Ontario reports lowest daily COVID-19 case count since late March
Published Wednesday, May 19, 2021 10:12AM EDT
Ontario's daily COVID-19 case counts continue to trend downward with fewer than 1,600 new infections confirmed on Wednesday, the lowest single-day total in nearly two months.
Provincial health officials logged 1,588 new cases today, down from 1,616 on Tuesday and 2,170 on Monday.
Today's tally is also a notable decline from the 2,320 new infections confirmed just one week ago and is the lowest daily total since March 24.
With 38,422 tests processed over the past 24 hours, the provincewide positivity rate now stands at 5.2 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.
The rolling seven-day average of new infections has dropped to 2,183, down from 2,826 seven days ago, and the number of active, lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario is now 23,416, down from 29,962 last week.
Of the new cases reported today, 524 are in Toronto, 335 are in Peel Region, 105 are in Ottawa, and 94 are in York Region.
Nineteen more virus-related deaths were confirmed today, bringing the total death toll in Ontario to 8,525.
COVID-19 hospitalizations also continue to decline in the province. Provincial health officials say there are 1,401 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment in Ontario hospitals and 735 patients in intensive care units (ICU). At this point last week, the province said there were 1,673 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 776 in the ICU.
As of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, 7,431,638 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the province.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist and member of the province's COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, said Ontario is now starting to see the benefits of vaccination.
"We have a lot of people with first doses of a vaccine and I think it is fair to say that we are probably starting to see some benefit of the vaccine at a population level," he told CP24 on Wednesday morning.
"We have in some areas over 55 per cent of the population with a first dose. It's lower in parts of the province but we know that a first dose of the vaccine provides some protection. Of course we've all got to get two doses, two doses is better than one, but one is pretty meaningful."
Ontario currently remains under a stay-at-home order until at least June 2 in an effort to drive down community transmission of the novel coronavirus following a surge in infections during the third wave of the pandemic.
"I suspect we will have a macro-level lifting of the stay-at-home order," Bogoch said. "We might, key word might, still have regional measures in place but we've got to be careful."
Several other province's have now unveiled their reopening strategy and Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott indicated Tuesday that the Ford government would be releasing details of its plan soon. The premier's office also confirmed Tuesday that the government intends to scrap the previous colour-coded system.
“We are emerging from this third wave but even though we are starting to see the numbers go down we are not in the clear yet,” Elliott said during Question Period at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.
“We know that we have to take very careful steps because the last thing we want in the province of Ontario is a fourth wave. So any steps that we may take in the future will be based on sound medical advice from (Chief Medical Officer of Health) Dr. (David) Williams and other health experts advising us.”
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.