Ontario records 5,790 COVID-19 cases, smashing through record

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Published December 23, 2021 at 12:12 pm

TORONTO — Ontario reported an all-time high 5,790 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, smashing through the previous record of 4,812 set in April.

But one expert warned the numbers didn’t present a full picture of the situation in the province, as several public health units’ testing systems were swamped. 

“In all likelihood, you’d have to multiply these numbers at least three or four times to get a sense of what’s actually happening in the community,” said Dr. Fahad Razak, a member of the province’s science table and internist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

He said even in the best of times, testing was likely only picking up about half of all the province’s cases. 

The overwhelming number of cases — driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 — makes it more important than ever that Ontarians are careful about their contacts, he said.

“You have to assume that anyone you encounter has Omicron,” Razak said.

“It’s really about trying to protect ourselves as much as possible during the surge, and protecting the health-care system. That’s the most important goal.”

Health Minister Christine Elliott said 440 people were in hospital with COVID-19 Thursday, including 136 who are fully vaccinated.

She said 169 were in intensive care, 32 of whom are fully vaccinated. 

The province also recorded seven new deaths linked to the virus Thursday.

Provincial data shows 86.7 per cent of Ontarians five and older have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 81.2 per cent have two.

Elliott said 253,000 doses were administered over the previous 24 hours.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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