Ontario reported another 194 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, while the province logged no new deaths linked to the illness for the first time in almost nine months.
Ontario has not seen a day without any further deaths of people with COVID-19 since Oct. 14, 2020. The official toll remains at 9,224.
Here are some other key indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health's provincial update:
Seven-day average of daily cases: 205, up slightly from yesterday
Tests completed: 26,976
Provincewide test positivity rate: 0.9 per cent
Active cases: 1,841, the fewest since early September 2020
Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 220; 155 needed a ventilator to breathe
Vaccinations: 204,594, though the ministry said that "due to a technical issue," yesterday's total was taken at 5 p.m. instead of 8 p.m., meaning today's figure is an undercount. Doses that were not counted past 5 p.m. will be included in tomorrow's data. Public health units have now administered more than 16,000,000 doses of vaccines since the immunization campaign began last December.
Ontarians 18+ with 1 dose: 78.6 per cent
Ontarians 18+ with 2 doses: Nearly 48 per cent
Ontario: New daily cases of COVID-19
All but one of Ontario's 34 public health units moved into Step 2 of the government's reopening plan one week ago.
It generally takes 10 to 14 days before the effects of loosening restrictions appear in the aggregate COVID-19 data, so it is still too early to analyze how the changes introduced as part of Step 2 may impact the spread of the virus.
That said, the major indicators continue to suggest the pandemic has receded substantially in Ontario.
The presence of the delta variant of concern, however, remains a significant risk factor for those who are either unvaccinated or have had only a first shot, as the uptake of first doses in the general population has slowed considerably in recent weeks.
The latest estimate from Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table is that that the delta variant of concern now accounts for roughly 82 per cent of all new cases in the province, making it by far the dominant strain.
Speaking this morning, Health Minister Christine Elliott said with delta circulating, it is — at least for now — unlikely that Ontario will move to Step 3 earlier than July 21.
"The delta variant is still out there, it is still very active and that is why we need to take a very cautious approach to opening up further," Elliot told reporters.
"We want to make sure that when we open, we can stay open. We want to avoid a fourth wave, we don't want to have to move back a step. So we want to make sure that we are completely ready to move forward."
A new report from Public Health Ontario published this morning examined cases of COVID-19 among people who had already gotten at least one dose of a vaccine.
Of the the roughly 9.9-million Ontarians who were vaccinated between Dec. 14, 2020 and June 26, 2021:
0.16 per cent, or 15,592 people, tested positive after a single dose.
0.02 per cent, or 1,635 people, tested positive after they were considered fully vaccinated.
More visitors allowed at long-term care homes
Meanwhile, as of this today, long-term care residents in Ontario can have outdoor visits with up to 10 people at a time.
The province says they can also meet indoors with up to two essential caregivers and two general visitors.
The new rules also allow personal care services to resume for long-term care residents.
Additionally, there's no longer a limit on the number people who can be deemed "essential caregivers" by long-term care residents or their substitute decision-makers.
Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan will see the resumption of off-site excursions and activities such as singing and dancing.