Ontario is reporting its highest number of people in hospitals with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

2,472 patients are being treated across the province, 193 more than Thursday.

Nineteen more people are in intensive care, bringing that total to 338.

11,899 new cases were recorded over the past 24 hours.

However, late last week the province announced that PCR tests would only be given to symptomatic people living or working in high-risk settings or part of a vulnerable population.

The general public has been told to avoid seeking a PCR test and if you are showing symptoms to assume you have the virus and to self-isolate.

There have been 42 new virus-related deaths but the Ministry of Health says that the higher number is because of a data catch up and the deaths happened over the last ten days.

In a statement released to media the Ministry is also in the process of evaluating how they report the deaths, “Due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, we are evaluating whether there is a need to update reporting to distinguish between causal and incidental deaths related to COVID-19, similar to the work that is underway on hospital reporting. For example, we have heard anecdotal evidence of a small number of individuals receiving palliative care in congregate care settings who regrettably passed with COVID but not necessarily because of the virus.”