Ontario reported a single-day record of 3,328 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 56 new deaths related to the illness.
The figure marks the first time the province has reported more than 3,000 cases in a single day, and the third consecutive day Ontario has recorded a record-breaking case count.
A record number of patients were also hospitalized and admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) on Thursday. Currently, there are 1,235 patients in hospital. Of those, 337 are in intensive care.
Forty-five patients were admitted to Ontario ICUs on Wednesday, another record during the pandemic.
The number of ICU patients being treated for COVID-19 has doubled since the last day of November, when hospitals were treating 168 patients.
Residents of long-term care homes accounted for 28 of the newly tallied deaths. There are now active COVID-19 outbreaks in 187 LTC facilities, a decrease of five since Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of labs processed 63,858 test samples for the novel coronavirus while another 72,283 tests are in the queue waiting to be completed.
The province’s test positivity rate now sits at 5.7 per cent.
Of Thursday’s newly confirmed infections, there were 888 in Toronto, 431 in Peel Region, 418 in York Region, 257 in Windsor-Essex, and 194 in Ottawa.
Ontario’s cumulative case count now sits at 182,159. The province’s seven-day average has also reached a new record-high, climbing to 2,436.
Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:
- Hamilton: 156
- Waterloo: 127
- Durham: 114
- London: 112
- Niagara: 110
- Simcoe Muskoka: 83
- Southwestern: 79
- Halton: 79
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 58
- Eastern Ontario: 58
- Brant County: 26
- Lambton: 25
- Huron Perth: 19
- Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington: 13
- Haldimand-Norfolk: 12
- Chatham-Kent: 12
- Leeds, Grenville and Lanark: 10
[Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.]
ICUs nearing capacity, hospitals say
Ontario hospitals continue to warn that intensive care units are reaching maximum capacity and threatening to overwhelm the wider health-care system.
In a statement to CBC Toronto on Wednesday, Anthony Dale, CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association said the situation grows “ever more serious by the day.”
“Do not celebrate the holidays with people outside your own household. It would be the ultimate tragedy if the worst consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic happened just as vaccines arrived on Canadian soil,” Dale said.
Health Minister Christine Elliott is also urging people to celebrate New Year’s Eve only with people in their own households.
This <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NewYear?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NewYear</a>, only celebrate at home with the people you live with. Connect virtually to keep in touch with extended family and friends. If you live alone, consider exclusively celebrating with one additional household. Learn more at <a href=”https://t.co/ZRCURjRGfW”>https://t.co/ZRCURjRGfW</a>.
LTC residents receive first shots of Moderna vaccine
A small number of Ontario long-term care (LTC) residents were the first people in Ontario to be inoculated with Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
A shipment of approximately 50,000 doses arrived in Ontario Wednesday. A select number of long-term care homes are participating in a pilot project that aims to iron out logistical challenges as the province begins rolling out the vaccine.
Today, <a href=”https://twitter.com/UHN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@UHN</a>, through Family Health team physicians and nurses, gave some of the first Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to Long-Term Care (LTC) residents in Ontario. The vaccine was given by UHN physician Dr. Camille Lemieux and RN Eugena Bryan. <a href=”https://t.co/emIepFDkOE”>pic.twitter.com/emIepFDkOE</a>
Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Ontario received earlier this month, the Moderna vaccine does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures, making it more suitable for transportation to LTC facilities.
Ontario has now administered 23,502 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Both vaccines it has in stock require two doses to achieve maximum protection from the virus.