Ontario reported 1,095 additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday along with 23 more deaths of people with the illness.
With the exception of the 1,039 infections logged Tuesday — the day following the Victoria Day long weekend — it's the fewest new cases since March 16.
It's also considerably down from last Wednesday, when the province reported 1,588 cases. Because testing in Ontario generally follows a weekly cycle, it is usually most helpful to compare the same days of the week.
Labs finished 24,008 tests, far below the system's total capacity, and Public Health Ontario reported a provincewide positivity rate of 5.3 per cent. While overall testing levels have gone down in recent weeks, so too has the rolling average of positivity rates, suggesting that week-over-week, there have been fewer and fewer new cases to find.
The seven-day average of daily cases dropped again to 1,623, its lowest point since March 22.
The number of total active infections also continued its steady decline, down to about 17,727. At the height of the third wave of the pandemic, there were nearly 43,000 active cases in Ontario.
As of Tuesday, there were 1,073 people with COVID-related illnesses being treated in hospitals, 672 of whom were being treated in intensive care. Of those in ICUs, 469, or about 70 per cent, needed a ventilator.
According to Critical Care Services Ontario (CCSO), a government agency that does a daily tally of hospitalizations, 30 more COVID-19 patients were admitted to ICUs yesterday. The median stay for ICU patients has grown to nearly 20 days, up from around 11 at the beginning of May.
The additional deaths pushed the official toll to 8,678. The seven-day average of daily deaths stands at nearly 22.
Meanwhile, public health units administered another 135,308 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, the province said. Because more adolescents are receiving vaccines, and the province doesn't provide an age breakdown of those who have received a shot, it's difficult to say exactly what percentage of Ontario adults have gotten a first dose.
Using the province's total population, about 53 per cent of Ontarians have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The government has said that having 60 per cent of all Ontario adults with a first shot is a key criterion for moving into the Phase 1 of its revised reopening plan.
Ontario 2 years behind on LTC bed target, fiscal watchdog says
Ontario's fiscal watchdog says the province will not meet its goal of creating 15,000 new long-term care beds by 2024.
In a report released today, the Financial Accountability Office says Ontario will need more than 30,000 new beds in the sector in 10 years.
The FAO also says the province will need to hire 17,000 personal support workers and more than 12,000 nurses to fulfil a promise to increase the average amount of direct care per resident to four hours per day.
The report says the province is two years behind its goal of creating 15,000 new long-term care beds.
It projects spending on long-term care will increase to $10.6 billion per year by 2030, up from $4.4 billion per year in 2019-20.
The new report is based on the province's 2021-22 expenditure estimates.
Last November, the government promised to establish a new standard that would see nursing home residents receive an average of four hours of direct care every day.
Premier Doug Ford has pledged to achieve the standard by 2024-25 and said the province will need to hire "tens of thousands" more personal support workers, registered practical nurses and registered nurses to provide the care.
According to the province, some 3,950 residents of long-term care have died during the COVID-19 pandemic. That figure represents about 46 per cent of all deaths of people with COVID-19 in Ontario.