Is Ontario’s summertime COVID wave showing signs of plateauing? Most public health indicators showing little or no change over last week

A summertime wave of the COVID-19 pandemic may be in the early stages of plateauing, with the latest data showing little or no change in most public health indicators over the last week.

The Ministry of Health says that there are now 1,492 people in hospitals testing positive for COVID-19, compared to 1,483 at this time last week. Of those people, 138 are in intensive care.

The pace of the increase marks a significant departure from last Thursday when COVID-19 hospitalizations had risen more than 50 per cent week-over-week.

Other public health indicators are also showing signs of plateauing after weeks on the rise.

Over the last seven days, an average of 1,701 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus were confirmed through PCR testing each day, virtually unchanged from the previous seven-day period (1,697).

That’s compared to a nearly 18 per cent week-over-week increase last Thursday.

The positivity rate on PCR tests, meanwhile, actually dropped over the last week. The seven-day average is currently 14.24 per cent, compared to 15.12 per cent last Thursday.

The data is in line with wastewater surveillance performed by the Ontario Science Advisory Table, which is showing a slight reduction in viral activity in some parts of Ontario, including the Greater Toronto Area.

Members of the science advisory table, it should be noted, were among the first to sound the alarm about a summertime wave driven by the BA.5 subvariant back on July 6.

At the time, they said that hospitalizations would likely not rise as high as in previous waves, but they said that the increased patient volumes would still be difficult for an already strained healthcare system to handle.

The province added 15 net new deaths to its COVID-19 tally over the last week. The number of fatalities believed to be related to COVID-19 now stands at 13,637.