This article was last updated at 3:07 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.
- Per today's government report, there are 116 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 36,464 since the pandemic began; 117 people are in hospital, 34 of them in intensive care and 24 on ventilators. To date, 2,710 people have died.
According to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 22 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 137 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 204 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 1,833 confirmed resident deaths and seven confirmed staff deaths.
The government today announced the Ontario Made program from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, which will "promote the many world-class goods that are made across the province by helping consumers easily identify, access and purchase local products," a press release states. "Over the past few months, plants and factories across the province retooled their operations to provide the front lines with the essential equipment needed in the fight against COVID-19, including PPE," said Vic Fedeli, the minister of economic development, job creation and trade. "As the province reopens and the economy recovers, it is now more important than ever to support and promote Ontario's world-class manufacturing sector and get people back to work. By supporting Ontario manufacturing, consumers are buying quality, locally made products."
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The Ontario government yesterday extended until July 22 all emergency orders currently in force made under s.7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. "The extension was made to ensure the province maintains the necessary flexibility to protect public health and safety as more businesses reopen and people go back to work," a press release states.
On July 8, the province introduced the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, "proposed legislation that lays the foundation to restart jobs and development, strengthen communities, and create opportunity for people in every region of the province."
The governments of Canada and Ontario will be enhancing AgriInsurance coverage for the 2020 growing season "to include labour shortages due to COVID-19."
On Tuesday, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones introduced Bill 195, the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, in the legislature. "The bill would give the government the power to continue a number of the emergency orders it’s used since the pandemic began even after the state of emergency ends," writes TVO.org's John Michael McGrath.
The current Canada-U.S. border closure is set to expire on July 21. Health minister and Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Patty Hajdu said she's "working with [her] colleagues to ensure we continue to have the suspension of non-essential travel over the [US] border," TBNewswatch reports.
In a letter dated July 3, U.S. lawmakers urged both Canada and the United States to “immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border,” as well as an interim plan to ease restrictions for family members and property owners.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
According to today's report, there have been a total of 14,777 cases since the pandemic began; 155 of them are in hospital and 31 in intensive care. To date, there have been 172 institutional outbreaks. In total, 1,117 people have died.
- Toronto Public Health today released new individual-level data on the city’s Open Data platform: "The information includes non-identifiable COVID-19 case data and includes many important variables to help understanding the outbreak, including details on when an individual became ill, their infection source, outcome, hospitalization, age group, gender and neighbourhood," a press release states. "It is intended to help people to examine the pandemic’s trends over time."
- CP24 is reporting that Toronto District School Board trustees "are asking for the province to reconsider its back-to-school plan, which they say will leave many families to choose between educating their children and their jobs."
Toronto's mandatory mask or face-covering bylaw came into effect on July 7.
The City of Toronto announced yesterday that parking restrictions will be in place at Marie Curtis Park, Humber Bay West Park, and Cherry Beach starting at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Ontario's Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority says that Hamilton's Rossyln Retirement Residence allowed a staff person to work while exhibiting symptoms. As the Hamilton Spectator reports, the authority released a report that also says Rosslyn staff had no training on how to use personal protective equipment or to increase cleaning during the pandemic. The residence was evacuated on May 15 but, since then, 16 of 66 residents have died and 64 tested positive, along with 22 staff. That makes it the site of Hamilton's deadliest COVID-19 outbreak.
St. Catharines city council will consider enacting a mandatory mask law at its July 13 meeting. Such a law would make wearing masks a requirement in indoor public spaces. As he previously told TVO.org, Mayor Walter Sendzik believes the Niagara Region's public health unit should have made masks mandatory already and is concerned that tourists coming into Niagara could increase transmission within the area. The St. Catharines Standard reports that Niagara's medical officer of health, Mustafa Hirji, has been asked to attend the meeting and offer expertise.
Niagara's regional council voted Wednesday to defer for further study a decision on whether to make masks mandatory in indoor public spaces. As the St. Catharines Standard reports, the issue will return to council on July 23.
Universities in Hamilton and Niagara have announced various face-covering policies, requiring masks to be worn in various situations. As CBC Hamilton reports, McMaster University, Mohawk College, Redeemer University, Brock University, and Niagara College all have their own mask rules that apply in different situations.
Inmates at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre and other provincial jails are able to have personal visits again. The Hamilton Spectator reports that this comes after inmates in the Hamilton jail staged hunger strikes last month, calling for better food, personal visits, mail delivery, improved sanitation, repairs to infrastructure, and an end to rotating lockdowns. Most inmates at the jail are awaiting bail or trial. During the pandemic, courts have worked to process bail more quickly.
Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati told the St. Catharine Standard that his city (which is facing a $4 million gap) is overwhelmed by pandemic expenses. “We’re not able to collect revenues. We’re not allowed to have a deficit. We’re in a real, not just unenviable, but impossible situation that we can’t get ourselves out of because it’s not through our own doing or our own making,” he said. Diodati and other mayors are renewing their push for pandemic relief funding from upper levels of government.
TVO.org's Hamilton-Niagara reporter, Justin Chandler, looks at how Niagara Falls is trying to make up for lost time and money by attracting more domestic visitors with a new campaign. It's part of a broader trend toward local tourism as many Ontarians stow their passports and look to vacation within the province. Niagara Falls Tourism CEO Janice Thompson says 95 per cent of the 40,000 people who work in tourism in the Niagara region have been laid off during the pandemic.
- Effective July 6, Wasauksing First Nation began reducing the monitoring of vehicles accessing the community at the security checkpoint. However, periodic monitoring will still occur and may require non-registered vehicles to be stopped to confirm the purpose of their visit to the community. Additional security measures will be limited to video surveillance, signage, and reduced lanes.
On July 16, Community Paramedicine will be in Atikameksheng Anishnawbek to test up to 150 members of the community for COVID-19.
Six Nations Health Services will be running a series of virtual summer camps next week. Each day will include a different activity, such as Lacrosse demos, scavenger hunts, and making fishing poles.
Ottawa Public Health has made posters explaining mask-wearing practices available in Algonquin, Inuktitut, and Michif languages.
Obashkaandagaang First Nation (Washagamis Bay) issued 100 cottagers notice on Tuesday that the road through the First Nation leading to camps they lease from the First Nation will be closed to them on July 16. Obashkaandagaang spokesperson Marvin Sinclair says that heavy machinery and fast-moving traffic pose a danger to his community, Kenoraonline reports.
Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro will bring a resolution to city council on July 20 that would recommend that the Thunder Bay District Health Unit make wearing masks mandatory in indoor public places and on transit.
The City of North Bay has designated the bus terminal at Oak Street as an alternative cooling site. COVID-19 protocols will be enforced.
The City of Sault Ste. Marie will be reopening the John Rhodes Community Centre Arena #2 on Monday as part of Stage 2. A second arena space will reopen in the near future.
A woman in her 50s from Red Lake tested positive for COVD-19 on Thursday.
Masks have been made mandatory on all public transit and for all commerical establishments in Sudbury and Districts.
Hospital staff at the Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre, in Sioux Lookout. have now been cleared of COVID, reports Dryden Now. “It is great news that none of the positive cases resulted in further infections in the community,” said Ian Gemmill, the acting medical officer of health at the Northwestern Health Unit.
A Kenora Miner & News editorial says that the Northwestern Health Unit has "failed the public with its lack of communication" over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper says that the health-unit leadership bypassed local media with announcements regarding positive cases, was unavailable for comment, had other institutions announce positive cases, and provided incomplete information to the media.
Northern Ontario has welcomed 64 new doctors to 12 communities in the region. The doctors are recent graduates from an MD program at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and other Canadian medical schools and will practise under the supervision of a licensed physician.
Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, is recommending that elementary and secondary students return to school full-time in September, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
The Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Board of Health is asking the provincial and federal governments to maintain the Canada-U.S. border closure until COVID-19 is more fully contained in the U.S., the Kingston Whig Stardard reports. “Reopening the border too soon will almost certainly increase the risk of COVID-19 cases in Canada, particularly given the previous rates of tourism between the two countries,” Kieran Moore, medical officer of health, said in a press release.
A new city staff report indicates that, by the end of August, Peteborough could stand to lose $10.4 million in revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peterborough Examiner reports.
Ten organizations are working together to get more information from the province about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people in jail, the London Free Press reports.
A pair of Western University graduate students have created a mask with a clear plastic pane over the mouth to make its users easier to understand for lip readers, the London Free Press reports.
Windsor Transit has made masks mandatory on its buses, the Windsor Star reports.
Ernie Hardeman, Ontario minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, tells the Windsor Star that undocumented workers will not be targeted for deportation if they come forward to be tested for COVID-19.
Earlier this week, the municipalities of Leamington and Essex, both in Essex County, were allowed to advance to Stage 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery plan, the Windsor Star reports.
The Huron and Perth public health unit will require commercial-establishment employers to make masks mandatory for workers, customers, and vistors beginning July 17.
The province is reopening — but not for everyone. Southwestern Hubs reporter Mary Baxter explores the new challenges faced by many Ontarians with disabilities whose lives are not returning to a pre-pandemic normal.
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