Public health units in Ontario collectively administered a new high of more than 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday, as the province’s borders with Quebec and Manitoba reopened.
The news comes as the Ministry of Health reported another 384 cases and the deaths of 12 more people with the illness.
The 202,984 shots given out Tuesday topped the previous single-day record of 199,951 set just last week. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician and member of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, said that roughly 80 per cent of those shots were second doses.
Ontario is averaging more than 180,000 vaccinations daily, while more than 75 per cent of adults in the province have now had at least a single dose of vaccine.
That is already above the 70 per cent threshold the government has set as a main criterion for moving into Phase 2 of the province’s reopening plan.
Another key benchmark is at least 20 per cent of adults fully immunized against the virus. Given the current trajectory of second doses — which have been outpacing doses being used for first shots — Ontario could reach the target by the end of this week.
Share of delta variant cases up again
Meanwhile, the additional cases confirmed today are down somewhat from last Wednesday, when the province logged 411 infections.
Labs completed more than 28,000 tests and Public Health Ontario reported a positivity of 1.5 per cent, its lowest point since early October.
The seven-day average of daily cases fell slightly to 475.
Notably, Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates that the delta variant of concern, first identified in India, now accounts for roughly 50 per cent of new COVID-19 cases. That’s up from its June 14 estimate of 40 per cent.
Some of that rise, however, is attributable to a drop in the share of new cases caused by the B117 alpha variant, first identified in the United Kingdom.
The R value, a measure of how many people, on average, an infected person will go on to infect, stands at .84, the table reported. Values of less than 1 suggest the spread of the virus is contracting, rather than expanding, though that figure is up from .77 yesterday.
The number of people in hospital with COVID-related illnesses increased slightly yesterday, up to 438 from 433. Of those, 377 were being treated intensive care, and 242 needed a ventilator to breathe — both small decreases from the day before.
The additional deaths reported today push the official toll to 8,986.
Provincial borders reopen
Ontario’s borders with Quebec and Manitoba fully reopen today.
A provincial order restricting interprovincial travel between those provinces expired at midnight.
The regulation was introduced on April 19 as the third wave of the pandemic reached its peak. It applied to land and water borders.
Travel between the regions was limited to essential reasons such as health care, custody or compassionate grounds like attending a funeral.
It also allowed law enforcement to stop and question people about their reasons for entering Ontario.