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Ontario reports 4,227 new cases of COVID-19, nearly topping single-day record

Ontario reported another 4,227 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the second-most on a single day at any point during the pandemic.

The province logged 4,249 new infections on January 8, but 450 of those were attributed to a data delay.

The Ministry of Health has not indicated that today’s figure includes any older cases.

New cases today include 1,218 in Toronto, 762 in Peel Region, 532 in York Region, 247 in Durham Region, 246 in Ottawa, 174 in Halton Region, 159 in Middlesex-London, 133 in Hamilton and 107 in Niagara Region.

The seven-day average climbed to 3,256. The pandemic peak for that average was 3,555 on Jan. 11.

Labs completed 42,572 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and reported a positivity rate of 6.3 per cent. The rolling average of daily positivity rates has been trending upward since early March.

The ministry says that as of yesterday, there were 1,492 people with COVID-19 in hospital. Of those, 552 were being treated for COVID-19-related sickness in intensive care, the most ever in Ontario. A total of 519 of those patients were still testing positive for the illness, according to the ministry.

CBC News reported last night that Ontario Health has ordered hospitals in much of the province to stop performing all but emergency and life-saving surgeries because of the growing caseload of COVID-19 patients.

Ontario already has a backlog of more than 245,000 procedures that were postponed due a halt in non-emergency procedures last year amid the first wave of the pandemic.

In an internal note to staff titled “Wave three will be the wave we prepared for last spring,” the president and CEO of Sinai Health in Toronto said that the number of patients that require intensive care is “unfortunately outpacing our current capacity.”

Dr. Gary Newton warned hospital staff that Sinai Health will continue to see an influx of COVID-19 patients from other health-care providers in Toronto and the GTA.

“I understand the physical and emotional strain so many of our people are facing. I also understand the real impact on the care of all patients,” he continued.

“I am asking for this extraordinary effort from all of us based on the dire situation that [hospitals that are sending patients] are in. Even if this is difficult, we simply must continue to fill this role.”

centenary hospital covid patients icu ontario
A patient cleared of COVID-19 transmission risk is pictured inside the intensive care unit at Scarborough Health Network’s Centenary Hospital, in northeast Toronto, on Apr. 8, 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Newton added that he expects further guidance from Ontario Health and the Ministry of Health in the coming days on the government’s response to the growing crisis.

The province also reported the deaths of 18 more people with COVID-19 today, raising the official toll to 7,512.

Meanwhile, public health units administered 105,382 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, also the second-most on a single day thus far. As of last night, 328,598 people had gotten both shots of a vaccine. 

The province has administered about 73 per cent of the 4,031,325 doses it has received from the federal government to date. Officials on Ontario’s vaccine task force have said there is capacity for up to 150,000 shots per day.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford got his first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine at a pharmacy in Etobicoke this morning. He said he wanted to get the shot in front of media to help encourage people to get immunized and combat vaccine hesitancy.

Before getting his vaccine, Ford said the province’s goal remains getting 40 per cent of the population at least one dose within the next 26 days.

“Look around the world, Ontario is doing pretty well right now,” Ford said, despite both case counts and ICU admissions surging in the province.

“Let’s stay positive,” he said. “We’re going to get through it. I understand everyone gets frustrated throughout this pandemic, but we are well ahead of a lot of places around the world, because of the people here in Ontario.”

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