Omicron pummels Ontario as hospitalizations reach 2,594 — yet another record high

·2 min read
Ambulance paramedics unload a patient at the emergency department of St. Michael’s Hospital, in downtown Toronto, on Jan. 4, 2022.  (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Ambulance paramedics unload a patient at the emergency department of St. Michael’s Hospital, in downtown Toronto, on Jan. 4, 2022. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

Ontario confirmed at least 13,362 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, although the real number is likely much higher given the province has reduced access to PCR testing for most people.

However, as many infectious diseases experts have noted, the more important number to watch is hospitalizations. The number of people hospitalized as a result of the virus is still on an upward trend, reaching a new pandemic high of 2,594 on Saturday, up from Friday's high of 2,472.

While still not as crowded as they were during the peak of the pandemic's third wave (900), intensive care units are treating a total of 385 patients, an increase from 338 on Friday.

The provincial government announced on Saturday it was opening more vaccination clinics specifically so education and child care staff can have "accelerated access to COVID-19 booster shots."

The 10 new clinics are located in Toronto, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Vaughan, Pickering, Hamilton, Oakville and Brampton.

A clinic out of the Toronto Zoo is specifically reserving appointments between 4 and 10 p.m. for education and child care staff. They also have access to protected appointments on the weekend.

Eligible people can book as early as Saturday by going to this website.

Also in the Saturday morning release, the government reiterated it's trying to get more rapid-antigen tests ready for a return to in-person learning, which could be as soon as Jan. 17.

Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health's daily provincial update:

Tests completed: 55,700.

Provincewide test positivity rate: a single-day high of 30.6 per cent, up from 26.6 per cent on Friday even though fewer tests were completed.

Active cases: 136,548.

Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 385; 219 needed a ventilator to breathe.

Deaths: 31, pushing the official toll to 10,345.

Vaccinations: 184,101 doses were administered on Friday. To date, the province has administered 28,324,152 doses. Currently, 91.1 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 or older have received one dose of a vaccine, while 88.4 per cent have received two doses.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting