Ontario reports 2,578 new COVID-19 cases, fewest since early January

Ontario reported 2,578 additional cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as the number of patients with the illness who required a ventilator to breathe climbed above 300 for the first time since the pandemic began.

The new cases in today’s update are the fewest logged on a single day in about two and a half weeks. They include 815 in Toronto, 507 in Peel Region, 151 in both York and Niagara regions, and 121 in Hamilton.

The additional infections come as the province’s labs processed just 40, 301 test samples for the novel coronavirus — tens of thousands fewer than there is capacity for in the system — and reported a test positivity rate of 6.6 per cent.

The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 3,035. It reached a high of 3,555 on January 11. 

There were 1,571 total patients with COVID-19 in Ontario’s hospitals. Of those, 394 were being treated in intensive care units and 303 were on ventilators.

Vaccine clinic opens at Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Meanwhile, a clinic dedicated to administering COVID-19 vaccines opened in a Toronto convention centre today.

City officials said the “proof-of-concept” clinic will help Ontario’s Ministry of Health test and adjust the setup of immunization clinics in non-hospital settings.

The clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which is in the downtown core, aims to vaccinate 250 people per day, but the city noted that is entirely dependent upon vaccine supply.

Pfizer-BioNTech, which manufactures one of the two Health Canada-approved vaccines, announced last week that it’s temporarily delaying international shipments of the shots while it upgrades production facilities in Europe.

The Ontario government has said that will affect the province’s vaccine distribution plan, and some people will see their booster shots delayed by several weeks.

Officials in Hamilton, meanwhile, said the province has directed it to temporarily cease administering the first dose of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to everyone except residents, staff and essential caregivers at long-term care homes and retirement facilities.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott did not say how many regions of the province had received that directive.

More to come.

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