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Ontario reports 793 new COVID-19 cases, though ICU burden holds steady | CBC News

Ontario reported 793 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, which is the most on a single day in more than two months — though the burden on the province’s intensive care units remained largely stable.

Today’s count is a 32 per cent increase over the same time last week, when Ontario logged 598 infections. 

The seven-day average of daily cases climbed to 625, its highest point since Sept. 24. 

While infections continue to climb, the pace of that increase is slowing. Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates that, as of Nov. 15, cases were doubling every 43 days, or about every six weeks. That’s up from 34 days on Nov. 14, and every 30 days on Nov. 13. 

Near the beginning of last week, the doubling time was estimated at about 24 days, and the week earlier, it was every 17 days or so.

As of yesterday, there were 128 people being treated for COVID-related illnesses in ICUs, down slightly from 130 last Thursday. 

The overall burden on ICUs has hovered around a mean average of about 132 for weeks, despite rising case counts in much of the province. In its latest modelling report, however, the science table pointed out that ICU admissions are a lagging indicator, meaning as cases increase, eventually so too will the number of people requiring critical care.

That said, just how much ICU admissions could rise is somewhat difficult to predict, as nearly 86 per cent of eligible Ontarians have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine — drastically reducing their chance of severe illness and admission to hospital or ICU.

The science table said that, most likely, there could be about 200 COVID patients in ICU by the end of the year, a figure that the head of the Ontario Hospital Association has said can be fairly well managed by the health-care system.

Approval for Pfizer’s pediatric COVID vaccine

The developments in Ontario come as Health Canada officially approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for children ages five to 11, heralding it as more than 90 per cent effective against COVID-19.

In a statement, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said she is working with the federal government to finalize a shipment schedule, and that the province is “ready to begin distributing and administering doses as soon as they arrive.”

Families will be able to book appointments at mass vaccination clinics through the province’s online portal starting early next week, Elliott said.

Meanwhile, here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health’s daily provincial update:

Newly reported deaths: Four, pushing the official toll to 9,959.

Tests in the previous 24 hours: 30,515, with a 2.6 per cent positivity rate.

Active cases: 5,094, the most since Sept. 28.

Vaccinations: 13,897 doses were administered by public health units on Thursday. About 85.8 per cent of eligible Ontarians have had two shots.

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