The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped by about 20 percent since this time last week, as the strain on Ontario’s health system eases after a sixth wave of the pandemic.
The latest data from the Ministry of Health shows that there are now 1,165 people with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals, with 163 being treated in intensive care.
This is down from 1,453 COVID-19 hospitalizations last Friday and 1,662 a week ago.
Other public health indicators also continue to improve, weeks after wastewater monitoring began to point to a decrease in viral activity.
The positivity rate on PCR tests was 9.1 per cent in the last 24 hours, which is the lowest since February 28.
Outbreaks are decreasing even in a handful of settings with widespread access to PCR testing.
There are now 162 active outbreaks in long-term care homes, 104 in retirement homes and 77 in hospitals. Last week there were 195 active outbreaks in long-term care homes, 134 in retirement homes and 90 in hospitals.
The latest data comes after Public Health Ontario published a report earlier this week suggesting that nearly 1,000 cases of a new Omicron COVID-19 subvariant called “BA.2.20” have been detected in the province since February Is.
The new Ontario-specific subvariant has raised some concerns because of two mutations that make it distinct from BA.2, but the exact effect of the mutations is not yet known.
Speaking with CP24 on Friday morning, infectious disease specialist Dr. Alon Weissman said it appears the new subvariant may be more contagious, as the proportion of cases it is being detected has increased. .
However, Waisman pointed out that it is not increasing the overall caseload at this time.
“We know that overall, regardless of a new variant originating here in Ontario, cases have been decreasing significantly over the past four weeks and the same goes with hospitalizations and deaths associated with COVID. So overall, the trajectory is still very good,” he said.
Ontario added 24 more net new deaths to its COVID-19 tally on Friday.
Since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago, a total of 13,146 Ontarioans have died as a result of contracting the virus.
A total of 1,293,226 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported during the pandemic, although this number is likely to drop due to limited access to PCR testing since December.
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.