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Record high number of Ontarians in hospital with COVID-19 as Omicron wave continues

Previous high of 2,360 hospitalizations came on April 20, 2021, during the height of the 3rd wave

Overall hospitalizations of Ontarians with COVID-19 has increased 116 per cent in the last week, according to Ministry of Health data.

Overall hospitalizations of Ontarians with COVID-19 has increased 116 per cent in the last week, according to Ministry of Health data.

Photo:  (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

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Ontario reported a pandemic high of 2,472 people with COVID-19 in hospital on Friday, as the number of admissions to intensive care increased again.

The previous high of 2,360 hospitalizations came on April 20, 2021, during the height of the third wave driven by the Delta variant. 

Friday's hospitalization figure is up from 2,279 yesterday and 1,144 at the same time last week — a 116 per cent jump.

There are also 338 patients with COVID-19 in ICUs, up from 205 last Friday. According to Critical Care Services Ontario, 57 more adults with the illness were admitted to intensive care on Thursday.

The number of people with COVID-19 in hospital each day includes the number in intensive care.

The number of people with COVID-19 in hospital each day includes the number in intensive care.

Photo: Ontario Ministry of Health/CBC

The province has said it will soon begin publishing data that differentiates between patients admitted to hospital due to COVID-19, and those who test positive for the virus while in hospital for unrelated reasons. The Ministry of Health told CBC News late Wednesday that data collection from hospitals for this initiative began last week and that the public reporting will likely start in the near future.

The Ministry of Health also reported this morning the deaths of 42 more people with COVID-19. In a statement, a ministry spokesperson said that the 42 deaths occurred over the span of 10 days and were included in today's figures due a data catch-up by the province. 

Alexandra Hilkene added that due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the ministry is re-evaluating whether its daily reports should distinguish between people who died because of COVID-19 and those who likely died of other factors but were infected with the virus at the time.

For example, we have heard anecdotal evidence of a small number of individuals receiving palliative care in congregate care settings who regrettably passed with COVID but not necessarily because of the virus, Hilkene said.

While any change in reporting will not change the fact that these individuals tragically lost their lives, it is important to be transparent and provide the public with as much context as we can.

10th straight day of positivity rates over 25%

The province also logged at least 11,899 new cases of COVID-19 this morning. However, as Ontario recently changed its guidelines (new window) to significantly limit who qualifies for a PCR test, official case totals are now said to be a drastic undercount of the actual number of cases in the province.

Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates only one in five cases are currently being confirmed by the province's testing regime.

For the 61,137 tests that were completed, Public Health Ontario reported a positivity rate of 26.6 per cent. It is the 10th straight day positivity rates have been higher than 25 per cent.

More than 100,000 more test samples are in the backlog waiting to be completed.

Meanwhile, Public Health Ontario is reporting record numbers of COVID-19 outbreaks in multiple settings on Friday. There are 478 active seniors' home outbreak, including in 312 of the province's roughly 630 long-term care homes and 166 in retirement homes. Moreover, 138 hospitals are currently dealing with outbreaks. 

CBC News

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