Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ontario reports no net new deaths from COVID-19 for the first time in more than a month

Ontario is reporting no net new deaths from COVID-19 for the first time in more than a month, along with another week-on-week drop in hospitalizations.

This is the first time since May 9 that a 24-hour period without any additional deaths added to the province’s COVID-19 tally, which has remained stuck at 13,338.

Meanwhile, all other public health indicators continue to show improvement before summer, which most epidemiologists and public health experts say will see comparatively low levels of viral activity.

The latest data from the Ministry of Health shows that there are 370 people with COVID-19 in the hospital.

This number represents an incomplete census as many hospitals do not report occupancy data on weekends. However, it is 14 per cent lower than last week and nearly 40 per cent lower than two weeks ago.

A total of 112 of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are in intensive care. At this time last week 116 COVID patients were in ICU unit.

The positivity rate on PCR testing is also trending downwards.

Of all the tests processed in Ontario’s laboratories in the past 24 hours, 6.5 percent came back positive, resulting in only 357 confirmed cases. This is the lowest number of new lab-confirmed cases in a 24-hour period since November 2.

Experts have cautioned that the true number of daily infections is likely to be 10 times higher than the portion confirmed through PCR testing due to limited eligibility.

Nonetheless, this is still the second lowest positivity rate in any 24-hour period since December and well below the peak reached in April when about 20 per cent of all PCR tests were coming back positive.

Speaking with CP24 on Monday morning, infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said there is “definitely a seasonal component” to COVID-19, with the overall burden of infection tending to decrease in warmer months. When people spend more time outside.

He said there would be an “increase in cases later”, possibly beginning in the fall.

“You’re already hearing rumblings about a potential vaccine strategy for late summer and early fall,” he said. The real question, though, is who will benefit from that booster. Will it be population-wide? Will it be for at-risk groups? We still don’t know the answer, but it’s certainly on the horizon.”

Nation World News Desk
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