Ontario reports 80 more COVID-19 deaths, marking 2nd-deadliest week of 7th wave

Ontario is reporting 80 more deaths linked to COVID-19 over the past seven days, making this week the second-deadliest of the seventh wave so far. 

Last week, the province reported 82 deaths linked to the virus.

Newly released data from the Ministry of Health shows the number of people in hospital with the virus is down slightly from 1492 this time last week to 1474 on Thursday.

The number of people in intensive care because of the virus stayed about the same — 139 Thursday compared with 138 a week ago.

The new numbers come as the province continues to grapple with a seventh wave of the virus, driven largely by the BA.5 Omicron subvariant. The province has said the seventh wave officially began June 19.

Test positivity on Thursday was 13.7 per cent, though it’s worth noting the that figure spiked to 17.7 per cent on Aug. 1. That’s a rate not seen since April 2022, during the sixth wave.

Positivity rates are based on the number of people who test for the virus. This past January, the province moved to limit PCR testing to high-risk populations and settings only. 

Public Health Ontario also released its latest COVID-19 status report for the week July 24 to July 30 on Thursday.

The public health agency says reported case rates decreased over that period for all age groups except those ages 12-19, though rates nevertheless remain low in that age group. 

The highest reported number of cases was seen in those 80 and older. Individuals in that age group also continue to have “much higher” rates of hospitalizations and deaths compared to all other age groups, PHO says.

Experts have said reported case counts are a severe underestimate of the actual extent of COVID-19 in Ontario.

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