Ontario COVID-19 news: province reports highest daily death toll in a month

Ontario has confirmed another 31 COVID-19 deaths, which is the highest number added to the provincial tally in more than a month.

The latest deaths were reported by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday morning, pushing Ontario’s death toll over the two-year life of the pandemic to 12,889.

The province last reported more deaths than today on Apr. 6 when 32 net new deaths were detected. 

The good news is that other indicators are now showing signs of improvement, with the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 declining week-over-week for a third straight day.

There are now 1,698 people in hospital with the virus, down from 1,734 at this time last week. That includes 199 people receiving treatment in intensive care. At this time last week there were 211 COVID patients in the ICU in Ontario.

“We are headed in the right direction but there is still a lot of COVID out there. It is getting better but it is still there. So I think it is a very reasonable thing to put on a mask on in a public indoor setting, like a supermarket, to help protect yourself and those around you,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch warned during an interview with CP24 on Wednesday morning. “This wave is going to abate and things will get better in the week or two ahead.”

Positivity rates on the decline

The latest wastewater surveillance data released by Ontario’s Science Advisory Table on Tuesday showed a steep decline in virus levels in most regions of Ontario, however in the Greater Toronto Area virus activity has largely plateaued and is only showing the early signs of a decline.

The data released by the ministry does suggest that the number of cases being found through PCR testing is dropping rapidly.

Over the last 24 hours Ontario’s labs confirmed another 2,488 new cases, down from 3,560 on the same day last week and 5,038 on April 21.

The positivity rate on PCR test over the last seven days now stands at 13.9 per cent. It was 15.8 per cent last week.

Officials have warned that PCR testing is not reliable metric to assess the total number of cases in the province due to limited eligibility.

Speaking with CP24, Bogoch said that while virus activity remains elevated things are “clearly improving.”

He said that COVID “is not going away unfortunately” but should be more manageable as Ontario emerges from the sixth wave of the pandemic.

“There is very few mitigation efforts in place right now. You don’t have to wear a mask in most settings, there is no capacity limits, people are living their lives and sure there is a lot of COVID out there but it is not nearly the same as it was this time last year or in 2020,” he said. “That said I don’t think we should pretend for a second that this is over. There is still COVID out there, it can still infect people and it still prays on vulnerable individuals, at-risk individuals and at-risk communities.”

While virus levels have been on the decline for a weeks now, there continues to be a slow rise in outbreaks in a handful of vulnerable settings.

The latest data suggests that there are now 217 active outbreaks in long-term care homes and 178 active outbreaks in retirement homes, up from 214 and 171 at this time last week.

There are also 101 active outbreaks in hospitals, up from 89 last week. 

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.

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