Ontario is reporting more than 11,000 new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant continue to cause the government to implement a number of tougher restrictions yesterday.
Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted on Tuesday that at least 1,290 people in Ontario hospitals have been diagnosed with the virus, up from 1,232 a day earlier and 491 a week earlier.
Of those hospitalised, 266 are in intensive care, up from 248 yesterday, and 128 are breathing with the help of ventilators.
The seven-day rolling average of those in ICU is 221.
The surge in hospitalizations comes as the province faces a record-high number of cases due to the highly infectious Omicron variant.
“While the severity of the delta requires attention to our ICU admissions, there has been a sudden and significant increase in hospitalizations as a result of Omicron, as well as a recent increase in staffing challenges in several critical areas due to the rapid increase in Omicron exposure. increased,” a spokesperson said. Elliott said in a statement on Tuesday. “While hospitalizations remained stable in the first few weeks of December, we have recently seen an explosive increase in hospitalizations.”
Meanwhile, the trend for ICU admissions continues to be “below or within the margins of the best-case scenario predicted by the science table” as of December 16, the statement said.
Hospitals are increasingly overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, akin to hospitalizations, which put intense pressure on the health care system during the third wave of the pandemic.
As a result, William Osler Health System yesterday declared a Code Orange, a temporary measure to ensure that internal and external resources are efficiently deployed to address capacity pressures and staffing challenges.
The province reported today that 10 more people have died from the virus in the past month, raising the death toll to 10,239. In the past week, the province reported 70 virus-related deaths that occurred in the previous month.
Another 7,519 people were cured of the virus yesterday, resulting in 134,130 active cases today compared to 70,391 active cases a week ago.
Ontario recorded 11,352 new coronavirus infections today, down from 13,578 on Monday but up 8,825 a week ago.
However, Public Health Ontario says the number of cases underestimates the true number of infections because a large portion of Ontario’s population is no longer eligible for free PCR testing.
Over the past few days, the province recorded a record 18,445 on Saturday, 16,714 on Sunday and 13,578 on Monday.
The seven-day rolling average of new infections now stands at 14,435, a notable jump from 8,318 a week ago.
In the latest cases, 9,040 persons have been fully vaccinated, 1,647 have not been vaccinated, 445 have been partially vaccinated and 219 have unknown immunization status.
According to the ministry, Ontario laboratories processed more than 49,700 tests in the past 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 30.9 percent, compared to 24.9 percent a week ago.
However, the number of tests administered yesterday does not reflect the number of sick persons being tested in the province.
Last week, the province changed its testing protocol to limit publicly funded PCR tests to select high-risk individuals due to a lack of tests and unprecedented demand for them.
Groups that are now eligible to receive a test include health care workers, workers and residents in highest-risk congregation settings, those experiencing homelessness, Indigenous communities, and those seeking care in a hospital emergency room. are demanding.
The new testing protocol covers about 70 percent of the population, including young children in daycare, who are not yet eligible for vaccines, but must be tested if they have symptoms, otherwise they will have to stay at home for 10 days .
In the Greater Toronto Area, Toronto reported 2,480 new COVID-19 cases today, while the Peel area reported 1,486, York 1,059, Durham 635 and Halton 466.
According to Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, as of December 31, 2021, Omicron’s effective reproduction number (RT) was 1.53, meaning an additional 153 infections occur for every 100 cases.
Omicron now accounts for about 97.2 percent of all cases in the province.
To date, more than 87 percent of people aged five years and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 81 percent have received two doses. In addition, more than 3.8 million Ontarians have received their third dose.
There have been 816,449 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases and 672,081 cured since the pandemic began two years ago.
Yesterday, Premier Doug Ford announced that the province would return to phase two of its reopening plan to slow the spread of Omicron and ease pressure on the health care system.
As of Wednesday, students will turn to distance learning for at least the next two weeks, indoor dining, gyms and theaters will remain closed and a 50 percent capacity limit will be implemented in retail and other settings. These restrictions will remain in force till at least January 26.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital, says stricter measures are expected to slow transmission.
“You have a lot of COVID, a lot of cases that are landing in the hospital, there are fewer people to take care of them. Obviously these are very difficult decisions. I don’t envy any decision maker at this point of time,” he said.
“But here’s hoping it at least slows it down. I think everyone’s realistic, you’re not gonna stop this wave, you ain’t gonna stop it at all. You can blunt it a little bit, and you can slow it down,” he said.
The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 daily epidemiological summary. The number of cases for any given city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by province, as local units report figures at different times.