TORONTO -- Ontario health officials are reporting nearly 700 new cases of COVID-19 as the seven-day average continues to climb.

The province confirmed 694 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, which comes after officials reported case counts of 740 on Sunday, 835 on Saturday and 781 on Friday.

Ontario’s rolling seven-day average now stands at 696, up from 580 at this point last week. The province’s seven-day average has been increasing for weeks now.

With 18,561 tests processed in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health says the positivity rate in the province rose to 3.6 per cent for the first time since June 7.

Of the new infections reported Monday, 527 cases involved people who are either unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown. The remaining 167 infections involved people who are fully vaccinated.

The province recorded no new deaths on Monday, keeping the total death tally in the province at 9,498.

The province stated at least 226 people are in hospital due to COVID-19 and 160 people are in intensive care due to the disease, including 93 who are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

The province deemed 540 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Monday, bringing Ontario’s number of recovered patients up to 549,499.

Today’s report brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 565,025, including deaths and recoveries.

WHERE ARE THE NEW COVID-19 CASES IN ONTARIO

Most of the new cases were found in parts of the Greater Toronto Area. Officials reported 121 new cases in Toronto, 104 new cases in Peel Region, 98 new cases in York Region and 38 new cases in Durham Region.

Officials also reported 74 new cases each in Windsor-Essex and Hamilton and 44 new cases in Ottawa. All other regions reported fewer than 20 new cases of the disease.

Ontario is currently in Step 3 of its reopening plan. Health officials have said the province is putting the brakes on any further reopening ahead of a difficult fall and winter due to the Delta variant.

VARIANTS OF CONCERN IN ONTARIO UPDATE

The province detected several more cases of variants of concern on Monday. Officials are analyzing cases on an ongoing basis to detect mutations and variants of concerns.

The province confirmed an additional case of Alpha B.1.1.7 on Monday. The total case count for the strain now stands at 146,329.

Officials identified no new cases of the Beta B.1.351 variant or Gamma P.1 variant. The total case count in the province for those strains is 1,500 and 5,222 respectively. 

As for the Delta variant, also known as the B.1.617 variant, officials reported 569 new cases of the strain, which brings the total number in the province to 9,699.

MORE THAN 9.9M PEOPLE FULLY VACCINATED IN ONTARIO

The province reports that 9,923,606 people in Ontario have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and are now considered fully vaccinated against the disease.

In the last 24-hour period, officials said 17,767 doses of the vaccine were administered to Ontario residents.

Just over 20.7 million vaccine doses have been administered in the province since the rollout began last year.

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