Ontario Reports Record 2,923 New Cases of COVID-19 as ICU Admissions Hit Pandemic High


Ontario’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health will be joined by members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Working Group, Dr. Dirk Huyer and Dr. Maxwell Smith, at a press conference at 1 p.m. ET.
You can watch this live in this story.

Ontario reported a one-day record of 2,923 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, as hospitalizations and intensive care admissions of people with the disease soared to unprecedented highs.

It is not yet clear whether today’s total includes cases that were not reported by Christmas.

Currently, 1,177 patients are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest number of admissions since the start of the pandemic in late January.

Of these, 323 are being treated in intensive care and 204 require ventilators to breathe.

Ontario hospitals continue to warn that intensive care units are reaching capacity and threatening to overwhelm the entire health care system.

Dr Michael Warner, medical director of intensive care at Michael Garron Hospital in East Toronto, called the pace of intensive care admissions “extremely worrying”, saying several hospitals were already exceeding capacity.

Warner said that in roughly Ontario’s second wave of four months, a total of 1,252 patients have been treated in intensive care units across the province, surpassing the 1,228 admitted in the previous wave. in spring and early summer.

“The trajectory is very worrying. Non-COVID care is and will continue to be canceled and patients die from this disease every week in Ontario’s ICUs, ”Warner told CBC News.

“We need to rely on people to exercise better judgment and listen to public health. This message needs to be conveyed, perhaps, with more force. ”

Today’s record number of cases exceeds the province’s previous high of 2,553 cases reported yesterday. It includes 998 newly confirmed infections in Toronto, also a record high for the city.

In addition, there were 441 new cases in Peel Region, 408 in York Region, 158 in Durham Region and 144 in Windsor-Essex.

Other public health units that have seen double-digit increases are:

  • Halton: 114.
  • Niagara: 82.
  • Hamilton: 69 years old.
  • Waterloo: 69.
  • Ottawa: 68.
  • London: 67.
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 65.
  • Southwest: 46.
  • Lambton: 40.
  • Brant County: 25.
  • Chatham-Kent: 21.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 20.
  • Huron Perth: 17.
  • Eastern Ontario: 16.
  • Leeds, Grenville et Lanark: 12.

[Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.]

The province also reported 19 more deaths of people with COVID-19, bringing the official toll to 4,474.

Today’s figures come as the Ontario lab network processed 39,210 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 8.4. 54,955 other tests are pending completion.

The cumulative number of cases in Ontario now stands at 178,831. The province’s seven-day average also reached a new high, rising to 2,310.

Ontario Releases Ethics Framework for COVID-19 Vaccines

Meanwhile, Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force detailed its plan for the “ethical distribution” of vaccines across the province today.

The working group presented six key guiding principles, including: harm reduction, equity and justice. The province will use the principles to determine who is a priority for vaccines in the coming months.

The province says it will work to protect those most at risk for serious illnesses due to biological, social and geographic factors.

The framework comes as some 50,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be made available in Ontario today.

Retired General Rick Hillier, who heads the province’s COVID-19 vaccination program, says the drug will be distributed to long-term care homes and retirement homes.

He says vaccinations should start there within days of delivery.

Hillier said on Tuesday that more than half of Ontarians – about 8.5 million – are expected to receive the vaccine by the end of July.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Hillier called on Health Canada to “examine” the possibility of providing the Moderna vaccine in one dose, rather than two, with the goal of rapidly increasing capacity as cases of the disease increase in the country. Province.

“I know it’s late to ask for a Christmas present,” Hillier told reporters. “But if I could ask for one, I would ask Health Canada to re-examine the Moderna vaccine and see if we can make it a single dose vaccine to give us that greater ability to go out and vaccinate people even faster than we. plan to do so now. ”

As it is, Moderna vaccine requires two doses given approximately 28 days apart.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only other COVID-19 vaccine currently approved for use by Health Canada, also includes two doses, about three weeks apart.

The drug is already administered to health workers, but its storage requirements limit the possibilities of doing so.


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