The province reports a slight drop in the daily case count but the reproductive number trends upward
Ontario reported 1,185 new COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths on February 27. Today’s count marks a slight drop over the previous day.
The province confirmed 1,258 new cases on Friday, 1,138 on Thursday, 1,054 on Wednesday and 975 on Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average had been steadily increasing for almost a week but has now dropped slightly to 1,108.
Labs completed more than 59,400 tests – down from more than 64,000 yesterday – making for a positivity rate of 2.1 per cent.
However, the reproductive number – which indicates the number of cases a single case will infect – has steadily gone up during February and is now 0.99.
Public health officials have said that number must be below 0.7 to avoid a third wave.
There are now 10,479 active COVID-19 cases in Ontario.
On Friday, the province pulled the “emergency brake” in the COVID-19 response framework and is moving Thunder Bay and Simcoe Muskoka back into lockdown on March 1. Simcoe Muskoka has the highest incidence of fast-spreading variant cases in the province.
During a data modelling presentation at Queen’s Park on Thursday, Ontario’s top doctors said the pandemic is levelling off across the province but Toronto, Peel and York are “trending in the wrong direction.”
Variants of concern, which studies have shown can lead to more severe health outcomes, have grown substantially in the past month and now comprise 20 per cent of all confirmed cases, up from five per cent at the end of January.
Vaccines have also helped reduce new cases and deaths in long-term care homes, officials said. One of today’s deaths was a long-term care home resident.
A total of 6,960 people have died in Ontario, including 3,865 long-term care home residents, since the pandemic began.
The Greater Toronto Area continues to report the most new infections.
“Locally, there are 331 new cases in Toronto, 220 in Peel and 119 in York Region,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.
To date, there have been 535 variant cases confirmed – 80 per cent of which have been traced back to outbreaks or close contacts.
Labs confirmed another 31 of the B117 (UK) variant and 11 more cases of the B1351 (South Africa) variant in the past day.
Hospitalizations declined to 680 patients since yesterday. The number of patients in intensive care units is also down. There are 276 patients in ICUs, including 182 on ventilators.
As of 8 pm last night, the province had administered 668,104 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:
Toronto = 331
Peel Region = 220
York Region = 119
Ottawa = 67
Hamilton = 59
Thunder Bay = 55
Region of Waterloo = 52
Brant County = 41
Durham Region = 36
Simcoe Muskoka = 35
Halton Region = 32
Windsor-Essex = 26
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 15
Niagara Region = 13
Lambton = 13
Middlesex-London = 13
Southwestern = 11
Eastern Ontario = 7
Huron Perth = 7
Haldimand-Norfolk = 6
Hastings Prince Edward = 5