One new COVID-related death, hospitalizations rise in northeastern Ontario
Another person has died from COVID-19, the Porcupine Health Unit said Thursday, marking the 32nd pandemic-related death in the health unit's coverage area.
It's the second death in two days, after Algoma Public Health reported its 21st fatality Wednesday. In total, seven deaths have been reported in the area this week, following five deaths in Greater Sudbury reported Monday.
Sudbury's health unit also reported two new outbreaks Thursday, both at retirement homes: Golden Years Retirement Home and Southwind Retirement Home.
Sudbury has the most in hospital with the disease – 38 – including four in ICU. They're followed by Sault Ste. Marie, which has nine, Timiskaming with five and North Bay/Parry Sound with three.
Overall, there are 2,834 active cases of COVID-19 in northeastern Ontario as of 5 p.m. Thursday, a drop of 46 cases in the last 24 hours. Public Health Sudbury & Districts has the highest number of active cases, at 983, followed by Porcupine at 861.
All health units in the northeast now caution that active cases aren't an accurate measure of how many actual cases there are in the area.
"Due to changes in the availability of testing, driven by increasing COVID-19 cases related to the Omicron variant, case counts in our current data reports are an underestimate of the true number of individuals with COVID-19 in Ontario," the Porcupine Health Unit said.
"These case numbers are an underestimation of the true number of COVID-19 cases in the community, due to changes in testing eligibility that took effect on Dec. 31," added the Timiskaming Health Unit.
"PCR testing at assessment centres is now limited to the most vulnerable people and people in highest risk settings."
The North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit now reports its numbers as only reflecting "individuals who are eligible for PCR testing."