Ontario reported Monday there were 615 patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units, as the cumulative number of cases of the illness throughout the pandemic in the province surpassed one million.
There have been 1,001,455 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario since the first was officially confirmed on Jan. 25, 2020, according to the Ministry of Health.
Slightly more than 92 per cent of those infections are considered resolved, while at least 65,504 are active. Because the province restricted PCR testing to only the most high risk instances and settings earlier this month, it is impossible to say with certainty how many cases are actually ongoing.
Of the 615 patients in ICUs, 372 — or just more than 60 per cent — needed the help of a ventilator to breathe, the health ministry said.
At the time of publication, the province had not yet updated its ICU data to include how many of those patients were admitted because of COVID-19, and how many tested while in critical care for other reasons.
The Ministry of Health also reported the deaths of 37 more people with COVID-19, pushing the official toll to 11,004.
337 schools with absence rates above 30%
Also this morning, the Ministry of Education started publishing new data on staff and student absences in schools.
The web page includes a searchable database that families can use to see combined absence rates for schools in their area.
Most of the province’s students returned to schools for in-person classes last Monday, after a two-week period of virtual learning after the winter break that was implemented as COVID-19 cases linked to the Omicron variant surged at unprecedented levels.
Boards are no longer required to share information about COVID-19 infections in schools. Rather, families will be notified when the combined staff and student absence rate tops 30 per cent, regardless of whether the absences are specifically linked to the virus.
Across Ontario, 337 schools reported absence rates of 30 per cent or higher on Friday, the first day for which the data was collected. That’s almost one-tenth of the 3,453 schools for which data was available. There are about 4,844 publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools in the province.
The 30 per cent threshold is considered to be a high rate of absence, possibly indicating a high rate of spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 among the school community.
Another 262 schools reported absence rates of 25 to 29 per cent.