Ontario is reporting 1,670 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the lowest number of new infections recorded in a single day since November 26 and almost 1,000 fewer cases than the 2,655 reported just a week ago .
Today’s tally of cases marks the continuation of an encouraging trend in the province.
As of Tuesday, 1,740 new infections were reported and 1,958 were confirmed on Monday, although those numbers correspond to a massive drop in testing. Less than 31,000 tests were performed Tuesday and only 36,000 were processed Monday, less than half the capacity of provincial laboratories.
Over 55,000 tests have been processed in the past 24 hours, a marked improvement in testing from the previous two days.
The province-wide test positivity rate today is 4%, according to the Department of Health, compared to 5.9% yesterday and 4.9% last week.
The seven-day average for new infections is now 2,205, down from 2,849 last Wednesday and nearly 3,500 two weeks ago.
Today, 49 more virus-related deaths have been reported in the province, including 25 residents of long-term care homes.
Recent data released by the province indicates that hospitalizations related to the virus continue to decline. An estimated 1,382 COVID-19 patients are currently receiving treatment in Ontario hospitals, down more than 200 from last week. Intensive care admissions also fell to 377, from 395 seven days ago.
Active infections fell to 21,932, nearly 5,000 lower than the number of active cases last week.
According to the province, there are now 450 new cases in Toronto, 342 in Peel, 171 in York region and 128 in Niagara region.
The decline in the growth of cases comes amid concerns about community transmission of variant B117 in Ontario, a more contagious variant of COVID-19 first detected in the UK.
So far, at least 43 vases of the British variant have been confirmed in the province, including six at Roberta Place, a long-term care home in Barrie.
On Tuesday, Dr Charles Gardner, medical officer of health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said data from Public Health Ontario indicates at least 99 more cases returned positive for a “variant of concern” in an initial screening test. . Gardner said full genome sequencing will be done to determine if these cases are in fact the UK variant.
All but two of Roberta Place’s 129 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, along with 92 facility staff. Gardner said he believed all cases linked to the outbreak at Roberta Place were the B117 variant, although this has yet to be officially confirmed by provincial labs.
Gardner said that while the majority of the 99 new cases reported for the variant have links to the outbreak at Roberta Place, two do not.
One case is believed to be associated with an outbreak at the Waypoint Center for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene, while a second case has no known link to an outbreak in the province.
The figures in this article come from daily data released by the Department of Health at 10:30 a.m.