This article was last updated on Thursday at 3:50 p.m.
- Per today's government report, there are 2,557 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 352,460 since the pandemic began; 1,116 people are in hospital, 433 of them in intensive care, and 259 on ventilators. To date, 7,389 people have died.
- According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 44 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 9 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 103 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,753 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
- As of April 1, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 211 new school-related student cases (for a total of 9,936) 36 new staff cases (for a total of 2,179) and 2 new unspecified cases for a total of 1,163; 1,240 schools are reporting at least one case and 63 schools have been closed.
- Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 84,060 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 2,276,313 since December 2020. 1,640,883 people have received only one dose, and 317,715 people have received both doses.
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- The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, has announced that it is imposing a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.
- The Ontario government has released its latest COVID-19 modelling.The modelling presented at Queen’s Park by the University of Toronto’s Adalsteinn Brown shows that vaccinations alone will only moderately reduce the number of new infections by the end of April. A two-week lockdown will bend the curve back down, but cases will start climbing again by the end of the month. But, if the modelling is correct, a four-week stay-at-home order will reduce cases further – albeit not much further than Ontario saw in mid-February. Read the full modelling on TVO.org.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says that his government’s “full commitment” is to keep schools open despite the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in the community but he says that students will return to “elevated” infection prevention and control measures following the April break, reports CP24.
Canada's Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Anita Anand, announced this week that initial shipments of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine are to arrive by the end of April, reports CP24. Canada approved the vaccine in early March and had pre-ordered 10 million doses, but manufacturing problems from the company led to shipment delays to Canada and elsewhere.
On Wednesday, Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table released a briefing calling for mobile in-home vaccination outreach to Ontarians who cannot or rarely leave their homes because of medical, psychiatric, cognitive, functional, transportation-related and social reasons. According to the briefing, there are at least 75,000 Ontarians aged 65 years and above who are homebound, with the majority being women and people aged 85 years and above.
- Yesterday, The Ontario government announced that it is partnering with the federal government, the City of Toronto and Sanofi, a global biopharmaceutical and vaccines company, to expand its Ontario facility to meet growing demand for flu vaccines, boost Canada's preparedness for future pandemics and create 300 high-quality jobs.
A new study by the Ontario Medical Association suggests Ontario residents between the ages of 55 and 64 are most involved in spreading misinformation about COVID-19 on social media, reports CBC.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
- According to data as of March 31, there are 777 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 113,609 since the pandemic began; 326 of them are in hospital (24 new). In total, 2,799 people have died (three new).
On Wednesday, Mayor John Tory announced $370,000 of funding for community agencies in response to the need for support in communities that are at higher risk for COVID-19, experience vaccine hesitancy or face other barriers to accessing a COVID-19 vaccine. According to a statement, this funding, part of the City’s COVID-19 Immunization Task Force (ITF) outreach efforts and the TO Supports: Targeted Equity Action Plan, will support people in the South Asian, Disability and Black communities to access COVID-19 vaccines.
Toronto is asking the Ontario government to let all people who will be aged 60 and over this year be vaccinated against COVID-19 at city clinics, down a decade from the current cutoff, citing grave danger from virus variants, reports the Toronto Star.
In an interview with TVO.org's Nathaniel Basen, Laveena Munshi, a member of Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and a critical-care physician at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital discussed increasing ICU numbers and the impending COVID-19 third wave. "ICU COVID numbers have been progressively increasing over the past couple of weeks, and in particular over the past couple of days. So we're just seeing higher volumes; we're seeing younger populations coming into our ICU, and a large subset of them have the variants of concern," said Munshi.
- Data shows that more than a century apart, the 1918 influenza pandemic and COVID-19 have revealed similar fault lines in Hamilton. As TVO.org's Hamilton-Niagara reporter Justin Chandler writes, that has advocates calling for change now and for any future pandemics. Research shows that people living in Hamilton’s poorer northern neighbourhoods were up to twice as likely as people in Hamilton’s wealthier southern neighbourhoods to die of influenza during the 1918 pandemic. Now, data shows people living on low incomes and people who identify with a racialized group have higher rates of COVID-19.
- Hamilton is postponing opening a mass vaccination clinic due to a supply shortage. The Hamilton Spectator reports the site was to be the fourth such clinic in the city. Hamilton's mayor has expressed his concern that Hamilton is struggling to supply its rollout while other municipalities are expanding theirs.
- The Hamilton Health Sciences hospital network says a decline in cancer screening over the past year could mean there are thousands of cases of undiagnosed or untreated cancers in the province. CBC Hamilton reports HHS is urging people to get tested, saying that in Hamilton alone, there have been tens of thousands of fewer tests.
- Niagara EMS says paramedics are pretty much ready to vaccinate homebound residents against COVID-19. The St. Catharines Standard reports that advances in transportation practices mean vaccines can now be more easily transported. However, Niagara Region has not had enough supply to start bringing them to people at home yet.
- In a memo to Niagara Region staff, acting medical officer of health Mustafa Hirji says the provincial government is trying to make it look like there has been greater progress in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine. The Standard reports Hirji told staff that province-wide, Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout is still well underway, and that by starting Phase 2, the province is trying to portray progress. "I just wanted to lay out some of the facts there to show some of the successes, but also there are a few challenges,” Hirji told the paper.
- As of March 30, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 860 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 283 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 1,620 COVID-19 cases.
- As of March 30, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 612 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 246,675 doses have been administered. ISC reminds the urban Indigenous population that First Nations living off reserve, Inuit and Métis are or will receive COVID-19 vaccination through their provincial or territorial health services. ISC is aware of vaccinations already taking place in several urban centres, including Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Whitehorse.
- A second person has died from COVID-19 at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Marathon. An ongoing outbreak in the hospital’s chronic care wing has claimed the lives of two people, and has infected at least nine patients and four staff members, TBNewswatch reports.
- The Thunder Bay District Health Unit will now be reporting variants of concern along with the region’s daily COVID-19 case counts. There have only been four confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in the Thunder Bay district, but Janet DeMille, the medical officer of health, is concerned about a rise in COVID-19 variants and the possibility of higher case counts because of that, TBNewswatch reports.
- The president of the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition in Thunder Bay says the annual fair will be cancelled for a second year in a row due to COVID-19, TBNewswatch reports.
- Adults 70 and older can begin booking vaccination appointments on Saturday, according to Public Health Sudbury and Districts. The opening of available bookings comes after the health united vaccinated or booked appointments for more than 96 per cent of adults aged 80 and over, and more than 80 per cent of adults 75 to 79 within the health unit's service area. Appointments can be booked online or by calling 705-522-9200.
- Variants of concern have been detected in three recent cases within Algoma Public Health's region. According to the health unit, two of the cases are in Sault Ste. Marie, while the third is in the Elliot Lake area. Further testing is required to identify the variants. There are currently 10 active cases in the region.
- Some Kingston-area residents, who by fact of being aged 70 years and older became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine Monday, expressed frustration to the Kingston Whig-Standard that they were unable to find available slots in the provincial booking system.
- Vera Etches, Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health, asked Wednesday for the city to be moved into the grey zone before the Easter long weekend, CTV News reports. “We are at a point that we have never seen before in this pandemic,” she said. “We are seeing what we feared. The vaccine hasn’t arrived in time to outpace the growth in our community.”
- The chief of staff for Ottawa’s children’s hospital told CBC News that the city’s hospitals are at 100 percent capacity, with another doctor telling the publication that the city is facing a “fragile” situation as COVID-19 counts rise, as well as the presence of variants.
- Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health announced 32 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, which was a record number for the region, with the previous single-day high in the low double-digits, the Belleville Intelligencer reports. Quinte Health Care’s president, Stacey Daub, said more measures are needed to prevent infections. “I do think we need additional public-health measures to address the current transmission,” she said
- Members of the Norfolk-Haldimand Board of Health have met with the province's chief medical officer of health, the Simcoe Reformer reports. The meeting follows a rally by area farmers in March that protested local rules instituted by the local medical officer of health addressing COVID-19 quarantines for migrant workers arriving to work on area farms. Members of the board have threatened to resign if the provincial government doesn't standardize precautionary approaches to avoiding the spread of the virus.
- A staff member and resident at a long-term-care home in Mitchell have tested positive for COVID-19 despite having been vaccinated for the virus. Huron-Perth's medical officer of health, however, tells the Stratford Beacon Herald that despite the positive tests, these incidences show vaccination works because one case was mild, the other asymptomatic, and the virus didn't spread in the home.
- A survey of 100 people in the Waterloo region suggests hospitality workers are struggling with their mental health, sense of well-being and financial health, CTV Kitchener reports.
- Southwestern Public Health, which covers Elgin and Oxford counties, has expanded the list of people eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations to young adults who have high-risk health conditions and those who live in high-risk group settings, the Woodstock Sentinel Review reports.
- Two women in London have been charged under provincial pandemic control regulations for a St. Patrick's Day gathering that had more numbers than allowed, the London Free Press reports.
- A Windsor assisted living facility is using artificial intelligence to monitor its 90 residents' temperatures and mask use, the Windsor Star reports.