Ontario reports more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 as one expert warns of inevitable fourth wave
Published Sunday, August 1, 2021 10:15AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 1, 2021 1:53PM EDT
Ontario is reporting more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 once again as it’s rolling seven-day average continues to slowly rise.
The Ministry of Health says that there were 218 new instances of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus confirmed on Saturday as well as another two deaths.
The latest cases come on more than 14,000 individual tests. That points to a positivity rate of 1.4 per cent, which is the highest that number has been since late June.
Meanwhile, Ontario’s rolling-seven day average increased for the sixth straight day and now stands at 189.
That is up nearly 19 per cent from this time last week when it stood at 159.
The good news is that hospitalizations remain stable for now, though they can be a lagging indicator.
The latest data suggests that there are now 110 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, down from 127 at this time last week and as many as 900 at the peak of the third wave.
Ontario also continues to administer tens of thousands of vaccine doses each day but the pace of vaccination is slowing with nearly 20 per cent of those eligible yet to receive a single dose.
On Saturday more than 60,000 total doses were administered, including more than 10,000 first doses. As recently as last week Ontario’s seven-day average for doses administered was nearly 150,000.
“I think we all agree in the public health community there will be a fourth wave and it's really up to us what it looks like,” Dr. Barry Pakes of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health told CP24 on Sunday morning. “If we can get next the next 10 per cent of people vaccinated we are going to see a fourth wave that means public health measures will still be in place but we're not going to have significant hospitalizations. If not and if our vaccine rate stays where it is and doesn't go any higher it's going to be a little bit more unpleasant.”
Ontario officials have said that cases were bound to rise in the wake of numerous public health restrictions being lifted but they have expressed optimism in the past that a fourth wave can be avoided through an aggressive vaccination campaign.
Data released by Public Health Ontario earlier this week estimated Ontario’s reproductive number at precisely one, though a number of epidemiologists now say that it has likely grown beyond that, pointing to a pandemic that is once again worsening.
“Overall we are paying close attention to how the numbers are trending in Ontario and elsewhere. But these trends are in the right direction,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore insisted on Tuesday. “We know that once Delta variant gets a foothold in the community, it can spread quickly, particularly amongst unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals. So we all need to continue to remain vigilant.”
Of the latest cases reported on Sunday, 40 were in Toronto, 33 were in Peel Region, 23 were in York Region, 14 were in Hamilton, 13 were in Durham Region and five were in Halton Region.
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.