Ontario is reporting its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in nearly six weeks but the positivity rate remains extremely high, underscoring the precarious position that the province is in.

The Ministry of Health says that there were 2,716 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus confirmed on Sunday, along with another 19 deaths.

It is the lowest single-day number since 2,557 cases were reported back on April 1.

The seven-day rolling average now stands at 3,017 compared to 3,917 last week and is 30 per cent  down from three weeks ago when the seven-day average hit 4,347.

Positivity rates, however, remain high.

On Sunday Ontario’s labs processed just 27,175 tests and about 9 per cent of them came back positive. While it is typical for testing numbers to be lower over the weekend, the number hasn’t been that low since Feb. 16. It is also the highest positivity rate since last Monday.

More than 55 per cent of the new cases confirmed on Monday are either in Toronto (807) or Peel Region (707).

Elsewhere in the GTA, York had 294 cases, Durham had 168 and Halton had 95.

In the case of Halton, it is the lowest daily case count in the region since April 7.

“We are going to start to realize a lot of the benefits of vaccination pretty soon,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Issac Bogoch predicted during an interview with CP24 on Monday morning. I know when you look around you see high case numbers and the health-care systems stretched but in the coming weeks we will have so many people vaccinated, more and more people with the single dose and believe it or not, more and more people who are going to start to get a second dose as well where we will have more and more community level protection and this is going to impact the case numbers.”

Ontario put a stay-at-home order into effect in April as record hospitalization numbers raised the spectre that doctors might eventually have to make impossible decisions about who to provide the highest level of care to.

Case counts began to decline shortly thereafter though it took much longer to see an accompanying drop in hospitalizations, especially within intensive care units.

There are, however, now positive signs on that front as well.

According to the latest data, there are currently 1,632 people in hospital with COVID-19 with 828 of those people being treated in intensive care. The data does not include patient numbers from the roughly 10 per cent of hospitals that failed to upload information to the provincial database over the weekend.

The number of people in hospital peaked at 2,360 on April 20 while the ICU number topped out at 900 on May 1 and has been slowly but steadily dropping since then.

Speaking with CP24, Bogoch said that Ontario’s ICUs are “still in trouble” but he said there are now “real signs they are getting decompressed” and that some of the alarming scenarios predicted by modelling will not materialize.

That could eventually lead to a loosening of some public health restrictions, though the current stay-at-home order will remain in place until at least May 20.

“I think we will actually have a better summer than last year. Of course, I don't think we are going to have a 2019 summer. But we have so much access to vaccine it really is going to impact how we are in Canada,” Bogoch said. “If you look at places that are a couple of months ahead of us, like the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, they are all relaxing many of their restrictions right now. It is not completely like back to normal but it is definitely farther along on that spectrum than we are and we are going to get there. We are going to get there faster than we think.”

About 40 per cent of adults Ontarians have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

In Peel, York and Toronto, at least 50 per cent of adults have received at least one dose.