Ontario reports fewest new COVID-19 cases since late October; 10 more deaths
Published Wednesday, February 17, 2021 10:17AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 17, 2021 11:02AM EST
Ontario reported 847 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 10 new deaths, the lowest daily increase since late October, as the province’s active caseload and hospital burden continued its long decline.
There were 257 new cases reported in Toronto, 131 in York Region and Peel Region reported 171.
Ontario reported 904 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 964 cases on Family Day.
It’s the lowest daily case count reported in the province since Oct. 28 when 834 cases were reported.
But Public Health Ontario cautioned that the numbers are still at risk of misreporting due to ongoing issues with Toronto Public Health migrating over to the province’s single unified data management system.
Ontario’s overall active caseload fell to 10,985, down from 13,270 one week earlier.
A total of 6,729 people have died of COVID-19 since last March.
Of the deaths reported on Wednesday, four involved residents of the long-term care system.
Wednesday’s results brought the province’s seven-day rolling average down to 1,002, from 1,040.
UHN infectious disease expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch said the province is now on a good trend line, with all major indicators going down, but school and business reopening and the presence of more highly transmissible variants present challenges.
“There are very obvious metrics pointing in the right direction. The things that aren't working in our favour are that the variants of concern certainly have a foothold here in Canada and of course here in Ontario and one of them, that one that was initially discovered in the United Kingdom, is more transmissible. It can cause a more significant outbreak,” he told CP24.
“We have to factor in kids are back at school and there is a slow and gradual but real reopening strategy. All of this will put people into situations that will get them into contact with one another more which will ultimately likely drive cases higher so can you balance the two of these?”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said there will be an “emergency brake” that would immediately reverse reopening measures and close schools in any area where there is concern.
But one of Ontario’s top public health officials said Tuesday the exact formula and criteria for when the brake would be used are still being contemplated.
Another 29 B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant cases were confirmed across the province on Wednesday, bringing the total number of variant of concern cases confirmed through whole genomic sequencing to 347.
Three cases previously believed to be variant B.1.351 which originated in South Africa were also ruled out.
Hundreds more samples have tested positive for a variant of concern but await full confirmation through genomic sequencing.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations fell 23 to 719 across the province. Of those, at least 298 were intensive care and 211 were breathing with the help of a ventilator.
A Toronto doctor, citing Critical Care Services Ontario, said there were 347 patients in intensive care with COVID-19.
A count of data from local public health units and hospital networks found 959 patients in hospital with COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Provincial labs processed 33,900 specimens in the past 24 hours, generating an overall positivity rate when errors and duplicates are included of three per cent.
Ontario’s vaccination centres administered another 9,100 shots in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of doses administered to 489,484.
More than 195,000 people have received the full two-dose inoculation since Dec. 15, 2020.
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.