Ontario's COVID-19 ICU occupancy hits 900 for first time in pandemic
Published Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:02AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:53AM EDT
Ontario reported more than 3,300 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, as the number of patients in intensive care units hit 900 for the first time in the pandemic.
Provincial health officials logged 3,369 new coronavirus infections, down from 3,887 cases on Friday.
Ontario recorded 3,871 cases on Thursday, 3,480 on Wednesday and 3,265 on Tuesday.
The seven-day rolling average fell to 3,618 on Saturday, compared to 4,094 a week ago.
Another 29 virus-related deaths were also reported today, bringing the province’s death toll to 8,079.
More than 3,900 people recovered from the disease in the past 24 hours, resulting in 37,438 active cases across the province.
Health officials also identified more than 3,600 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants of concern on Saturday, with most being the dominant B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom.
Ontario labs processed 46,803 tests in the past 24 hours, a notable decrease from 53,074 the previous day.
The province’s positivity rate now stands at 7.3 per cent, compared to 7.4 per cent on Friday, according to the Ministry of Health.
In the Greater Toronto Area, Toronto logged 1,050 new infections, while 819 cases were reported in Peel Region, 286 in York, 157 in Durham and 127 in Halton.
Although daily case counts are slowly declining, hospitalizations are still at a heightened rate and ICU occupancy continues to rise.
In the past 24 hours, a total of 2,152 patients were in Ontario hospitals due to virus infection, compared to 2,201 the previous day.
For the first time in the pandemic, the number of patients in ICUs hit 900, up from 883 a day ago.
Of those in ICUs, 637 were breathing with the help of a ventilator.
Last month, an official from Ontario Health told CP24 that if ICU occupancy surpassed 900 then the province might have to consider enacting triage protocol where some patients might be denied care based on their risk of short-term mortality.
“But if we go above that [900 in ICU] and then COVID numbers in the community continue to grow then we will probably be into territory where we have to start thinking about other means, either growing capacity or activating the triage protocol but that has to be and we are determined that it will be the last resort,” Ontario Health Executive Vice President Dr. Chris Simpson told CP24 on Apr. 12.
Simpson added that Ontario Health is “pulling out absolutely all the stops” to avoid having to activate a triage protocol.
Last week, Ontario’s top doctor ordered all hospitals in the province to halt all non-emergent surgeries and non-urgent procedures immediately as the health-care system has been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients during the third wave of the pandemic.
The influx of patients has caused a severe backlog of more than 250,000 surgeries in the province.
Earlier this week, Ontario’s Science Advisory Table released new pandemic modelling which suggested that if the province continues down its current path, hospitalizations would continue to decline gradually and nearly 800 COVID-19 patients would be in ICUs by the end of the month.
To date, there have been more than 466,700 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases and 421,216 recoveries in the province since the virus first emerged in Ontario last January.
As of Friday evening, more than 5.2 million doses of vaccine have been administered across the province since mid-December, with 107,700 shots into arms yesterday alone.
On Friday, Premier Doug Ford said that 40 per cent of Ontario adults will have received their first shot by the end of the day.
To date, over 373,500 people have been fully vaccinated in the province. Two doses of approved vaccines that are currently being administered in Ontario are needed for full immunization.
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.