Ontario reports 2,903 new coronavirus cases, along with 8 more cases of highly contagious U.K. variant

WATCH ABOVE: Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate medical officer of health, on Tuesday said there were eight new cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the U.K. with five linked to travel, while three are not yet known. She expressed concern that if those three are not eventually linked to travel, it would mean it is now “evidence of community spread,” which could result in the vaccine being unable to address the variant quick enough.

Ontario is reporting 2,903 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 222,023.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said eight new cases of the U.K. coronavirus variant were also detected. The U.K. variant, known as the new B.1.1.7 variant of SARS CoV-2, is believed to be more contagious, but it is not believed to cause more severe illness or resistance to vaccines.

There are now 14 confirmed cases of the U.K. variant so far in Ontario.

The province’s associate medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said out of the eight additional U.K. variant cases, five of them are confirmed to be connected to a recent traveller from the U.K. The other three cases currently are not connected to travel but Public Health Ontario is still investigating.

“It’s very likely we have more that we’re not aware of,” Yaffe said. “The variant is already here.”

Yaffe said the U.K. coronavirus variant is at least 56 per cent more transmissible.

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Tuesday’s case count marks a drop in new infections and is the lowest daily increase in cases reported since Jan. 1 when 2,476 new infections were recorded. Case counts have typically been just under or above 3,000 since then.

According to Tuesday’s provincial report, 837 cases were recorded in Toronto, 545 were in Peel Region, 249 in York Region, 246 in Niagara Region, 166 in Waterloo Region and 158 in Windsor-Essex County

All other public health units in Ontario reported under 150 new cases in the provincial report.

The death toll in the province has risen to 5,053, after 41 more deaths were reported.

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Ontario reported a record high in hospitalizations as there are 1,701 people hospitalized with COVID-19 (up by 138 from the previous day), with 385 patients in an intensive care unit (down by two) and 262 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (down by six).

The government said 44,802 tests were processed in the last 24 hours. There is currently a backlog of 43,154 tests awaiting results. A total of 8,592,816 tests have been completed since the start of the pandemic.

Test positivity — the percentage of tests that come back positive — for Tuesday was 7.8 per cent, up slightly from Monday’s percentage of 7.7, but down from one week ago at 9.4 per cent.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, the province has administered 133,553 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 6,046 people have been fully vaccinated with two doses.

Meanwhile, 186,829 Ontarians have recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which is 84 per cent of known cases. Resolved cases increased by 3,353 from the previous day.

There were more resolved cases on Tuesday than new cases.

Active cases in Ontario now stand at 30,141 — down from the previous day at 30,632, but up from last Tuesday at 25,840.

The seven-day average has now reached 3,523, down from yesterday at 3,555 but up from last week at 3,065.

Here is a breakdown of the total cases in Ontario by gender and age:

  • 108,383 people are male — an increase of 1,442 cases.
  • 112,285 people are female — an increase of 1,500 cases.
  • 29,018 people are 19 and under — an increase of 421 cases.
  • 80,973 people are 20 to 39 — an increase of 1,096 cases.
  • 63,979 people are 40 to 59 — an increase of 811 cases.
  • 32,044 people are 60 to 79 — an increase of 377 cases.
  • 15,961 people are 80 and over — an increase of 203 cases.
  • The province notes that not all cases have a reported age or gender.

The province notes that the number of cases publicly reported each day may not align with case counts reported by the local public health unit on a given day. Local public health units report when they were first notified of a case, which can be updated and changed as information becomes available. Data may also be pulled at different times.

Here is a breakdown of the total deaths related to COVID-19 by age:

  • Deaths reported in ages 19 and under: 1
  • Deaths reported in ages 20 to 39: 20
  • Deaths reported in ages 40 to 59: 197
  • Deaths reported in ages 60 to 79: 1,349
  • Deaths reported in ages 80 and older: 3,485
  • The province notes there may be a reporting delay for deaths.

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Ontario long-term care homes

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 2,995 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which is an increase of 15 deaths. Ten virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

There are 249 current outbreaks in homes, a decrease of three from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 1,553 active cases among long-term care residents and 1,244 active cases among staff — up by 51 cases and down by 16 cases, respectively, in the last day.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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