Ontario COVID-19 news: province reports 22 net new deaths as hospitalizations climb

Ontario reported 22 net new COVID-19 deaths on Friday, as hospitalizations rose slightly from earlier in the week while early surveillance data points to a rise in transmission across the province.

The Ministry of Health said 15 of the deaths reported on Friday occurred in the past 30 days and seven occurred prior to that period.

There have been 59 deaths reported in the past week and 452 in the past month.

The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Ontario now stands at 12,388.

About 489 deaths were removed from the tally earlier in March as they were determined to be “incidental” with a cause of death not in any way related to infection.

There were 667 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday, up six from yesterday and 54 from one week ago.

Of those, the number of people in intensive care fell by four to 161 on Friday. The ICU burden caused by COVID-19 continues to fall and has fallen by 24 from one week ago.

UHN infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch described what he’s seen in overall wastewater surveillance data as the precursor to a “wavelet” but cautioned we really do not test enough to know what is going on.

“We’re not doing widespread PCR testing across the province so it’s hard what the true burden of infection is, but if you look at the wastewater signal not just in Toronto and other parts of the province, we are seeing an uptick in the surveillance .”

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table says the signal generated by copies of the SARS-COV-2 virus in wastewater across the province has as much as tripled since March 9.

“It would come to no one’s surprise if days or a week or so later we’re going to see a bump in the number of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19-related illness.”

Even as masks are now optional in most settings across the province, Bogoch said it was a good idea to still wear one.

“I think that’s a good idea, especially because we’re on the cusp of a spring wave.”

Of the 2,671 cases detected through limited PCR testing in the province, the Ministry of Health says 291 cases involved unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people, 734 involved people with two COVID-19 vaccine doses, 1,537 involved people with three doses of vaccine and 199 involved people whose exact vaccination status was not known.

Provincial labs processed 17,654 test specimens, generating a positivity rate of 12.6 per cent.

The province says administered 9,928 COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday.

Of those, 1,047 were first doses, 2,462 were second doses and 4,911 were third doses.

Across all age groups, 84.2 per cent of Ontario residents have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 80.9 per cent have two doses and 47.8 per cent have three doses.

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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