This article was last updated at 4:45 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.
Ontario is reporting 2,392 cases of COVID-19 this morning, an increase of 426 over yesterday. That increase is larger than yesterday's increase, but is also due, in part, to a larger number of tests conducted. Only 3,135 tests are currently still under investigation. There are 332 people in hospital, 145 of them in intensive care; of those 145, 98 are on ventilators. Thirty-seven people have died.
The president/CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, Anthony Dale, is calling on both provincial and federal governments to expedite the provision of critical equipment and to clearly communicate when it will be available: "The OHA is extremely concerned that any Ontario hospitals are running low on personal protective equipment (PPE) particularly masks."
Premier Doug Ford announced today a $50 million Ontario Together fund to "help companies retool, build capacity or adopt the technological changes needed to produce supplies and equipment for hospitals, long-term care homes and other critical public services." He also announced the procurement of 10,000 ventilators.
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At a press conference this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that people can begin applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit on April 6. He also said that he's looking to recall Parliament to augment the federal government's economic-recovery plan. Opposition MPs, including Conservative Pierre Poilievre, had argued that the new measures announced this week were not in keeping with the legislation passed by Parliament last week and would need to be amended.
Ontario's chief medical officer of health, David Williams, has directed the province's local public-health officers to take "more aggressive" contract tracing and management as the government tries to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19 cases. Williams's memo was released by the Ministry of Health with an additional note that public-health offices were given an additional $100 million in last week's fiscal and economic update.
CBC News is reporting that at least 30 deaths of residents in long-term-care homes in Ontario are linked to COVID-19, more than double the number the province reported yesterday. At least 22 facilities for seniors are currently experiencing outbreaks.
The Beer Store is once again accepting empty bottles and cans, at certain locations.
Cabinet has empowered provincial law enforcement to compel people to identify themselves when being charged with an offence under the state of emergency. With an order passed yesterday, provincial police, municipal police and bylaw enforcement, First Nations constables, and special constables can now require a person to provide their correct name, date of birth, and address when being charged. As with other offences created under the state of emergency, the penalties for not providing proper information when ordered starts with a $750 fine.
In response to employee concerns about safety, the LCBO will allow its workers to wear face masks while serving customers “to protect their eyes, mouth and nose from the transfer of droplets and to help prevent unnecessary touching of the face.” The LCBO will not be providing masks, as it doesn’t want to deplete supplies for health-care workers.
Greater Toronto Area
As of 12:30 p.m., 818 cases of COVID-19 (653 confirmed and 165 probable) have been reported to Toronto Public Health; 75 people are in hospital, 35 of them in intensive care. There have been 19 deaths.
Toronto's medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, is instituting strengthened "trace and contact" measures. De Villa is urging the province to reduce the number of open businesses further from the government's current list of essential services. She noted that Toronto's COVID-19 cases have increased 500 per cent in the last two weeks, calling that "not a favourable trajectory."
De Villa will now start issuing mandatory orders to try to contain the virus, under her authority in Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Anyone who is ordered to stay home under Section 22 and defies that order will be committing a provincial offence and could be fined up to $5,000 per day.
- A hospital in Burlington is building a temporary COVID-19 facility in anticipation of a large surge in cases. It will feature an additional 93 beds.
University Health Network will be providing free parking for front-line workers for at least the next month. UHN president and CEO Kevin Smith said the move was thanks to funds provided by generous donors and board members. A 10-day UHN parking pass for staff typically costs $127.
According to satellite data shared with the CBC, air pollution caused by car traffic has dropped noticeably in Toronto and other major Canadian cities compared to the same time last year.
Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation has declared state of emergency and ordered all business within the community to close, effective immediately and for an undetermined period of time. It will continue to allow through-traffic as long as business owners comply with the order to close.
- Delaware Nation at Moraviantown is joining several other First Nations in Ontario's southwest in the decision to close its doors to non-residents. The community, located in Chatham-Kent, currently has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, Denise Stonefish, the nation's chief, tells the CBC.
Ontario Northland will shut down the Polar Express passenger train from Cochrane to Moosonee on April 7. The decision comes after petitioning from Mushkegowuk council, Moose Cree First Nation, and the Town of Moosonee.
Thunder Bay has joined Kapuskasing in announcing it will not host any potential flooding evacuees from across the region this spring. Last summer, more than 1,000 Pikangikum First Nation members stayed in Thunder Bay twice while forest fires burned near their community; Bearskin Lake First Nation residents also stayed in the city while flooding was affecting their lands.
- The Porcupine Health Unit has announced six new COVID-19 cases in its region, bringing the total to 18.
The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry will open a COVID-19 assessment centre in Cornwall tomorrow to help reduce strain on paramedics and hospital rooms.
Ottawa Public Health reports 50 new cases of COVID-19 in the city, bringing the total to 193. The report also confirms that a two-year-old has contracted the coronavirus.
Physicians at the Prince Edward Family Health Team have asked seasonal residents of Prince Edward County to consider the limited medical resources in the community before they leave their primary residences and move to the county.
Four more members of the Ottawa Senators organization have tested positive for COVID-19. A press release from the team says that the four individuals had been self-isolating since March 13 and have recovered. The team announced on March 21 that a player had tested positive.
The Ottawa Citizen reports that the province of Quebec is setting up control points along the bridges that connect Gatineau with Ottawa as part of travel restrictions being put in place to prevent COVID-19 spread. A significant number of people who work in the nation’s capital commute from Gatineau. Officials say the measures will not affect health-care services or services essential for commerce.
Hastings County officials say that an employee at the Hastings Manor long-term-care home has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee, as well as six others that the person was in close contact with, are all in self-isolation. Hastings Manor is a 253-bed long-term-care facility in Belleville.
Guards at the Ottawa jail “refused to work the morning shift on Tuesday” due to concerns about a lack of COVID-19 screening, Postmedia reports.
- On Ottawa bus driver has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Wednesday release on OC Transpo's website. The individual has been in isolation since they developed symptoms on March 20. OC Transpo has posted a list of the routes the driver served from March 18 to 20.
Waterloo Region Public Health is reporting 117 confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far, a number that includes 15 that have been resolved and one death. The region has also identified outbreaks in two long-term-care facilities: at an unidentified Highview Residences location and at Sunnyside Home in Kitchener.
There are now 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oxford and Elgin Counties and St. Thomas, Southwestern Public Health reports. Of those cases, two have died, one has resolved, and four are in hospital.
Windsor-Essex Public Health is reporting 92 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its region and one death.
Auto manufacturer Ford is extending its production shutdown indefinitely to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19. The announcement affects engine plants in Windsor-Essex, BlackburnNews reports.
The Town of Essex in Essex County is waiving late-payment charges on property-tax fees, joining several other municipalities in the southwest region in doing so.
Police and other emergency responders feted health-care workers in Sarnia for their work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic with a drive-by parade on Tuesday.
The Blyth Festival, in Huron County, has announced it is suspending its season this year.
Bluewater Health in Sarnia is now offering statistical information on testing for COVID-19, both at its hospital and at the area's assessment centre. As of yesterday, the hospital listed 23 positive cases and four deaths; Lambton Public Health tells Blackburn News that regional confirmed cases have jumped today to 47 and five deaths.
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