Ontario records 3,056 new cases of COVID-19 as vaccination plan faces roadblock

Ontario is tweaking its vaccination plan to deal with a looming shortage of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine as the province recorded 3,056 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

To add to the concern, there are now a record 420 COVID-19 patients in the province’s intensive care units, new data from Critical Care Services Ontario shows. Provincial data is slightly behind but shows 1,632 people are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus and at least 281 of those patients require a ventilator. 

The province also recorded 51 more deaths, a day after reporting a record 100 deaths Friday. In total, 5,340 Ontarians with COVID-19 have died since the start of the pandemic early last year.

The seven-day average of new cases declined to 3,218, and the provincewide test positivity rate was 4.6 per cent, with 73,875 tests completed.

There are 903 new COVID-19 cases in Toronto, 629 in Peel Region, 283 in York Region, 162 in Durham Region and 152 in Ottawa.

A stay-at-home order remains in effect.

Health Minister Christine Elliott continued to urge people to stay inside and away from others as much as possible. 

“Stay home, stay safe, save lives,” she said on Twitter.

Elliott said the province has now administered 189,090 vaccines in the province. However, the vaccine rollout will soon face another hurdle.

2nd vaccine dose delayed

The federal government announced Friday that Pfizer-BioNtech will deliver fewer vaccines to Canada in the near future as it reworks some of its production lines.

In Ontario, provincial health officials say the first phase of the vaccination plan will continue, but the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will now be pushed back from 21 to 27 days for those in long-term care or retirement homes, or for those caring for seniors.

Other recipients, such as health-care workers, will see their second dose pushed back to between 21 and 42 days after the first jab.

Those who received the Moderna vaccine will see no change, as the second dose of that vaccine is delivered 28 days after the first.

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