COVID-19: The week in review (October 26-30)

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Oct 30, 2020

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This article was last updated at 1:04 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 896 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 74,715 since the pandemic began; 314 people are in hospital, 75 of them in intensive care and 52 on ventilators. To date, 3,127 people have died. 
  • According to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 78 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 421 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 280 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 1,939 confirmed resident deaths and eight confirmed staff deaths.

  • As of October 30, in publicly funded schools, there are 40 new school-related student cases (for a total of 1,197), four new school-related staff cases (for a total of 287), and 17 new cases in "individuals not identified" (for a total of 675); 551 schools have a reported case, and no schools are currently closed.

  • The province released updated modelling yesterday. Read the full document here.

  • More than $1.05 billion from the federal-provincial COVID-19 Resilience infrastructure stream will go toward health and safety related projects in long-term care, education, and municipalities.

  • The Ontario government on Tuesday announced $116.5 million to create up to 766 additional beds at 32 hospitals and health facilities: "This investment will help reduce surgical backlogs and improve access to care during COVID-19."

  • The Ontario government announced Monday that it will unveil its 2020 budget on November 5: "It will focus on protecting the health and safety of the people during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing much-needed supports to families, workers, and employers, and laying the foundation for future growth, renewal and economic recovery."

  • The Ontario Hockey League has pushed back the beginning of its season to February 4, two months later than its previous start-date target of December 1, the London Free Press reports.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of October 28, there are 447 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 27,961 since the pandemic began; 127 of them are in hospital. In total, 1,362 people have died.
  • On October 28, York Region Public Health reported that 44 confirmed cases have been linked to a two-day wedding event in Vaughan.

  • Premier Doug Ford's constituency office in Etobicoke North has temporarily closed after an outbreak among staff, the Toronto Star reports.

  • Toronto mayor John Tory and Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, on Wednesday discussed measures — including pop-up testing clinics, self-isolation sites, and outreach — to combat COVID-19 in at-risk communities. 
  • Toronto city council on October 27 approved an item that will extend its winter patio program. "The successful CaféTO program has been extended and will allow some restaurants to occupy sidewalk space along the curbside, to serve customers and generate revenue," a press release states. "In addition, City Council is extending zoning bylaw amendments, through spring 2021, that will increase the maximum size of outdoor patios on private property and remove restrictions that might prevent an outdoor patio located in front of buildings (frontage café)."
  • Tory announced Monday that the more than 1,000 local business that have signed up for Open For Business — a collaboration between the City of Toronto, Ritual, and DoorDash — will get free delivery until November 8.
  • The Ministry of Long-Term Care has issued an order requiring the Millennium Trail Manor LTC home in Niagara Falls to retain the Niagara Health System as temporary manager of the home. "This order was issued to the home as it has an increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents and staff," a press release states. "Enhanced management is necessary to return the home to normal operations and protect residents."
  • Trick-or-treating will be allowed in Hamilton and Niagara. Public-health experts say that physical distancing and mask-wearing can help keep participants safe. CBC Hamilton interviewed an infectious-disease specialist about how to stay safe while getting spooky.

  • The outbreak at Hamilton spin studio SpinCo ended Monday. As CBC Hamilton reports, the outbreak was declared on October 5 and infected at least 85 people.

  • The Hamilton Spectator reports that the city's public-health department refuses to provide the public with information about a local basketball club's outbreak. Beyond saying that six people have tested positive, staff have not shared any details, saying that to do so would infringe on privacy. While public health says there is no risk to the public, infectious-disease experts and an ethicist told the Spectator that withholding information, such as the name of the club, prevents people from making informed choices.

  • As reported by the Public Record, a University of Toronto analysis of smartphone location data found that Hamiltonians are increasing their time outside their households without increasing their proximity to other people.

  • On Thursday, Premier Doug Ford warned that people who flout COVID-19 restrictions will be fined. As the St. Catharines Standard reports, this came days after he rejected any proposed consequence for Niagara MPP Sam Oosterhoff, who attended a gathering and shared photos from it showing himself in a crowd. Nobody pictured had a mask on. The gathering was at a restaurant, and the owner later said that staff repeatedly asked members of the gathering to follow masking and distancing rules but were ignored.

Indigenous

  • The Ontario government announced Wednesday that more than $241 million will go to municipalities and Indigenous community partners to support Ontarians affected by COVID-19, including people who are homeless or risk becoming homeless.

  • The Ontario government is investing over $5 million to help food-rescue organizations, First Nations communities, and Indigenous organizations purchase refrigerated trucks, freezers, storage space, and kitchen equipment so that they can safely collect, preserve, and distribute unused, high-quality surplus food from such places as grocery stores and restaurants during COVID-19 and beyond.

  • As of October 27, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 387 active cases in First Nations communities across Canada. It are also reporting 15 deaths in total across all First Nations reserves in Canada.

Northern

  • Two employees at the Lac Des Illes mine have tested positive for COVID-19, according to TBNewswatch. Impala Canada says both employees are self-isolating off site. The mine shut down in April following an outbreak that led to the death of one employee. Operations resumed in May.

  • The Northwestern Health Unit is reporting three active COVID-19 cases, while the Thunder Bay District Health Unit is reporting two active cases.

  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts has declared an outbreak at Lo-Ellen Secondary School, in Sudbury. There are currently 11 active cases in PHSD's catchment area.

  • Minor hockey leagues in northwestern Ontario will be cleared to resume game action starting this weekend. As a part of its return-to-play framework, Hockey Northwestern Ontario is allowing games to be scheduled beginning November 1.
  • Algoma Public Health is advising of a potential exposure risk related to an Ontario Northland bus that travelled from Toronto to Elliot Lake on October 26. Anyone who travelled on October 26 is being asked to self-monitor for symptoms until November 9. There are currently two active cases in Algoma District.

  • The Porcupine Health Unit has reported two new cases in Hearst and Hornepayne. There are currently six active cases in the Porcupine Health Unit's catchment area.

Eastern

  • The Renfrew County and District Health Unit has linked roughly a dozen cases to a Thanksgiving gathering in Renfrew County, the CBC reports.
  • Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, is sharing advice for parents and kids heading into Halloween: "We know it’s disappointing, but people going out and mingling and sharing food is exactly the kind of activity that will spread COVID-19. That’s why we need to do things differently this year."
  • Ottawa mayor Jim Watson is cautioning residents against going to Gatineau to trick-or-treat, the CBC reports. "Simply going over there and thinking that's going to be safer, you're wrong, because they are in category red as we are," he said Wednesday. "It's tough news for kids to hear. They look forward to getting dressed up, they look forward to going trick-or-treating, but is it really worth putting a child at risk for ... $10 or $12 in candy? I don't think so."

  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health reported Wednesday that a Kingston Transit user had tested positive: "KFL&A Public Health is unable to identify all riders on the route and is issuing a public notice to assist with contact tracing."

  • KFL&A Public Health has declared an outbreak at the Helen Henderson Care Centre after one resident tested positive and one staff member was deemed to have a positive case.

  • Kingston will be holding a live-streamed civic ceremony on Remembrance Day.
  • The Peterborough police board has sent a letter to MPP Dave Smith arguing that, because of new federal legislation and the COVID-19 pandemic, criminals are being released too soon, the Peterborough Examiner reports.

Southwestern

  • Hundreds of people are in quarrantine and more than 30 people have tested positive  in an outbreak linked to a church in Blenheim, the London Free Press reports.
  • Thirty-one students at a French-immersion school in Windsor were sent home Thursday after one student tested positive for COVID-19, the Windsor Star reports.

  • Public skating returns to London on November 9 — with some COVID-19 restrictions, Blackburn News reports.

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