Ontario reported close to 500 new COVID-19 cases on Friday along with 12 new deaths, as leaders prepare to announce an end to some of the last remaining pandemic mitigation measures still in place in the province.

Ontario reported 492 new cases on Friday.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases now stands at 406, holding steady from Thursday.

Ontario reported 413 new cases on Thursday and 304 on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health says that 248 of Friday’s cases were unvaccinated, 21 had one dose of a vaccine, 167 were fully vaccinated and 56 had unknown vaccination status.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people make up 27 per cent of Ontario’s population but 55 per cent of cases detected on Friday.

Eleven of the 12 deaths reported today occurred in the past month, while another death was recorded during an ongoing investigation into excess deaths in Ontario during the pandemic.

At least 9,839 deaths due to COVID-19 have been recorded since March 2020.

One of Friday’s deaths involved a resident of the long-term care system.

In the past month, Ontario has reported 153 deaths due to COVID-19, as well as 23 deaths that occurred prior to Sept. 22 but were just identified recently.

There are now 3,421 known active cases across Ontario, an increase of 65 from Thursday, but still down nearly 50 per cent from a peak on Sept. 18-19.

The Ford government is set to announce further relaxing of COVID-19 mitigation measures today, likely including a return of 100 per cent capacity for restaurants and fitness centres.

UHN infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said there are plenty of indicators showing Ontario is in good and improving shape in its fight against COVID-19.

“If you take a snapshot of how we’re doing in October, we’re doing rather well. If you look at the community burden, the per cent positivity, the trends over time, the hospital capacity numbers, we’re doing okay,” he told CP24.

But he urged the Ford government to pay close attention to the metrics and publicly disclose which ones they’re watching to determine if things need to be rolled back.

“If we see things head in the wrong direction, you’ve got to change course.”

The Ministry of Health said there are 261 patients in hospital due to COVID-19 today, with 149 in intensive care.

Up to 12 of the ICU patients are recent transfers from hard-hit Saskatchewan.

Provincial labs processed 28,906 test specimens, generating a positivity rate of at least 1.4 per cent once inconclusive and duplicate tests are accounted for.

Across the GTA, Toronto reported 64 new cases, Peel reported 59 cases, Durham Region reported 19 cases and York Region reported 33 cases.

Hamilton reported 23 new cases and Halton Region reported 13 cases.

Ontario said another 25,770 COVID-19 vaccine shots were administered on Thursday, including 8,962 first doses.

Eighty-eight per cent of eligible Ontario residents now have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 83 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Including ineligible children under 12, 73 per cent of the Ontario population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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.