Ontario reported 17 new COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, as the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus declined slightly over the past 24 hours.
The health ministry said it had detected 19 new deaths due to COVID-19 that occurred in the past 30 days, and removed two previously confirmed deaths from the total as they were not due to COVID-19.
Thursday’s five deaths involved residents of the long-term care system.
72 deaths have been confirmed in the last one week and 346 in the last 30 days.
At least 12,678 people have died of COVID-19 in Ontario since March 2020.
Thursday’s 1,626 patients in hospital with COVID-19 in Ontario are 36 fewer than Wednesday, but still 16.8 percent higher than a week ago and 44.4 percent higher than two weeks ago.
On Thursday, 207 people were admitted to intensive care with COVID-19, four from Wednesday and 30 from a week earlier.
Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates that the hospital burden due to COVID-19 is increasing by 327 patients per week.
Alexandra Hilken, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott, said she believed “hospital and ICU admissions are expected to peak in the coming week.”
UHN infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said the burden the sixth wave is putting on hospitals is less than the previous waves of COVID-19.
“At a very regional level, there may be some difficulties in some places and people may need to move, but at the provincial level those numbers are nowhere near what we saw in the earlier waves.”
He said that except for the chronic problem of staffing in hospitals, the provincial hospital system will be able to manage the patients generated by this current wave, provided this peak and this growth does not continue.
“It’s completely manageable, we still need to take steps to stop it from growing, but it’s manageable.”
Wastewater monitoring data indicates that virus prevalence is declining in all regions east of the GTA, except for Eastern Ontario, including Central Ontario and Ottawa.
Among those still eligible for the free PCR test, the health ministry on Thursday reported 5,038 new cases of COVID-19, but said a large number of positive results were from the previous days and were made public only today.
Of those positive, 614 were not vaccinated or partially vaccinated, 1,037 had two doses of one vaccine, 3,175 had three doses of one vaccine and 212 others had no known immunization status.
Provincial laboratories processed 20,840 samples in the previous period, generating a positivity rate of 18.3 percent.
The province delivered 39,507 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.
Of these, 1,249 were the first dose, 1,875 were the second dose, 5,007 were the third dose and 31,376 were the fourth dose.
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.