Ontario reports more than 16,000 new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations climb

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Another single-day record of new COVID-19 cases in the province.

Public Health reported 16,713 new infections and 15 more deaths on Friday.

Health experts say because of testing limits, the actual number of new cases is far higher.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 hit 1,144, the first time the count has topped 1,000 since late May. Of those patients, 205 are in intensive care, an increase of five.

The province says just over 75,000 tests were processed in the past day and the testing backlog is at more than 100,000. The positivity rate is nearly 30 per cent.

As of Friday, the province has changed its testing guidelines so publicly-funded PCR tests are only available to high-risk individuals who are symptomatic or at risk of severe illness from the virus. This includes hospital patients and staff, people who live, work or provide care at long-term care or other congregate settings, and people from or who work in Indigenous communities.

If you don’t fall under those categories and have symptoms of COVID-19, the province says you should assume you have the virus and follow the new self-isolation rules.

Vaccinated people including children under 12 who are ill with COVID-19 must self-isolate for a minimum of five days following the date when their symptoms started, instead of 10. Household contacts must also self-isolate.

Once the five days have ended and their symptoms have improved for 24 hours, they can end their isolation.

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