The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is down more than eight percent week over week, as Ontario continues to show signs that it is emerging from the sixth wave of the pandemic.

The Health Ministry says there are now 1,555 people hospitalized with the disease caused by the new coronavirus, compared to 1,699 at this time last week and a sixth peak of 1,734 two weeks ago (April 27).

The number of COVID patients receiving intensive care treatment is also slowly declining.

The latest data suggests there are now just 188 COVID patients in the ICU, compared to 202 in the last week.

The slow decline in hospitalizations comes weeks after sewage surveillance data began pointing to reduced virus activity in the province.

Case counts and positivity rates have also been declining for weeks.

On Tuesday, Ontario reported 1,089 new cases detected through PCR testing, which was the lowest number in any 24-hour period in nearly two months, excluding April 20.

The positivity rate on those tests has also dropped to 13 percent in the past seven days after topping 18 percent in early April.

Speaking to CP24 on Tuesday morning, Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist, said the change is a good sign for a health system that has been under immense pressure for the past two years.

However, he cautioned that patient volumes remain high compared to the pre-pandemic norm.

“Even before COVID-19, our healthcare system was stretched thin. Every February or January, every flu season you’d hear the same headlines: drugs in the hallways, beds in the hallways, and not enough beds for patients, but those were predictable stressors,” he said. “Now you have COVID-19, which adds so much more stress to an already stretched health care system and then you factor in the incredible burnout of staff across all health care professions and people leaving or downsizing the profession en masse. , which exerts even more significant pressure. about the health system. So it’s a very challenging time and there are no quick fixes, no silver bullet. It is a complex problem that requires a multifaceted solution.”

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19 new deaths

While most public health indicators show signs of improvement, Ontario continues to report a large number of deaths, likely resulting from infections contracted when transmission levels were higher.

On Tuesday, the ministry added a further 19 new net deaths to its tally, bringing the total deaths since the start of the pandemic to 12,991.

A total of 219 new net deaths have been reported in the last two weeks, up from 167 during the previous two-week period.

Meanwhile, outbreaks in the handful of settings with widespread access to PCR testing are now tapering off after reaching a plateau over a period of weeks.

As of Tuesday there were 193 active outbreaks in nursing homes, 152 in nursing homes, 91 in hospitals and 18 in shelters.

The numbers used in this story are from the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19. Daily epidemiological summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what the province reports, because local units report figures at different times.

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