Ontario logs 1,095 new COVID-19 cases as key measures continue decline

Ontario reported 1,095 additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday along with 23 more deaths of people with the illness.

With the exception of the 1,039 infections logged Tuesday — the day following the Victoria Day long weekend — it’s the fewest new cases since March 16. 

It’s also considerably down from last Wednesday, when the province reported 1,588 cases. Because testing in Ontario generally follows a weekly cycle, it is usually most helpful to compare the same days of the week.

Labs finished 24,008 tests, far below the system’s total capacity, and Public Health Ontario reported a provincewide positivity rate of 5.3 per cent. While overall testing levels have gone down in recent weeks, so too has the rolling average of positivity rates, suggesting that week-over-week, there have been fewer and fewer new cases to find.

The seven-day average of daily cases fell dropped again to 1,623, its lowest point since March 22. 

The number of total active infections also continued its steady decline, down to about 17,727. At the height of the third wave of the pandemic, there were nearly 43,000 active cases in Ontario. 

As of Tuesday, there were 1,073 people with COVID-related illnesses being treated in hospitals, 672 of whom were being treated in intensive care. Of those in ICUs, 469, or about 70 per cent, needed a ventilator. 

According to Critical Care Services Ontario (CCSO), a government agency that does a daily tally of hospitalizations, 30 more COVID-19 patients were admitted to ICUs yesterday. The median stay for ICU patients has grown to nearly 20 days, up from around 11 at the beginning of May. 

The additional deaths pushed the official toll to 8,678. The seven-day average of daily deaths stands at nearly 22.

Meanwhile, public health units administered another 135,308 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, the province said. Because more adolescents are receiving vaccines, and the province doesn’t provide an age breakdown of those who have received a shot, it’s difficult to say exactly what percentage of Ontario adults have gotten a first dose.

Using the province’s total population, about 53 per cent of Ontarians have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The government has said that having 60 per cent of all Ontario adults with a first shot is a key criterion for moving into the Phase 1 of its revised reopening plan.

Report on long-term care spending expected today

Ontario’s fiscal watchdog is releasing a report today examining government spending on long-term care.

The Financial Accountability Office said the new report is based on the province’s 2021-22 expenditure estimates.

It said the overview of the ministry will identify key financial issues including the government’s promise to add and redevelop 30,000 long-term care beds.

The report will also examine the Progressive Conservative government pledge to increase the amount of average daily direct care per resident.

Last November, the government promised to establish a new standard that would see nursing home residents receive an average of four hours of direct care every day.

Premier Doug Ford has pledged to achieve the standard by 2024-25 and said the province will need to hire “tens of thousands” more personal support workers, registered practical nurses and registered nurses to provide the care.

According to the province, some 3,950 residents of long-term care have died during the COVID-19 pandemic. That figure represents about 46 per cent of all deaths of people with COVID-19 in Ontario.

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