This article was last updated at 4:47 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 2,793 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, an increase of 401 since the previous report. There are now 53 reported deaths and 2,052 "under investigation" (results not yet complete). There are 405 hospitalizations; 167 people are in intensive care, 112 of them on ventilators.
Barbara Yaffe, the associate chief medical officer of health, said today that the province is aware of at least 26 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities and a related 19 deaths; it is also aware of eight oubreaks in retirement homes.
Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference this afternoon that the province will release data on COVID-19 projections tomorrow. ""You deserve the same information I have," he said. "You deserve to see the same data I have when I'm making decisions ... That is why I've asked our medical experts to provide a full briefing to the public on where this will go." He also announced $12 million in funding for online mental-health supports and $2.6 million to hire new psychologists and other mental-health workers to support the Ontario Provincial Police.
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According to Theresa Tam, the federal chief public-health officer, there are 10,466 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and there have been 111 deaths. Canada has conducted more than 260,000 tests to date. Tam reiterated that these results are a snapshot of past infections and do not reflect infections today, meaning that communities with no reported infections should not assume they are infection-free.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government will share more data and more projections on the spread of COVID-19 with Canadians "soon" but emphasized the biggest factor in those projections are measures that Canadians take today. Trudeau also announced that a delivery of 1 million masks has been made to a Hamilton warehouse for distribution to provincial health-care systems.
Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney today urged businesses that rely on truck shipments to make facilities available to drivers so they can safely use the bathroom, get gas, or rest. "We expect businesses who rely on truck drivers to provide necessary facilities for these heroes. We need everyone to do their part to make sure drivers can keep doing their jobs safely," the ministers say in a statement. This comes after some truckers reported being denied the use of washrooms or other amenities while making their deliveries.
The CBC reports that about one in 10 of Ontario’s known COVID-19 cases, or 229 of the lab-confirmed total, are health-care workers.
The College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario says it's fast-tracking the certification process for respiratory-therapy students. "They've been training for three years to do this role ... they're already familiar with the ventilators that are in use, the infection control protocols and all of the precautions that are required at this time," the college's registrar and CEO told CBC News. Seven post-secondary schools in Ontario offer the program.
- Restaurants Canada estimates that 800,000 food-service jobs have already been lost across the country and "might not return if current conditions continue."
Greater Toronto Area
Toronto Mayor John Tory has signed a bylaw using his emergency powers to impose a two-metre physical-distancing rule in all Toronto parks and public squares. Anyone convicted of breaching the bylaw will face a $5,000 fine upon conviction. The bylaw will be in effect for at least the next 30 days.
Toronto's medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, said that, as of 1 p.m. today, there are 897 cases in Toronto (727 confirmed and 170 probable). There are 86 people in hospital, 39 of them in intensive care. Thus far, there have been about 11 deaths. She noted that her team is gathering details about other cases.
Councillor Gord Perks sent a letter to the premier urging that Ontario expand the list of workers currently getting priority access to personal protective equipment from the government. Perks says that workers in the city's homeless shelters, drop-in centres, and supervised-consumption and overdose-prevention sites are working in close contact with vulnerable populations but are not currently able to get priority access to PPE.
A 23-year-old Brampton resident is facing a $100,000 fine after violating the city’s social-distancing bylaw and hosting a backyard party for 20 individuals. “This is too serious for anyone to be reckless and foolish,” Mayor Patrick Brown said.
- Mayor John Tory says that he has talked to Chief Mark Saunders about starting a “substantial enforcement blitz,” as many residents continue to use sports fields, running tracks, and other city amenities.
Health officials have confirmed that eight residents of Seven Oaks, a long-term-care home in Scarborough, have died as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak.
In response to a positive case in Sioux Lookout, nearby Lac Seul First Nation has closed the community to outsiders, shuttered its band office, and ordered all non-essential staff to work from home.
- North Caribou Lake First Nation has declared a state of emergency.
Sandy Lake First Nation has declared a state of emergency.
Thunder Bay District Health Unit has announced five new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing its region's total to nine.
The Northwestern Health Unit has recorded the first positive COVID-19 cases in Dryden and Sioux Lookout.
- The Timmins hospital has admitted a woman in her seventies for COVID-19.
A cannabis company CEO and American rap icons the Wu-Tang Clan are among those making donations to the Ottawa Food Bank, responding to a call by Ottawa mayor Jim Watson for support. Harley Finkelstein, the COO of Ottawa company Shopify, has also promised a $10,000 donation to the food bank.
Cobourg has cancelled two major events in its summer schedule: the Cobourg Waterfront Festival and the Rotary Ribfest.
In an update to students and staff, Queen's University announced on Thursday that someone in the university community had tested positive for COVID-19. The update did not say whether it was a student or employee.
- Three suspected cases of a respiratory illness at a Cornwall long-term-care facility tested negative for COVID-19, the city announced Thursday morning. Nursing and retirement homes across Canada have been hit hard by the coronavirus: more than 600 of them are experiencing outbreaks, according to reporting by the Globe and Mail.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers says that personal protective equipment is a "source of anxiety" for their members at the Grand Valley Institution for Women, in Kitchener, after four inmates tested positive for COVID-19. Responding to calls from some — such as Senator Kim Pate — for the immediate release of inmates, UCCO says that Canadians "are already dealing with a potentially deadly threat," and it would be "irresponsible to introduce further threats into our communities."
Eleven residents, three of whom have died, have tested positive for COVID-19 at Anson Place in Hagersville, Haldimand County, as of Wednesday. Twelve staff members have also tested positive. The total number of lab positive cases in the county now stands at 34, and there have been four deaths as of today.
Brantford has given its six bylaw-enforcement officers the power to fine people not following COVID-19 isolation rules, the Brantford Expositor reports. The fine for using a closed amenity or gathering in a park is up to $1,000.
- Windsor city council voted unanimously on Wednesday to lay off more than 500 non-essential workers. According to the Windsor Star, municipalities are ineligible for a new temporary federal employment-stabilization program that subsidizes workers' wages by 75 per cent.
Chatham-Kent has introduced a tipline for people to report violations of social-distancing orders. "Our hope is that there are minimal calls into the line as people are obeying the orders which help protect their own and others’ health,” says John Norton, the municipality's general manager of community development, in a news release.
When it comes to outbreaks of COVID-19 in retirement homes, the role that public health can play falls into a grey area, Lambton's medical officer of health tells the Sarnia Observer. The local health unit is dealing with an outbreak at a retirement home where 11 cases of the virus have been confirmed and four people have died.
Stratford city council has joined many other southwestern Ontario municipalities in holding its meetings electronically by using video conferencing.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has declared an outbreak at a mental-health and addictions facility. The health unit identified the outbreak at Homewood Health Centre after two staff members and a patient tested positive for COVID-19, according to Global News.
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