COVID-19: The week in review (July 13-17)

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Jul 17, 2020

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This article was last updated at 3:25 p.m.

TVO.org reporters and editors are tracking stories about the coronavirus pandemic in all regions of the province. Here's what Ontarians need to know. 

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 111 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 37,274 since the pandemic began; 108 people are in hospital, 30 of them in intensive care and 21 on ventilators. To date, 2,746 people have died. 
  • According to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 18 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 36 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 62 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 1,839 confirmed resident deaths and seven confirmed staff deaths.

  • The Ontario Medication Association is urging the provincial government "to rethink opening indoor bars."

  • The Ministry of Long-Term Care announced today that Humber River Hospital has been appointed as interim manager at Villa Colombo in North York. "Despite receiving support and advice from Humber River Hospital for weeks, Villa Colombo has been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19," a press release states. "Humber River Hospital will now manage care in the home along with the team at Villa Colombo and fill the executive director role on a temporary basis."

  • The Toronto Star is reporting that, as of July 21, masks will be mandatory on GO Transit and the UP Express.

  • Premier Doug Ford today unveiled a made-in-Ontario Intellectual Property Action Plan "to help ensure the tremendous social and economic benefits of taxpayer-funded research and innovation stays right here in the province." The government also announced the second round of research projects that are being supported through the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday that the federal government will provide provinces and territories with $19 billion to help support a restart of the economy.

  • The Ontario government announced yesterday that it will be extending the expiry period of most marriage licences that have not been used as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

  • The Ontario government has extended most emergency orders currently in force until July 29. "Keeping the emergency orders in place provides the government with the necessary flexibility to ensure the protection of vulnerable populations, such as seniors, while continuing to implement its Framework for Reopening the Province with many regions entering Stage 3 on Friday," a press release states.

  • On July 15, the Ontario government announced "a redesigned funding model that will lead to the building of additional, modern long-term care homes providing seniors with the quality care they deserve." Over the next five years, the government will invest $1.75 billion in long-term-care homes. It will also update design standards to ensure that new and renovate homes are outfitted with air conditioning.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until August 21.

  • The Correctional Service of Canada announced yesterday that inmate visits have "begun to gradually resume across the country with the first sites having re-opened on July 9, 2020."

  • Ontario officials don't know how many home-care workers or their clients have come down with COVID-19, reports TVO.org's southwestern reporter, Mary Baxter. Recipients of home and community-care services are also concerned about the risks their health-care workers present in exposing them to the virus, TVO.org reports.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to today's report, there have been 81 new cases in Toronto since Wednesday, for a total of 15,037 cases since the pandemic began; 139 of them are in hospital and 29 in intensive care. To date, there have been 173 institutional outbreaks. In total, 1,133 people have died.

  • Premier Doug Ford said yesterday that the province supports a plan that would see the Blue Jays play home games at the Rogers Centre this summer, CP24 reports.

  • Toronto mayor John Tory announced on July 15 that the city's community centres, recreation centres, and indoor pools will reopen on July 20. Riverdale Farm, High Park Zoo and the city’s conservatories opened on July 14

  • The City of Toronto reported on July 14 that two employees with the Parks, Forestry & Recreation Division have tested positive for COVID-19. "Exposure to the virus occurred between July 6 and 10 and did not occur in the workplace," a press release states

  • On July 13, Toronto launched DriveInTO, "which will allow for temporary drive-in entertainment experiences across Toronto this summer," a press release states. "From films to concerts to sports broadcasts, drive-in entertainment will offer an opportunity for Torontonians to re-engage with their city."

  • Researchers in a McMaster University lab are studying COVID-19 at the genetic level to learn more about the virus and how it spreads. As the Canadian Press reports, Andrew McArthur, director of the biomedical discovery and commercialization program, says this research will help show the flaws in public-health measures we took early on and may help fight an upcoming second wave of infection. In April, the federal government put $40 million into genetic research on COVID-19.

  • Niagara is one of several regions waiting to move into Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan. The St. Catharines Standard reports that, despite repeated requests, the Ontario health ministry will not share what data it says it uses to determine which regions advance.

  • A mandatory mask bylaw, passed by council on Monday, takes effect in St. Catharines today. It requires the owners and operators of indoor public spaces to enforce the wearing of face coverings by patrons. There will be exceptions for people who cannot wear masks for reasons of age, health, and ability, and instances in which people can remove their masks (for example, to eat or drink). As previously reported by TVO.org, the mayor of St. Catharines criticized Niagara's public-health unit for not making masks mandatory earlier. Niagara-on-the-Lake's council has also approved a mandatory mask bylaw. Niagara-on-the-Lake Advance reports that it will come into effect July 23.

  • St. Catharines city council also passed a motion on Monday to temporarily disallow non-Niagara residents from using its beaches as of Saturday. The Standard reports that this is an attempt to deal with overcrowding. Beachgoers over the age of 18 will have to show ID to security staff if asked. Fort Erie and Innisfil have also enacted locals-only policies.  The Port Colborne Leader reports that such a measure was considered but denied in Port Colborne; officials said it would be illegal to ban non-residents from their beaches.

  • TVO.org's Hamilton-Niagara reporter, Justin Chandler, speaks with Michael Jobity, a recent McMaster University engineering grad, about creativity, a robotic guitar-tuning stand he co-invented — and what it’s like to have so much coming to fruition during a time of global uncertainty.

Indigenous

  • Nipissing First Nation has announced that parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities will be open as of July 17.

  • MPP Sol Mamakwa, NDP leader Andrea Horwath, and Deputy Leader John Vanthof are calling for more resources for northern Ontario schools, reports Dryden Now. Mamakwa says that a lack of internet access and mandatory online courses are a recipe for failure. 

  • Six Nations of the Grand River’s Emergency Control Group is reminding the community of the increased risk COVID-19 poses to First Nations as Ontario sets to ease public-health restrictions this weekend. Six Nations of the Grand River will remain in Stage 2. 

  • Nishinawbe Aski Nation’s COVID-19 Task Team is urging communities to ensure they have a pandemic plan in place, that their response teams continue to meet regularly, and that all community members understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is a long-term issue that may require a response over one to two years.

  • Effective July 20, emergency food support will be provided through Six Nations health services on Mondays and Wednesdays, in Six Nations of the Grand River community.  

Northern

  • The Porcupine Health Unit will mandate face coverings in public indoor spaces as of July 23.

  • Timiskaming has mandated face coverings in public indoor spaces.

  • The City of Thunder Bay announced yesterday that, as of Monday, paid parking at metered spaces will return and that front boarding and fares will again be in effect on transit. It also noted that Pioneer Ridge Long-Term-Care Home and Jasper Supportive Housing will begin a staged approach to reopening to visitors.
  • The City of Greater Sudbury announced Wednesday that restrictions on the use of playgrounds and play structures will no longer be in effect as of today. The six major library branches are now preparing for their reopening, which will occur in early August. 
  • As of July 15, all patients and visitors are required to wear masks or face coverings at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
  • As of today, Algoma Health unit has made face coverings mandatory in indoor public spaces and on public transit.

  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has announced that masks or face coverings will be required in indoor public places as of July 24.

Eastern

  • On July 15, Ottawa city council approved a temporary bylaw that makes masks mandatory in indoor public spaces. 
  • Starting today, playgrounds in Kingston parks will begin to reopen as the city enters Stage 3. 
  • Playgrounds in Peterborough will be open as of today. City hall will reopen to the public in early August, the Evinrude Centre will reopen for limited use on August 3, and the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre is expected to reopen on July 27. Starting July 28, the library will expand its curbside-pickup service at the main branch at 345 Aylmer Street.
  • As of yesterday, there had been no new cases in Peterborough for 26 days, the Peterborough Examiner reports.

Southwestern

  • On Monday, London city council, already divided on the issue of whether to require people to wear masks in indoor public spaces, will ask Middlesex-London's medical officer of health to weigh in, the London Free Press reports.

  • A COVID-19 field hospital set up in one of the Western Fair buildings in London will remain until the fall in case there is a second wave, the London Free Press reports.

  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's dental clinic is opening after having been closed for four months because of COVID-19, the Windsor Star reports.

  • Nurses who cross the border to work in Michigan have been facing stigma back in Windsor when they try to access health-care services because of fears they may be spreading COVID-19, the researcher behind a new University of Windsor study tells the Windsor Star.

  • Economic developers in the Windsor area see a new opportunity to recruit residents to the region, as the COVID-19 pandemic is causing employers and their workers to think differently about remote work, the Windsor Star reports.

  • The television cameras are returning to Cambridge as Ontario's film industry gears up for reopening, CBC reports.

  • Last week, as many as 70 people from Aylmer's Mennonite community who attended the funeral of a local resident may have been exposed to COVID-19, the St. Thomas Times-Journal reports.

  • Southwestern Public Health has adjusted an order that is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the region's migrant-worker community to allow farm workers to work at more than one employer, as long as they are working on their own, the St. Thomas Times-Journal reports.

  • Stratford reopens its playgrounds today, the Stratford Beacon Herald reports.

  • More than a third of workers in Grey, Bruce, Huron, and Perth counties are unemployed or underutilized because of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, according to Statistics Canada, the Owen Sound Sun Times reports.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown has delayed work on the demolition of a former coal-fired generation plant on the shores of the St. Clair River near Courtright, in Lambton County, the Sarnia Observer reports.

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