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The seven-day average drops below 500 and Toronto confirms 20 per cent of adults have received a second vaccine dose
Ontario is reporting 296 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest single-day increase in new infections since mid-September.
Today’s count is down from 447 on Monday and 530 on Sunday. There were 502 cases on Saturday and 574 on Friday. The seven-day average for new infections has dropped to 479, down from 703 last Tuesday.
The last time the province reported a daily count below the 300 mark was on September 17, when 293 cases were logged.
Toronto Public Health confirmed an increase of 60 cases in the past day, according to the Ministry of Health. Only eight of the province’s 34 public health units logged a single-day increase in the double-digit range.
“Locally, there are 62 new cases in Peel, 60 in Toronto, 45 in Waterloo, 15 in York Region and 13 in Halton,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.
Toronto’s case rate per 100,000 people is now 2.2, down from 6.6 one week ago.
Labs in the province completed 17,162 tests in the past 24 hours. The positivity rate is 2.3 per cent, which is down from 2.7 per cent last Tuesday.
The virus has killed another 13 people in Ontario, bringing the death toll to 8,974. Two of the people who died in the past day were residents of long-term care homes.
With 645 more cases now considered resolved, the total number of confirmed active COVID-19 cases in Ontario is 5,012. There are 433 patients in hospital, an increase of 49 in the past day. Of those, 382 are in intensive care units, including 244 breathing with the help of a ventilator.
As of 8 pm last night, the province had administered 11,529,430 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 184,989 yesterday.
Also as of last night, 20 per cent of Toronto residents 18 and older had received a second vaccine shot, city officials said on Tuesday morning.
On Monday, the province expanded second-dose booking eligibility to people in hot spots (including Toronto) who had received a first shot on or before May 9 to combat the fast-transmitting Delta variant
The government also shortened the second-dose interval for people who received a first shot of AstraZeneca from 12 to eight weeks with “informed consent.”
In order for the province to move into step two of the reopening plan, 20 per cent of eligible adults in Ontario must be fully immunized. To date, nearly 17 per cent of eligible adults in Ontario are fully vaccinated and 75.6 per cent have received one dose.
During a press briefing at Queen’s Park yesterday, Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Barbara Yaffe told reporters the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, is spreading rapidly in the province and will soon outpace the Alpha variant, first identified in the UK, as the dominant strain of the virus in the province.
The Delta variant is one and a half times more infectious than the Alpha, she said, adding that the most recent data for the week of May 16 to the 23 showed the Delta variant was 14 per cent of test specimens in Ontario.
Yaffe cited recent research into the Delta variant from Public Health England that found two doses of AstraZeneca are 60-70 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms, and two shots of mRNA vaccines appear to be around 88-90 per cent effective at preventing illness.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re pushing up the interval between the first dose of AstraZeneca, and the second dose of whichever vaccine the individual chooses,” she said, “because we want to get people as fully protected as quickly as possible with the Delta strain moving up in Ontario as it is.”
The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:
Peel Region = 62
Toronto = 60
Waterloo = 45
York Region = 15
Halton Region = 13
Durham Region = 12
Ottawa = 11
Windsor-Essex = 11
Middlesex-London = 9
Porcupine = 8
Simcoe Muskoka = 8
Hamilton = 7
Niagara Region = 6
Brant County = 5