TORONTO – Health officials in Ontario are reporting 854 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, as well as two additional deaths linked to the disease.

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The seven-day average for the number of cases reported in the province is now 729. A week ago, the number was 635 and two weeks ago it was 563.

On Friday, Ontario saw 927 new cases of the novel coronavirus, marking the highest single-day case count since September 4, when the province had 944 infections.

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Saturday’s report comes a day after Canada announced it would ban the entry of foreign nationals who had traveled from southern Africa in the past two weeks. The decision began with a declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO), which designated B.1.1.529 as a new variant of the concern as “Omicron”.

The variant, which was first reported from South Africa on 24 November, contains a “large number of mutations”, some of which are “related,” according to the WHO.

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Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said that to date, there has been no indication of the presence of the variant in Canada. However, Tam said it is “very difficult” to keep the mutation out of Canada “entirely”.

Hours before the announcement, Premier Doug Ford publicly called on Ottawa to ban all flights and passengers linked to the newly discovered variant, including those from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Includes Eswatini.

Of the cases reported today, 451 involve unvaccinated individuals, 349 include those who have been fully vaccinated, 23 have been partially vaccinated, and 31 have been found in those Those who have no known vaccination status.

Right now, the hospital has 254 patients with COVID-19, including 83 unvaccinated patients, 48 ​​fully vaccinated patients and eight partially vaccinated patients. The vaccination status of the remaining 115 patients is unknown.

A total of 134 ICU admissions for COVID-19, 60 of them patients have not been vaccinated, 11 have been fully vaccinated, and three have been partially vaccinated. No vaccination information was provided for the remaining 60 patients.

With 31,444 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province said its COVID-19 positivity rate stood at 3 per cent.

Since the start of the pandemic, Ontario has recorded 616,051 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 599,979 recoveries and 9,993 deaths – two of which were recorded in the past 24 hours.

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

The majority of cases reported by the province on Saturday were found in Simcoe Muskoka (107), Toronto (97), and Windsor-Essex (82).

Other areas with relatively high case numbers reported today include the York area (48), the Peel area (47), Ottawa (44), Sudbury (43), Algoma (38), and Kingston (33).

Update on COVID-19 Vaccination

Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a tweet published on Saturday that about 89.4 percent of all Ontario people over the age of 12 have had a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

About 86.3 percent have had two doses and are considered fully vaccinated.

During the entire province’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, 22,895,217 needles have been injected throughout Ontario.

Backstory:

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

Health experts have said that the number of identified COVID-19 infections in fully vaccinated individuals will naturally increase as more people get both their shots.