Ontario reported 480 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, a nearly 14 per cent jump over Monday last week, while more than 85 per cent of those in the province eligible for immunization against the virus have now had two shots.
Today's case count is the eighth consecutive day of week-over-week increases in daily infections. It's also the highest number of new cases reported on a Monday since Oct. 4.
Because testing levels in Ontario are generally cyclical, it's often most illuminating to compare the same days of the week when identifying trends in pandemic data.
The seven-day average of daily infections rose to 476, its highest point since mid-October. A nearly two-months-long period of consistent decline in the seven-day average that began in early September has been firmly in reverse for more than a week.
Ontario: New daily cases of COVID-19
Transmission growing after period of contraction
Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table now estimates the province's effective reproduction number at 1.26, meaning transmission of the virus is once again growing exponentially after a sustained period of contraction.
But the group's scientific director says behavioural changes like avoiding crowds, wearing masks and working from home can help steady the course.
Dr. Peter Juni says the rise in daily case counts over the last week comes after the province lifted capacity restrictions on venueslike stadiums and restaurants and the weather became cooler, forcing people indoors.
Juni says people may be taking fewer precautions in of light those changes and the high vaccination rate in the province.
While cases may be trending upward, the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines has helped to keep the burden on intensive care units steady. As of Sunday evening, there were 127 patients being treated for COVID-related illnesses in the province's ICUs. Of those, 74 relied on a ventilator to breathe.
Public health units collectively administered another 17,057 doses of vaccines on Sunday. Roughly 85.1 per cent of eligible Ontarians, or more than 11 million people aged 12 and older, have had two shots.
Here are some key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health's daily provincial update:
Tests completed in previous 24 hours: 22,980, with a 2.2 per cent provincewide positivity rate — the highest reported positivity rate since Sept. 21.
Active cases: 4,040, the most since Oct. 14.
Newly reported deaths: Two, pushing the official toll to 9,900.
13 cases linked to Toronto elementary school
Toronto Public Health (TPH) has recommended that students at a Scarborough elementary school stay home after 13 cases of COVID-19 were linked to the facility.
The dismissal at Precious Blood Catholic School took effect Monday, with TPH calling it a "precautionary measure to protect staff, students and the community from further COVID-19 transmission within the school."
TPH said it will work closely with the school to determine when in-person learning can resume.
The province reported a total of 85 new school-related cases today, including 75 students and seven staff members.
Three schools in Ontario, or about 0.06 per cent of the province's 4,844 publicly-funded schools, are currently closed due to the illness.