Ontario reports more than 2,300 new COVID-19 cases as ICU numbers reach record high

Ontario health officials reported more than 2,300 new cases of COVID-19 as the province reached a record high number of people battling the disease in intensive care units.

The province confirmed 2,333 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. Daily case numbers have remained above the 2,000 mark for seven straight days.

With 52,532 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province says its COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 4.8 per cent after two days above the six per cent mark.

The latest Critical Care Services Ontario report, obtained by CTV News Toronto on Wednesday morning, shows there are currently 421 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) across the province with COVID-19.

The total marks the highest number of COVID-19 patients in critical care at one time since the pandemic began. The last time the ICU admission total surpassed 400 was in January during the height of the pandemic’s second wave.

Thirty-two people were admitted to ICUs in the last 24 hours, the government agency report stated on Wednesday, after a single-day record of 46 yesterday.

Health-care workers and experts have been warning the province that hospitals will become overwhelmed by the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

“We’re in a critical spot today,” Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, said on Wednesday.

“This is a train heading down the tracks and it’s going to take a while to slow it down. So even if we implement significant public health measures today, we could see ICU numbers hit 500, but if we don’t, that’s when things could really get bad.”

Warner said the province must focus on implementing public health restrictions as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues.

“We need to protect the health and safety of people, set economic interests aside for now, and get some control over what’s happening to all of us right now,” he said.

“We need to press the pause button … the pandemic is out of control, unless we regain control, so many more people will die.”

Health officials on Wednesday reported that 15 more people have died in Ontario due to COVID-19. In total, the province has seen 7,337 deaths related to the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. 

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