Here’s an update on COVID-19 cases in Ontario as well as in the greater Kawarthas region.
As the Easter long weekend approaches, Ontario is reporting 2,336 new cases — the sixth straight day of increases over 2,000 — with the seven-day average of daily cases increasing by 113 to 2,207. The province is also reporting 51 more confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 UK variant, 6 more confirmed cases of the B.1.351 South Africa variant, and 8 more confirmed cases of the P.1 Brazilian variant.
“I’m extremely concerned about the situation that we’re seeing,” Premier Doug Ford said at a media conference in North York today, implying that more restrictions may be coming in the next couple of days. “Everything’s on the table right now. So folks, be prepared, don’t make plans for Easter. I won’t hesitate to lock things down if we have to. I did it before, I’ll do it again.”
Ford’s comments come the day after the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table published an alarming report confirming variants of concern are driving the third wave of the pandemic, now accounting for more than two-thirds of all new COVID-19 infections in Ontario.
The B.1.1.7 UK variant alone accounts for more than 90 per cent of these infections, with emerging evidence that it is both more transmissible and virulent. Variants of concern are associated with a 63 per cent increased risk of hospitalization, a 103 per cent increased risk of ICU admission, and a 56 per cent increased risk of death due to COVID-19.
The variants of concern “will result in a considerably higher burden to Ontario’s health care system”, warns the report. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is now 21 per cent higher than at the start of the province-wide lockdown in late December, while ICU occupancy is 28 per cent higher.
The third wave is also affecting younger people more than the previous two waves, with the percentage of COVID-19 patients now in ICUs who are younger than 60 years around 50 per cent higher than it was in late December. The report states the full burden on the province’s health care system is yet to come, since the increased risk of COVID-19 hospitalization, ICU admission, and death from variants of concern is most pronounced 14 to 28 days after diagnosis.
In the greater Kawarthas region, there are 15 new cases to report and an additional 15 cases resolved, with the number of active cases across the region increasing by 1 from yesterday to 118. See below for detailed numbers from each regional health unit.
Most of today’s new cases are in Toronto (727), Peel (434), York (229), Durham (194), Ottawa (144), and Hamilton (123).
There are double-digit increases in Halton (91), Niagara (63), Simcoe Muskoka (39), Middlesex-London (38), Waterloo (31), Windsor-Essex (28), Brant (25), Eastern Ontario (23), Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (23), Lambton (20), Sudbury (19), Thunder Bay (16), Chatham-Kent (12), Southwestern (11), and Haldimand-Norfolk (10), with smaller increases in Hastings Prince Edward (8) and Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (7).
The remaining 11 health units are reporting 5 or fewer new cases, with 3 health units reporting no new cases at all.
Of today’s new cases, 55% are among people 39 and younger, with the highest number of cases (789) among people ages 20-39 followed by 664 cases among people ages 40-59.
With 1,477 more cases resolved since yesterday, the percentage of resolved cases has decreased by 0.2% to 92.2%. The average positivity rate across Ontario has increased by 0.1% at 6.2%, meaning that 61 out of every 1,000 tests performed were positive for COVID-19 on March 29.
Ontario is reporting 14 new COVID-19 deaths today, with 4 new deaths in long-term care homes. Ontario has averaged 14 new daily deaths over the past week, an increase of 1 from yesterday.
Echoing the warning in yesterday’s Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table report, the number of hospitalizations has spiked by 249 to 1,090, with the number of patients with COVID-19 in ICUs increasing by 5 to 387 and the number of patients with COVID-19 on ventilators increasing by 13 to 249.
A total of 36,071 tests were completed yesterday, with the backlog of tests under investigation increasing by 17,350 to 35,066.
A total of 2,102,380 doses of vaccine have now been administered, an increase of 70,645 from yesterday, with 313,889 people fully vaccinated with both doses of vaccine, an increase of 2,641 from yesterday.
The number of fully vaccinated people represents 2.13% of Ontario’s population, with fully and partially vaccinated people representing 14.27% of the population. An estimated 70-90% of the population must be immunized to achieve herd immunity and, at the current rate of vaccination, it will take almost four months to immunize 70% of Ontarians with one dose of vaccine.
There are 518 new cases in Ontario schools, an increase of 303 from yesterday, including 440 student cases, 77 staff cases, and 1 case among an unidentified person. There are 96 new cases in licensed child care settings in Ontario, an increase of 60 from yesterday, including 59 cases among children and 37 cases among staff. Note: cases reported on Tuesdays include the total number of cases reported from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon.
In the greater Kawarthas region, there are 15 new cases to report, including 11 in Peterborough, 3 in Hastings Prince Edward, and 1 in Northumberland. There are no new cases in Kawartha Lakes or Haliburton.
There is a new outbreak at an unidentified workplace in Trenton.
There are 16 new regional cases of presumed variants of concern, including 8 in Peterborough, 5 in Hastings Prince Edward, 2 in Kawartha Lakes, and 1 in Northumberland.
An additional 15 cases have been resolved, including 13 in Peterborough, 1 in Northumberland, and 1 in Hastings Prince Edward.
There are currently 118 active cases in the greater Kawarthas region, an increase of 1 from yesterday, including 50 in Peterborough, 39 in Hastings Prince Edward (8 in Quinte West, 16 in Belleville, 6 in Tyendinaga & Deseronto, 3 in Prince Edward County, and 6 in Central Hastings), 16 in Northumberland, and 13 in Kawartha Lakes. There are no active cases in Haliburton.
Since the pandemic began in the greater Kawarthas region, there have been 866 confirmed positive cases in the Peterborough area (806 resolved with 10 deaths), 580 in the City of Kawartha Lakes (525 resolved with 55 deaths), 495 in Northumberland County (467 resolved with 12 deaths), 65 in Haliburton County (64 resolved with 1 death), and 482 in Hastings and Prince Edward counties (437 resolved with 6 deaths). The most recent death was reported in Peterborough on March 16.
The provincial data in this report is pulled from Ontario’s integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) at 4 p.m. the previous day, as well as from systems in Toronto, Ottawa, and Middlesex-London at 2 p.m. the previous day. Data from local health units is more current and is usually reflected in the provincial data the following day. There may be discrepancies between the Ontario data reported today (which is from yesterday) and the local health unit data reported today (which is from today).
Peterborough Public Health
Peterborough Public Health’s service area is the City and County of Peterborough and the Hiawatha and Curve Lake First Nations.
The health unit provides daily reports, including on weekends, excluding statutory holidays. Note: Due to updates and maintenance, the health unit’s online data tool will not be updated on March 29 or 30; information on the number of close contacts, deaths, hospitalizations, completed tests, and outbreaks will not be available.
Confirmed positive: 866 (increase of 11)
Confirmed variants of concern cases: 1 (no change)
Presumed variants of concern cases: 193 (increase of 8)
Active cases: 50 (decrease of 2)
Close contacts: 257
Resolved: 806 (increase of 13)
Hospitalizations (total to date): 30*
Total tests completed: Over 46,250
Outbreaks: Unidentified congregate living facility in Peterborough, Gzowski College student residence at Trent University, Empress Gardens retirement home in Peterborough (no change)
Vaccine doses administered: 24,309 (last updated March 25)
*As of March 30, Peterborough Regional Health Centre is reporting fewer than 10 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 (no change) and 23 patients transferred from other areas as a result of a provincial directive (increase of 1).
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s service area is the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County, and Haliburton County.
The health unit provides reports from Monday to Saturday, excluding Sundays and statutory holidays.
Confirmed positive: 1,140, including 580 in Kawartha Lakes, 495 in Northumberland, and 65 in Haliburton (increase of 1 in Northumberland)*
Cases with N501Y mutation: 54, including 16 in Kawartha Lakes and 38 in Northumberland (increase of 3, including 2 in Kawartha Lakes and 1 in Northumberland)**
Active cases: 29, including 13 in Kawartha Lakes, 16 in Northumberland (increase of 1 in Kawartha Lakes)
Probable cases: 0 (no change)
High-risk contacts: 121, including 41 in Kawartha Lakes, 53 in Northumberland, and 6 in Haliburton (net decrease of 3)***
Hospitalizations (total to date): 50, including 30 in Kawartha Lakes, 17 in Northumberland, and 3 in Haliburton (no change)****
Deaths (including among probable cases): 68, including 55 in Kawartha Lakes, 12 in Northumberland, and 1 in Haliburton (no change)
Resolved: 1,056, including 525 in Kawartha Lakes, 467 in Northumberland, 64 in Haliburton (increase of 1 in Northumberland)
Tests completed: 162,069 (increase of 724)
Vaccine doses administered: 23,198 (increase of 7,410, last updated on March 29)
Number of people fully vaccinated: 2,618 (increase of 335, last updated on March 29)
Outbreaks: None (no change)
*The health unit states that total counts and counts for individual counties may fluctuate from previously reported counts as cases are transferred to or from the health unit based on case investigation details and routine data cleaning.
**The N501Y mutation has been identified in variants of concern including the B.1.1.7 UK variant, the B.1.351 South Africa variant, and the P.1 Brazilian variant.
***This total includes an additional 11 high-risk contacts directly followed up through the Public Health Ontario contact tracing process that are missing the contacts’ county.
****As of March 29, Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay reports 2 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 (increase of 1).
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health’s service area is Hastings County (including Bancroft) and Prince Edward County.
The health unit provides daily reports, including on weekends, excluding statutory holidays.
Confirmed positive: 482 (increase of 3)
Confirmed variants of concern cases: 15 (increase of 5)
Active cases: 39 (increase of 2)
Deaths: 6 (no change)
Currently hospitalized: 0 (no change)
Currently hospitalized and in ICU: 0 (no change)
Currently hospitalized and in ICU on ventilator (total to date): 0 (no change)
Resolved: 437 (increase of 1)
Tests completed: 82,923 (increase of 21)
Vaccine doses administered: 26,795 (increase of 1,582)
Number of people fully vaccinated: 1,920 (increase of 5)
Outbreaks: Unidentified workplace in Trenton (increase of 1)
Province of Ontario
Confirmed positive: 347,570 (increase of 2,336)
COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) confirmed cases: 1,800 of B.1.1.7 UK variant (increase of 51); 69 of B.1.351 South Africa variant (increase of 6); 90 of P.1 Brazilian variant (increase of 8)
VOC R(t): 1.35 (decrease of 0.01, last updated March 26)*
7-day average of daily new cases: 2,207 (increase of 113)
Resolved: 320,409 (increase of 1,477), 92.2% of all cases (decrease of 0.2%)
Positivity rate: 6.2% (increase of 0.1%)
Hospitalizations: 1,090 (increase of 249)
Hospitalizations in ICU: 387 (increase of 5)
Hospitalizations in ICU on ventilator: 249 (increase of 13)
Deaths: 7,351 (increase of 14)
7-day average of daily new deaths: 14 (increase of 1)
Deaths of residents in long-term care homes: 3,897 (increase of 4)
Total tests completed: 12,498,641 (increase of 36,071)
Tests under investigation: 35,066 (increase of 17,350)
Vaccination doses administered: 2,102,380 (increase of 70,645), 14.27% of Ontario’s population (increase of 0.48%)**
People fully vaccinated (two doses): 313,889 (increase of 2,641), 2.13% of Ontario’s population (increase of 0.02%)**
*R(t) is a virus’s effective reproduction number, which is the average number of new infections caused by a single infected individual at a specific time (t) in a partially immunized population. To successfully eliminate a disease from a population, R(t) needs to be less than 1.
**An estimated 70-90% of the population must be immunized to achieve herd immunity.
For more information about COVID-19 in Ontario, visit covid-19.ontario.ca.