Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief health officer, is scheduled to hold a conference on the COVID-19 situation in the province at 3 p.m.
You will be able to see it directly in this story.
Ontario reported another 1,038 cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of 44 others with the disease Thursday.
New cases include 376 in Toronto, 142 in the Peel Region and 122 in the York Region.
Other public health that saw double-digit growth were:
- Hamilton: 49 years old
- Simcoe-Muskoka: 45 years old
- Waterloo Region: 43
- Windsor-Essex: 41
- Ottawa: 37
- Halton Region: 27
- Northwest: 25
- Thunder Bay: 21
- MIddlesex-London: 20
- Durham Region: 19
- Lambton: 15
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 10
(Note: All figures used in this story can be found in the panel of the Ministry of Health COVID-19 or inDaily Epidemiological Summary. The number of cases for each region may differ from that reported by the local public health unit, as local units report figures at different times.)
They come as the province’s laboratory network completed 56,165 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and recorded a test positivity rate of 2.2 percent.
Among the new cases were 10 related to the first variant identified in the UK and four caused by the first variant found in South Africa. A total of 359 cases in Ontario are now associated with disturbing variants.
Resolved cases continued to outpace new cases, with the number of confirmed infections active throughout the province, dropping to 10,702, the lowest since November 11, 2020.
According to the Ministry of Health, there were 758 people with COVID-19 in hospitals. This is down from a high pandemic of 1,701 on January 12th.
Of those currently in hospitals, 277 were being treated in intensive care and 192 required a ventilator to breathe.
The additional deaths reported today brought the official Ontario number to 6,773.
Meanwhile, the province said it administered 12,383 doses of COVID-19 vaccine yesterday. A total of 501,867 shots have been fired in Ontario so far, while 205,802 people have been fully immunized with both doses.
Requests to delay opening in Toronto, Peel
The Ontario health minister says the province is carefully considering a request from Toronto and the Peel Region to delay release restrictions in those communities for two weeks.
Christine Elliott says the province’s top doctor will look at new pandemic data today that will inform his recommendation on what needs to be done for the two hotspots COVID-19.
Medical officials for Toronto and Peel wrote to the Ontario chief health official recently, saying lifting a home stay order and other restrictions next week as the province has planned would lead to more illness and death.
Dr. Eileen de Villa and Dr. Lawrence Loh demanded that those pandemic measures stay in place at least until March. 9
They said they were concerned about the threat posed by more contagious variants of the virus and said hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are still very high.
Peel and Toronto are among the four remaining Ontario regions that have not yet moved from the home-stay order back to the province’s color-coded pandemic restraint system.
The Progressive Conservative Government has defended its decision to proceed with easing restrictions for most of the province, despite warnings it could trigger a third wave.
NDP calls for public inquiry
Also Thursday morning, the Ontario Official Opposition introduced a bill that would allow an independent and public judicial inquiry into the government’s treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, NDP leader Andrea Horwathsaid such an investigation would ensure the province was “better prepared for the next important health event and never repeat the same mistakes again”.
Horwath said both the Liberal and PC governments failed to act on the critical lessons learned during the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto and that Ontarians deserve a “full and independent account” of how the current government responded to the crisis and how it affected families in province.
She also stressed that an investigation should be launched only after the province has overcome the immediate dangers posed by the pandemic.
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