Ontario’s COVID-19 test positivity rate still over 20% as hospitalizations reach new high of 3,630

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore is providing an update on the province’s COVID-19 response at 3:00 p.m. ET.

CBC News will carry the news conference live. 

Ontario reported a new high of 3,630 patients in hospital with COVID-19 on Thursday, which also marked the fourth straight day where the number of hospitalizations climbed.

Thurday’s figure is a jump of over a thousand from the same day last week when there were 2,279 people hospitalized with the virus. 

Of those hospitalized with COVID-19, 54 per cent were admitted to hospital seeking treatment for COVID-19, while 46 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for the virus, according to data by the Ministry of Health. That data does not list a breakdown for previous waves of the virus for comparison.

​As of Thursday, there are ​500​ people with COVID-19 in ICUs. That’s a slight decrease from 505 patients the day before and an increase from 319 one week ago.

Approximately 82 per cent were admitted to the ICU seeking treatment for COVID-19 and 18 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for the illness, according to the dataset. 

The seven-day rolling average of ICU admissions linked to COVID-19 now sits at 436.

Ontario reported at least 9,909 new cases of the virus Thursday. 

As the province recently changed its guidelines to significantly limit who qualifies for a PCR test, the case total for today is likely a drastic undercount of the real situation. Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates that roughly one in five cases are currently being confirmed by the province’s testing regime.

For the 58,831 tests that were completed, Public Health Ontario reported a positivity rate of 21.4 per cent. 

The health ministry also recorded the deaths of 35 more people with COVID-19, pushing Ontario’s official toll to 10,480.

In a statement, a ministry spokesperson said that the 35 deaths occurred “over the span of 11 days” and were included in Thursday’s figures due a data catch-up.

​Meanwhile, public health units collectively administered another 164,160 doses of vaccines on Wednesday.

Roughly 82 per cent of Ontarians aged five and older have now received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 88 per cent have at least one dose, according to provincial data.

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