Ontario COVID-19 news: province reports 10 new deaths, hospitalizations hit highest point since Feb.

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Ontario reported 10 net new COVID-19 deaths on Friday, as the number of patients testing positive for COVID in hospitals hit its highest point since February.

The Ministry of Health says six deaths detected Friday occurred in the past 30 days and four others occurred prior to that period.

Two were residents of the long-term care system.

There have been 86 deaths reported in the past seven days and 378 in the past 30 days.

There have now been 12,537 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Ontario since March 2020.

Meanwhile, hospital admissions climbed to the highest point since Feb. 19 on Friday at 1,135.

Approximately half of those patients were admitted to hospital but later tested positive.

In intensive care, occupancy rose by seven to 166. Seventy to eighty per cent of ICU-admitted patients testing positive for COVID-19 were brought there specifically due to their COVID-19 diagnosis.

Of those, 86 were breathing with the help of a ventilator.

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table now estimates daily transmission is up about 38 per cent from the bottom of the initial Omicron wave in the province, to at least 220-230 cases per million people per day.

Wastewater surveillance data, which detects viral copies of the SARS-COV-2 virus in water treatment plants, suggests virus prevalence is above January’s initial Omicron peak in Ontario’s north and all areas east of the GTA.

UHN infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says regardless of what current rules require, if you have a mask now, you should wear it in indoor public spaces.

“Now, when you have a choice to wear a mask, you should wear a mask. It’s pretty clear there’s a lot of COVID out there. It will protect you and those around you,” he said.

Though it is limited to select groups, PCR testing in the province detected 4,295 new COVID-19 cases on Friday – the highest number of cases found since Jan. 29.

The Ministry of Health said 513 of Friday’s cases were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, 1,098 had two vaccine doses, 2,444 had three vaccine doses and the vaccination status of 240 others were not known.

Significant curbs on access to PCR testing came into effect on Dec. 30, 2021.

Provincial labs processed 17,565 specimens in the previous period, generating a positivity rate of at least 19 per cent.

Positivity has climbed from an average of 9 to 10 per cent last month to 17.5 per cent in the last seven days.

The Ministry of Health says 23,530 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered on Thursday.

Of those, 1,028 were first doses, 1,829 were second doses, 4,895 were third doses and 15,778 were fourth doses, as the province has widened eligibility for fourth doses to include anyone age 60 and older.

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.

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