Ontario health officials reported 462 new COVID-19 cases, and 14 new deaths, taking the provincial total including recovered patients up to 3,255.

Ontario reported 401 new cases on Thursday, and the province’s daily case growth continues to climb, with Friday’s number the highest daily increase in Ontario since the outbreak began.

Health officials also reported 192 more patients who have recovered from their infections, bringing the number of recovered patients up to 1,023.

Provincial health officials have now confirmed 67 deaths due to the virus, up from 53 on Thursday; although the province’s local public health units are regularly reporting more.

It appears Ontario has finally eliminated its backlog of testing results, with 1,245 people remaining under investigation Friday, down more than 800 from Thursday.

Provincial laboratories have been able to turn around about 6,000 tests per day in recent days.

From Thursday to Friday morning, the labs completed 4,020 tests.

There are now 462 people across Ontario admitted to hospital due to the virus, with 194 of them in the ICU.

Of those in the ICU, 140 people are on ventilators.

In a news conference, provincial epidemiologists say models suggest up to 15,000 COVID-19 fatalities in Ontario over a two-year period if the province continues to take strict measures to fight the pandemic.

“We can change the outcome of the province by staying at home and physically distancing ourselves from others," Dr. Peter Donnelly, CEO of Public Health Ontario, said Friday.

The province could see as many as 80,000 cases by April 30, according to COVID-19 projections.

"The numbers are real. The numbers are challenging," Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams said. "I think the need is that to turn that apprehension into determination to do what we need to do.

He said measures implemented over the last few weeks had a big impact on the projections.

According to the modelling, if Ontario had failed to take any measures, it may have seen as many as 100,000 deaths over the course of two years. COVID-19 deaths in could drop from 1,600 to 200 if stricter measures are in place.

"There's more to be done," Williams said. "I want to encourage you to stay the task.

He said people need to continue to follow physical distancing rules, especially this weekend, and avoid going out unnecessarily.

When asked if he would advise the province to implement the same two-metre physical distancing bylaw that Toronto ordered on Thursday, Williams said, for the most part, people in the province are adhering to the rules.

"We really have trust and confidence that Canadians and Ontarians will respect that and do that," he said. "I've watched them do it.

With travel-related cases going down, Williams said the next phase would see the increase of case contact. He said information on 50 per cent of the cases is pending.

"Part of that is that when you are involved, or you're a contact of a case or, you happen to become a case, we need you to reflect very seriously what did you do in the last two weeks," he said.

- with files from Codi Wilson