Ontario COVID news: 15 deaths, drop in ICU occupancy

Provincial health officials logged 15 more COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday as the number of patients with the virus in intensive care declined.

The province says 14 of the latest deaths occurred in the last month and one death happened more than a month ago and was added to the cumulative total based on data cleaning.

Three of the deaths were long-term care home residents.

Since March 2020, the province has confirmed 13,241 virus-related deaths.

The Ministry of Health says there are 808 COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals compared to 890 a week ago.

Forty per cent of patients were admitted to hospital for COVID-19-related reasons, while nearly 60 per cent were admitted for other reasons and subsequently tested positive for the virus.

Of those in hospital, the ministry says 140 are in intensive care, down by 17 from this time a week ago.

Sixty-seven per cent of ICU patients are in hospital for virus-related reasons and 32 per cent were admitted for other reasons but tested positive for COVID-19.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Zain Chagla says most COVID-19 metrics should continue to improve during the summer season.

“I think compared just in time from a couple of months ago, we’re definitely in a better spot. ICU numbers are down, hospitalization numbers are down. So these surrogate measures of community activity are down, wastewater is down,” he told CP24 on Tuesday.

“We’ll probably see a summer of calm like we’ve seen in all three years. And then the fall will be the year where we kind of have to start deciding what to do next as things start rising.”

Ontario labs processed 9,535 tests in the past 24 hours, producing a positivity rate of 8.3 per cent, up from 7.6 per cent yesterday but down from 9.1 per cent a week ago, according to the ministry.

The province also confirmed 590 more infections today but health officials warn that case counts are an underestimate due to limited PCR testing.

Among the latest cases, 347 of the individuals have received three or more doses of a vaccine, 110 have received two doses, 82 are partially or unvaccinated and 51 have an unknown vaccination status.

Yesterday the province administered 14,540 vaccine doses.

To date, 90 per cent of Ontarians aged five years and older have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 87 per cent have received two doses and 52 per cent have received three doses.

On Tuesday, the federal government announced it will be extending all COVID-19 travel measures until June 30, requiring all travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, to continue submitting information on the ArriveCAN app.

Unvaccinated Canadians travelling into the country will have to continue taking a PCR test upon arrival and on day eight of their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Many health officials, however, have been calling on the government to discontinue these measures as they are not as effective as they used to be and provide a barrier to travel.

“There’s a great study from Cornell University where the vaccine passports actually did a really good job of preventing infection until Omicron hit and a quarter of the campus got infected. And so you know, if this really isn’t offering a benefit, we really do have to take it off the table,” Chagla said.

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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