Ontario is reporting 82 new deaths linked to COVID-19 over the past week, up from 62 the week before, according to the latest provincial data.
The number is more than double the number of new deaths reported at the start of July. The province reported 33 new deaths over the period from July 1 to 7.
The new numbers come as the province contends with a seventh wave of the virus, driven largely by the BA.5 Omicron subvariant, which was declared to have officially begun June 19.
The province is also reporting 1,492 patients hospitalized with the virus, 138 of whom are in intensive care. Of those, 63 patients are on a ventilator.
Those figures are up from 1,483 people in hospital with the virus and 126 requiring intensive care this time last week.
Test positivity was 14.2 per cent on Thursday, compared with 15 per cent the same time last week. However, that figure is based on testing volume which was down from 14,039 last Thursday to 12,396.
This past January, the province moved to limit PCR testing to high-risk populations and settings only. Experts have said reported case counts are a severe underestimate of the actual extent of COVID-19 in Ontario.
COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals and ICUs
Also on Thursday, Public Health Ontario released its latest weekly epidemiological summary for the period July 17 to July 23.
According to the report, while hospital admissions decreased last week, deaths were on the rise. The period ending July 23 saw the first week-over-week decrease in hospitalizations since the start of the seventh wave, the public health agency says.
However, it said, "a trend of increasing deaths since the beginning of wave 7 is now evident."
"The number of severe outcomes reported in future weeks may increase, as these outcomes are lagging indicators," it said.
Those 80 years of age and up continue to see the highest rates of the the virus, the agency added.