538,651 lab-confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic, along with 8,935 deaths.