QUITO, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador registered 763 new cases of infection and six more deaths from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the last 24 hours, raising the caseload to 219,148 and the death toll to 9,583, the Ministry of Public Health reported on Friday.
According to the ministry's daily pandemic report, another 4,582 deaths were likely caused by COVID-19.
The north-central province of Pichincha has the biggest outbreak, with 77,354 cases (178 in the last 24 hours), while the capital Quito is the hardest hit city, with 71,347 cases (163 in the past 24 hours).
A sustained increase in infections in Quito has overrun Intensive Care Units (ICU) at public hospitals, according to health authorities.
Quito's Health Secretary Ximena Abarca said in an interview with local radio on Friday that the rise "was foreseeable" following the Christmas and New Year festivities.
"The most worrying thing for us is the use of ICU beds ... the reports we have are that we exceed 95 percent occupancy," said Abarca, adding 15 patients are currently on a waiting list for an ICU bed.
Ecuador plans to vaccinate the general population starting in March, when it expects to receive vaccines.