Ontario is reporting a slight uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases detected through PCR testing, even as other public health indicators remain relatively stable.

The latest data released by the Ministry of Health on Thursday comes on the heels of public school students returning to classes earlier this month.

It shows that the seven-day average of new cases detected through PCR testing has risen about seven per cent from last week and now stands at 1,135.

Positivity rates are also up slightly. Over the last seven days about 11.9 per cent of tests have come back positive compared to 11.7 per cent last week.

The good news is that most public health indicators remain stable.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is down about six per cent week-over-week and now stands at 1,167.

Of those people, 130 are currently receiving treatment in intensive care.

There has also not been any notable increase in the number of outbreaks in the handful of settings with widespread access to PCR testing so far.

As of Thursday there were 172 active outbreaks at long-term care homes compared to 162 at this time last week. But there were fewer active outbreaks in hospitals (73 versus 79) and retirement homes (110 versus 111) than there were one week ago.

Epidemiologists and public health experts have previously expressed concern about a damaging fall wave of the pandemic, coinciding with the return to school.

However, the data does not yet show a significant increase in viral activity in most regions.

The province did add 85 net new deaths to its COVID-19 tally over the last week, up from 74 net new deaths the previous week.

Since the onset of the pandemic more than two years ago a total of 14,214 Ontarians have died as a result of COVID-19.