COVID-19: The week in review (September 7-11)

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Sep 11, 2020

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This article was last updated at 1:13 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 213 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 44,068 since the pandemic began; 49 people are in hospital, 18 of them in intensive care and nine on ventilators. To date, 2,813 people have died. 
  • According to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 17 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 37 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 36 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 1,848 confirmed resident deaths and eight confirmed staff deaths.

  • Ontario will now be providing updates on COVID-19 cases in schools and licensed child-care centres. Per today's report, there are currently 13 schools with a reported case.

  • Premier Doug Ford yesterday discussed tackling medical-procedure backlogs caused by the pandemic: "We're working with our minister of health and our health table to see if we can open up a lot of these surgery rooms. We have funding to ask the docs ... and the hospitals to open up surgeries, start working Saturdays and Sundays to get rid of the backlog."

  • Criminal trials and preliminary hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice are scheduled to resume at additional locations on September 14.

  • Eleven OLG casinos scheduled to reopen (without table games) on September 28, CP24 reports.

  • The Ontario government yesterday announced an additional $14.75 million in funding to increase access to mental-health and addictions services. "From downtown Toronto to rural and remote communities in Ontario's Far North, the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt right across this province, especially among those living with mental health and addiction challenges," Michael Tibollo, associate minister of mental health and addictions, said in a press release. "That's why we'll continue to enhance existing supports while exploring new and innovative services through ground-breaking research."

  • On September 9, Premier Doug Ford and Quebec premier François Legault concluded the first-ever Ontario-Quebec Summit, at which the two provinces "agreed to continue their collaboration to share lessons learned from the pandemic and prepare their health care systems for a potential second wave of COVID-19."

  • All 24 provincial centres for apprenticeship and trade-related certifications have now reopened.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of September 9, there are 58 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 16,535 cases in Toronto since the pandemic began; 27 of them are in hospital. In total, 1,176 people have died.
  • Events at locations in Toronto, Markham, and Whitchurch-Stouffville related to one wedding have been linked to 23 cases, CP24 reports.

  • The City of Toronto, with financial assistance from the federal government, will open a voluntary isolation site on September 12. The facility is intended to provide a safe space for people to self-isolate after a COVID-19 diagnosis if they don't have the space to do so safely at home. The former hotel can hold 140 people at a time. "We have seen the data that shows that COVID-19, like many infectious diseases, preys on poverty," Toronto Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy said in a release. "As we move forward in our response to this pandemic, we must continue to find new and innovative solutions to address inequality and the social determinants of health, in order to help keep everyone safe."

  • The Toronto District School Board announced yesterday that virtual school will begin September 17 for elementary students. 
  • The City of Toronto is allowing bars and restaurants that have approved patios under the CaféTO program to install outdoor heaters, including propane-fuelled heaters, to maximize the amount of time businesses have left in patio season before winter sets in. The CaféTO program, implemented to assist restaurants and bars recover business during the pandemic, is currently scheduled to end in November.

  • Toronto city manager Chris Murray announced Thursday that fire chief Matt Pegg will resume his role as Toronto’s COVID-19 incident commander on a full-time basis. "Torontonians should be assured that their City is focused on planning to help lessen and mitigate the impacts of a COVID-19 resurgence," Murray said. "Chief Pegg ably guided us through the initial response to this pandemic. His trusted leadership will help ensure the City is prepared this fall and winter."
  • The City of Toronto announced Wednesday that court-services counters will reopen by appointment only. 
  • The Toronto Star reported Wednesday that residents "forgoing masks while socializing with people outside their social bubbles are increasingly getting COVID-19, helping to drive a virus resurgence that has alarmed city and health officials."
  • Most library branches in Mississauga will be open and providing limited services as of September 15.
  • Hamilton's Dundas Senior Club will begin offering limited programming as of September 15.
  • The Battlefield House Museum and Park National Historic Site, the Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum, and Ancaster Old Town Hall, in Hamilton, will reopen on September 30.
  • In-person business-licensing services will be offered at Hamilton city hall between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., on Wednesdays only, starting September 16.
  • A staff member at Oodenawi Public School, in Oakville, tested positive days before the start of school, Inside Halton reports. They had been present last week at the staff PA days held at the school.

Indigenous

  • Indigenous Tourism Ontario is working to develop new online tools to help tourism operators survive the pandemic and beyond, the CBC reports. Kevin Eshkawkogan, head of the group, says that, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was increasing global demand for Indigenous tourism and that ITO is currently working with businesses to create virtual reality tours.

  • Each year, Nipissing First Nation distributes Christmas shares to registered members from the band-revenue account. Due to public-health restrictions around gatherings and the fact that their offices remain closed to the public, there is a high probability that they will be unable to offer in-person distribution this year. Members are encouraged to fill out a form through their website

  • Six Nations Health Services has released an update on Non-Insured Health Benefits program coverage; oral digital thermometers, for example, will be covered under the plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northern

  • North Bay Fire and Emergency Services has cancelled its Halloween Night for Kids, and the City of North Bay has cancelled its Santa Claus Parade.

  • The Timmins Police Service, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and Living Space will be focusing their efforts on street-outreach programs. "Our community is dealing with a number of troubling issues that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, namely that growing segments of the population are dealing with personal trauma by turning to homelessness, criminal activity, and addictions," said Mayor George Pirie in a press release. "We have been hearing the concerns of our residents who are either afraid of what they are seeing in our community or are frustrated with the situation. A boots on the ground approach is desperately needed in our city."

  • Ellen Chambers, the chair of Lakehead Public Schools’ trustees, is asking the province for millions more in funding for the hiring of new teachers and other COVID-19 prevention measures, TBNewswatch reports.

  • Sault Ste. Marie-John Rhodes Community Centre will be offering modified swimming-lesson programming from September 19 to November 9.

Eastern


  • Three staff members and at least 27 residents at Extendicare West End Villa, in Ottawa, have tested positive for COVID-19, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
  • Elementary students in the Limestone District School Board have until September 14 to choose either in-person or virtual learning. 
  • Kingston is anticipating a net loss of more than $9.3 million by the end of 2020 as a result of the pandemic, the Kingston Whig Standard reports.
  • On Wednesday, Ottawa city council approved a motion to extend until the end of year a temporary zoning amendment that relaxes regulations for restaurant and retail patios. 
  • As of Tuesday, five schools in the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Esthave had reported COVID-19 cases, according to CBC Ottawa; 193 students and seven staff members have been asked to remain home for the next two weeks.

  • An outbreak was declared at Ottawa's Andrew Fleck Children’s Services site after a staff member was diagnosed with COVID-19, the Ottawa Citizen reports. There are currently 15 active outbreaks at area care centres.

  • There will be "multiple changes coming for transportation services" for Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic School Board students "due to severe driver shortages," according to the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority. "Some grade 7-12 students will be transitioned to public transit, and some yellow bus service will be changed and or cancelled as of Monday, September 14."

  • As of September 8, Peterborough city-council meetings returned to an in-person format.

  • According to a press release from the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, "Peterborough’s drive-through COVID-19 testing centre is the first in the province to implement new handheld devices to digitize COVID-19 lab requisitions." 

  • Zagster, a company that provided bike rentals at terminals in Peterborough, has gone out of business, in part because of the pandemic, the Peterborough Examiner reports.


Southwestern

  • Chatham addictions-counselling clinic has seen a jump in demand since the beginning of the COVID-19 shudown, according to Blackburn News.

  • According to the Sun Times, the area's medical officer of health has ordered that residents of Grey and Bruce counties will have to wear masks in public indoor spaces for at least four more weeks.

  • Educators in Grey, Bruce, Perth and Huron counties have announced that a bus-driver shortage means that some routes will have to be cancelled, the Stratford Beacon Herald and Owen Sound Sun Times report.

  • Windsor is considering taking over an isolation and recovery centre for agricultural migrant workers who have come down with COVID-19 after the region's medical officer of health recommended that remain open over the winter, the Windsor Star reports. Currently, there is no one at the centre, which, at its peak, housed 191 workers.

  • Waterloo regional council is considering whether to expand a requirement to wear masks in indoor public spaces until the spring of 2021, the Record reports.


  • A staff member at a public school in Waterloo has tested positive for COVID-19, the Waterloo Region District School Board told the CBC on Tuesday.

  • Town halls in Leamington and Lakeshore, in Essex County, reopened this week.

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