Ontario is reporting the lowest COVID-19 test positivity in more than three months as hospital indicators continue to trend downwards.
Health officials are reporting a positivity rate of 8.4 per cent out of the 11,109 PCR tests conducted over the last 24-hour period. It marks the lowest positivity rate the province has seen since Feb. 22.
Officials are also reporting 1,082 hospital patients with the virus, down from 1,248 on Wednesday last week. There are 160 patients in the ICU, down slightly from the same day last week.
There were 775 new cases identified in the last day though officials estimate the actual case count could be up to ten times higher due to Ontario’s PCR testing restrictions.
The province reported 10 new deaths as a result of the virus.
Severe cases of COVID linked to higher air pollution
An extensive study of thousands of COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals has found links between the severity of their infections and the levels of common air pollutants they experience.
Chen Chen, an epidemiologist at the University of California, says the study suggests that the more long-term pollution people are exposed to, the worse a COVID-19 infection hits them.
The study has been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The study looked at more than 150,000 COVID-19 cases in Ontario patients and correlated their outcomes with levels of fine particles, ozone and nitrogen dioxide — the three components of smog.
Chen says the research shows that more severe reactions to the virus were associated with higher levels of long-term exposure to the contaminants.
She says it adds to the growing body of evidence that air pollution is what she calls a “silent killer.”
With files from The Canadian Press.