COVID-19 hospitalizations virtually unchanged from last week as Ontario slowly exits sixth wave

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is virtually unchanged from a week earlier, as Ontario’s healthcare system remains under strain despite a notable decline in virus activity in the community.

Latest data from the Ministry of Health suggests 1,662 people are now hospitalized with COVID-19, down from 1,679 at this time last week and a sixth wave peak of 1,734 on April 27.

The number of patients treated in intensive care also remains stable. As of Friday, there were 210 COVID patients in the Ontario ICU, one more than around this time last week. About half of those patients (99) are currently breathing using a ventilator.

At the height of the first Omicron wave in January, more than 4,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 and it took weeks for the number of patients to drop.

“Hospitalization, while it seems they are starting to decline, took a really long time,” warned infectious disease specialist Dr. Susy Hota during an interview with CP24 on Friday morning. “We have more or less stabilized at about 1,700 patients in hospitals in Ontario with COVID and that’s a lot. It really kind of adds to the stress of everything. Fortunately, it seems that the wave has already started to subside in all regions within the province. But there is still a lot of recovery to be done in the hospitals in the coming weeks and months.”

Wastewater monitoring is currently pointing to a reduction in virus activity in all parts of Ontario, although the decline has only just begun in the GTA, where transmission remains around its sixth wave peak.

Meanwhile, other public health indicators, such as censuses and positivity numbers, are increasingly pointing to an exit from the sixth wave of the pandemic.

According to the latest data, an additional 2,418 cases have been detected through PCR testing in the past 24 hours, down from 2,760 during the same one-day period last week and 4,668 on April 22.

The positivity rate over the past seven days has also fallen week on week and now stands at 13.8 percent. Last Friday it was 14.8 percent and the Friday before 18 percent.

“I think it’s reassuring that in all regions, or all six types of areas where we do wastewater monitoring, we see that trend, everything is going backwards right now,” Hota told CP24. “While in the past we’ve seen it decrease in some regions and others are stable or still increasing, now it seems that every single group is decreasing. So I think that’s a very positive sign. It doesn’t mean we drop all measures and, you know, let loose, but I think it’s important to know that we’re on the right track. Things are coming down and we should get some relief for the foreseeable future.”

17 new deaths

Ontario continues to report a high number of COVID-19 deaths as fatalities are considered the most lagging indicator.

On Friday, it confirmed a further 17 net new deaths, bringing the total number of people who have died after contracting COVID-19 in the past two years to 12,938.

The number of active outbreaks in vulnerable environments also remains near the sixth wave peak reached last week.

On Friday, there were a total of 214 active outbreaks in care homes and a further 166 in retirement homes. Last week around this time, there were 221 active outbreaks in care homes and another 187 in retirement homes.

The numbers used in this story can be found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s Daily Epidemiological Summary of COVID-19. The number of cases for each city or region may differ slightly from what the province reports because local units report figures at different times.

Leave a Comment