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Ontario reports 927 COVID-19 cases, 6 more deaths as new variant looms

Ontario is reporting 927 new COVID-19 cases on Friday—it’s the first time since September that the case count is higher than 900, and a moderate increase from the 793 new cases reported last Friday. The cumulative provincial case count now stands at 615,197, with 599,399 cases resolved.

The seven-day rolling average now sits at 711, an increase from the 625 reported this time last week.

Out of Friday’s new cases, 467 people were unvaccinated, 378 were fully vaccinated, 27 were partially vaccinated, and in 55 cases—the vaccination status was unknown.

Public health units that reported more than 50 new cases were: Toronto (129 cases), Simcoe Muskoka (73), Windsor-Essex (62), Peel Region (54), Ottawa (53), and York Region (52).

Six more deaths were also reported (one case occurred more than one month ago, but was just added to the data). The provincial death toll now sits at 9,991.

As of Friday morning, 22,865,543 doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Ontario.

Approximately 82.4% of people 5+ in Ontario have received at least one dose and 79.6% of people 5+ in Ontario are fully vaccinated.

Last Friday, Health Canada announced its approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 (whereas previously only kids aged 12 and up were eligible). To date, nearly 8,000 children aged 5 to 11 have now gotten their first vaccine dose.

As for hospitalizations — 268 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with 140 patients in ICU due to COVID-related critical illnesses and 86 patients in ICU on ventilators due to COVID-related critical illnesses.

According to Minister of Health Christine Elliott, out of the 140 people in ICU due to COVID-19—130 are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status and 10 are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, a new COVID-19 variant, known as B.1.1.529, was detected in South Africa. The variant contains more than 30 mutations to the spike protein, and, according to South African scientist Tulio de Oliveira, “seems to spread very quick.”

Although the variant has been detected in small numbers in South Africa, researchers are attempting to find out if the mutation is vaccine-resistant.  In the meantime, the U.K. has temporarily banned flights from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe.

Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario news and here for where you could get rapid COVID-19 tests in Toronto (including a new drive-thru option).

Article exclusive to Streets Of Toronto