Editor’s note: The Ministry of Health says that a glitch resulted in 87 confirmed cases of COVID-19 not being included in data released on May 14. As a result, the actual number of confirmed cases for that day should be 345 and not 258.

Ontario is reporting its lowest number of new cases of COVID-19 in more than six weeks just as Premier Doug Ford gets set to announce more details about the plan to restart the province’s economy.

The Ministry of Health says that there were 258 cases of the virus confirmed on Wednesday, which represents the lowest number since 211 cases were reported back on March 29.

It marks a continuation of a downard trend that the province has been seeing since hitting a record 640 cases on April 25.

Over the last week an average of 346 new cases have been confirmed each day but that number has fluctuated, with a recent high of 477 cases reported on May 7.

This is the second time over the last week that the number of new cases have dipped below the 300 threshold. That hadn’t previosuly happened since March.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams called the downward trend "reassuring."

"Over the last two weeks we have seen... a decrease in the cases," Williams said during his daily update at Queen's Park.

"Not that I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow it went up again. It seems to do that. It comes down and then goes up by a bit but each time it doesn't go up by as much as the week before. It just keeps downward trending."

He noted that spread of the virus in the community also appears to be going down.

Willams said at least 50 per cent of the 258 new cases reported today were in long-term care.

33 more deaths

The province conducted 17,429 tests on Wednesday after only conducting a little more than 15,000 on Tuesday and fewer than 12,000 on Monday.

That would point to a positivity rate of less than 1.5 per cent.

In addition to the drop in new cases, the ministry is also reporting its lowest number of deaths in COVID-19 patients in more than two weeks.

There were 33 more fatalities confirmed over the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll so far to 1,798.

By Thursday evening, Ontario's 34 local public health units reported 1,883 deaths across the province.

It is still an alarming number but represents the lowest single-day death tally since April 26 and is well off the record 86 fatalities that the province reported on April 30.

As for hospitalizations, they remain relatively stable from one day prior.

There are currently 1,026 COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals, including 184 people in intensive care units.

The latter number has now been trending down for weeks after peaking at 264 in early April.

Long-term care homes continue to account for more than three-quarters of all deaths (1,308), though officials have previously said that the epidemic may have reached its peak in those facilities.

“People aregetting this in the community still. Even though we are phsyically distancing and even though we are doing our best to stay home and not minlge with other people that is still happening,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Issac Bogoch warned during an interview with CP24 on Thursday morning. “This is not an abolsute yes or no issue. Peope are still contracting this in the community because they might nt be in a position where they can practice physical distancing measures and we know that if someone gets this infection and they bring it home there is a significant risk tht they are going to transmit it to other people within their homes.”

There are now 21,494 cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, though more than three-quarters of those are considered recovered (16,204).

Other highlights from the data:

  • There are now 3,607 confirmed cases among healthcare workers, accounting for nearly 17 per cent of all cases.
  • There have been 2,501 confirmed cases among long-term care facility residents and 1,668 confirmed cases among staff.
  • There have been 2,728 people hospitalized with COVID-19 since the start of the epidemic (12.7 per cent of all cases).
  • There have been 254 outbreaks at long-term care homes, 185 of which are still considered active.
  • There have now been 76 outbreaks in hospital units. Fifty two deaths have been reported as a result of those outbreaks.
  • There have been seven deaths reported in those between the ages of 20 and 39 but zero deaths reported in people younger than that.