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Ontario reports 1,403 COVID-19 hospitalizations, 47 new deaths as province set to ease rules Thursday

Ontario reported 1,403 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 47 more deaths on Wednesday as the province gears up to lift capacity limits on businesses that were imposed amid a surge in Omicron cases.

On Thursday, the province will lift all capacity limits for restaurants, bars, cinemas and gyms — a move that was initially set to take effect on Family Day.

Premier Doug Ford announced earlier this week that the COVID-19 reopening plan will be sped up as key health indicators continue to show improvement.

Chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, recently pointed to the drop in hospitalizations and intensive care admissions across the province as a positive signal that is allowing the government to proceed in easing public health rules.

Meanwhile, the province’s COVID-19 science advisory table’s online dashboard shows COVID-19 levels in wastewater data is steadily declining in all regions except for northern Ontario.

While wastewater data is not as exact as case counts, officials say tracking coronavirus infections in an area is helpful as it can monitor the trajectory of disease in a community as PCR testing remains limited in the province.

The COVID-19 science advisory table’s online dashboard shows COVID-19 levels in wastewater data is on a steady decline in all regions except for the North. (Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table)

Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations reported Wednesday is down from 1,550 the day before and down from 2,059 at the same time last week.

According to the Ministry of Health, 54 per cent of those people were admitted to hospital specifically for COVID-19 treatment while 46 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have since tested positive for the virus.

Of those, 364 people are in intensive care units. That is down from 384 the day before and 449 at the same time the week prior. Roughly 82 per cent were admitted to intensive care specifically for the virus, while the rest were admitted for other reasons.

The 47 additional deaths reported push the official death toll to 12,167.

About 85 per cent of Ontarians aged five and older have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and 89 per cent have at least one.

CBC/MS

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