Provincial health officials are reporting 1,300 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, a notable increase from daily case counts logged throughout the week.

Today marks the highest single-day case count since Feb. 7 when 1,489 new cases were reported.

Ontario logged 1,076 cases on Friday, 945 on Thursday, 1,072 on Wednesday and 1,022 on Tuesday. But, the province has said that case counts from many days throughout this week were an “underestimate” as Toronto Public Health has under-reported cases due to ongoing data migration.

Provincial health officials are also reporting 19 more deaths due to COVID-19 infection. Three of those fatalities are among long-term care home residents.

According to the province’s latest epidemiological summary, there are currently 186 long-term care homes and 108 retirement homes with an active outbreak of COVID-19 across the province.

To date, 3,780 long-term care home residents have died from the novel coronavirus, making up about 57 per cent of all virus-related deaths in Ontario.

Since the pandemic began last March, 6,651 people across the province have died from COVID-19 infection.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases now stands at 1,167, down from 1,479 a week ago.

Most of the new cases continue to be in hot spots in the Greater Toronto Area.

“Locally, there are 433 new cases in Toronto, 253 in Peel and 116 in York Region,” Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted.

Toronto and Peel Region saw a day-over-day increase in cases, while infections dropped by six in York Region.

Elsewhere in the GTA, Halton Region logged 38 new cases and Durham Region reported 47 new infections.

Provincial health officials said 1,434 more people recovered from the virus on Saturday, resulting in 12,343 active cases across the province.

According to the Ministry of Health, the province has confirmed 22 more cases of the COVID-19 variant that first originated in the United Kingdom. There are nearly 300 lab-confirmed cases of the U.K. variant, also known as B.1.1.7, in the province.

Provincial health officials also logged the one and only lab-confirmed case of the P.1 variant, which first emerged in Brazil. This variant was identified in a Toronto resident almost a week ago.

No new cases of the variant first identified in South Africa, B.1.351, have been identified on Saturday. There are currently three lab-confirmed cases of this variant in the province.

Ontario labs processed more than 58,700 tests in the past 24-hour span, down from more than 62,000 a day ago.

The province’s positivity rate is now 2.3 per cent, relatively unchanged from 2.2 per cent on Friday, according to the Ministry of Health.

COVID-19 hospitalizations rose slightly on Saturday compared to a day ago.

According to the Ministry of Health, 786 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 infection across the province, up from 763 on Friday.

Of those hospitalized, 287 are in intensive care units and 203 are breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Since the virus first emerged in the province over a year ago, there have been nearly 285,000 lab-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 265,893 recoveries.

More than 164,000 people vaccinated

In the past 24-hour span, provincial health officials have vaccinated more than 14,500 people with COVID-19 vaccines.

As of 8 p.m. on Friday, nearly 457,000 doses of both the approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the province. Two doses of a vaccine administered a few weeks apart are required for full immunization.

To date, 164,307 people have been fully vaccinated in Ontario.

Stay-at-home order to be lifted in 27 public health units on Tuesday

The latest numbers come ahead of 27 more public health regions across Ontario re-entering the government’s COVID-19 response framework on Tuesday.

Yesterday, the Ford government announced that the provincewide stay-at-home order, which was implemented on Jan. 14, will be lifted in these regions.

Halton Region, Durham Region and Hamilton will be entering the red “control” level of the provincial framework, which allows non-essential businesses, restaurants and gyms to reopen under strict capacity limits.

Niagara is the only region that will be entering the most restrictive grey “lockdown” level. In that category, retail businesses are allowed to reopen with strict capacity limits but most other services have to remain closed.

Meanwhile, the other 15 regions will be moving into the less restrictive orange, yellow and green categories.

The province has said that the stay-at-home order will not be lifted for COVID-19 hot spots Toronto, Peel Region and York Region until Feb. 22 at the earliest. But that date could change depending on COVID-19 transmission.

On Wednesday, three public health units, including Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, Renfrew County and District Health Unit moved into the most lenient green “prevent” category of the framework.

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.

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