The seventh wave of COVID-19 in Ontario, caused by the Omicron BA.5 subvariant, is driving up cases after a near eight-week decline.
Early indicators of the virus' spread in the province are trending upwards.
The 56,642 tests completed over the last week produced an 11.2 per cent positivity rate (up from 8.4 per cent last week), and showed a 20 per cent increase in the number of cases among those eligible for testing. Test positivity rates have ranged from 10.7 to 13.5 per cent per day this week.
There were 6,499 new cases confirmed this week, up from 5,420 cases last week.
Between June 26 and July 2, testing confirmed between 514 and 1,241 new cases per day.
There are currently 712 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and about 56 per cent of them were admitted to hospital for reasons other than COVID-19, but still test positive. That’s an increase of about 136 more hospitalized patients compared to last week.
There are 110 COVID patients in intensive care units, including 41 patients on ventilators.
Hospitalizations have remained steady through the month of June with between 16 and 44 cases hospitalized per day between June 2 and July 2.
Over the last 30 days, there have been between zero and nine deaths per day that were caused by COVID, or the virus was a contributing factor.
Earlier this week, the Ontario COVID-19 Advisory Table shared via Twitter that wastewater signals, test positivity rates and hospitalizations caused by the virus are on the rise.
Canadian Press reported the advisory table’s scientific director, Dr. Fahad Razak, said the current wave is caused by the BA.5 strain, a subvariant of Omicron, which doesn’t appear to cause more severe illness, but could cause a large number of infections.
He recommended booster vaccine shots, meeting outdoors, and wearing masks in crowded public spaces.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, also confirmed the province is in the seventh wave of COVID-19, which is being driven by the Omicron BA.5 subvariant.
There are 140 ongoing outbreaks in congregate care settings such as long-term care and retirement homes and hospitals in Ontario. These outbreaks are attributed to 660 new cases between June 26 and July 2. There are 27 outbreaks in congregate living facilities like shelters, jails, and group homes.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the province has confirmed 1,333,902 cases of COVID, and 13,454 deaths.
About 50 per cent of the population of Ontario has had at least three doses of a COVID vaccine, and nearly 83 per cent has had at least two doses.