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Ontario now providing vaccination status for new COVID cases

In a change announced today, the province's daily updates will be indicating whether people are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated

A new data addition to Ontario's COVID-19 updates is shedding light on the vaccination status of people with COVID-19.

The province's daily reports now include the vaccination status of new cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions. 

Going forward, the province will provide a breakdown of the new cases, indicating how many are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

According to Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for the minister of health, this shift reflects the province's focus on hospitalizations and vaccinations as the COVID pandemic continues.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, wrote an op-ed piece noting he expects a rise in cases as fall approaches and people go indoors. 

"This is not a cause for panic," he wrote. "Case rates will fluctuate, but thanks to protection offered by vaccines, growing case counts will not have the same meaning as during previous waves of the pandemic." 

The doctor reiterated the message that a vaccinated individual should experience milder symptoms and less severe impacts. 

He wants to keep a close eye on hospitalization and ICU admissions among the unvaccinated as a "key indicator" of the effectiveness of the province's response. 

Today, Public Health Ontario reported 321 new cases, with 100 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and 79 patients in intensive care units positive for COVID-19. 

The vaccination status update provided today has different totals – 399 new cases, 58 hospitalized (non-ICU), and 16 COVID patients in the ICU. 

According to Hikene, the vaccination status numbers may not match the daily COVID case reports because of missing health card information. She said reporting should improve over time.

The vaccination breakdown is as follows: 

  • New cases include 267 unvaccinated, 54 partially vaccinated, and 78 fully vaccinated. 
  • Hospitalized (non-ICU) cases include 28 unvaccinated, 20 partially vaccinated, and 13 fully vaccinated.
  • ICU cases include nine unvaccinated, four partially vaccinated, and three fully vaccinated. 

A case confirmed in a vaccinated individual 14 or more days following the receipt of the second dose of vaccine is called a breakthrough case. 

According to regular reporting by Public Health Ontario, there were 1,988 breakthrough cases in the province as of July 24, 2021, which is about 0.5 per cent of cases.

"While breakthrough cases will still occur in individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, getting vaccinated provides strong protection against COVID-19," stated Hikene in an email. "As such, we felt it was important to include data linking vaccination status with COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions, as well as case counts." 

As of Aug. 10, 2021, the province reports 71 per cent of the total population of Ontario has at least one dose of a COVID vaccine and 63.1 per cent has two doses.

Correction: A previous version of the story incorrectly quoted the percentage of breakthrough cases compared to the total cases reported in the province since December. We apologize for the error.