COVID-19: What you need to know for April 20

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Apr 20, 2021

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This article was last updated on Tuesday at 4:07 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 3,469 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 424,911 since the pandemic began; 2,360 people are in hospital, 773 of them in intensive care, and 537 on ventilators. To date, 7,757 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 36 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 38 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 128 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,755 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 90,409 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 3,995,187 since December 2020. 3,299,993 people have received only one dose, and 347,597 people have received both doses. However, today's data is an under-count of the true total number of vaccinations due to a major Rogers wireless outage yesterday.
JMM COVID Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM COVID Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM COVID Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • Premier Doug Ford’s office says that they have been told to be prepared for delays to two upcoming shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, reports CTV News. The first of the shipments was tentatively scheduled to arrive this week and was to include an estimated 389,000 doses, provincial officials said on background, while the second shipment was set for the week of May 3 and was to include an estimated 194,500 doses. In a statement provided to CTV News Toronto on Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for Ford said that Ontario has now been informed that it should be “prepared for both shipments to be delayed until the end of May.”
  • The Toronto Star reports that the Ontario government ignored recommendations from the province’s top scientific advisers that several postal codes with a high risk of COVID-19 infection be included in the government’s 114 vaccination “hot spots.”Data obtained by the Star show that five higher-risk postal codes recommended for targeted vaccination by Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table were left off the province’s final list of hot spots, while eight lower-risk areas — most of which are in PC ridings — were included.
  • Peter Juni, director of Ontario's Science Table, told CTV News that he considered leaving his job after the province's latest round of restrictions because of the inequities they created. "This pandemic is extremely dominated by social inequities. People who are in essential workforce outside of health care, people [who] live in precarious living situations etc -- that's the people who suffer most, the neighbourhoods where these people live, that's those that we can't get under control pandemic-wise," Juni explained in an interview on Tuesday.
  • The Toronto Star reports that Ontario pharmacies are seeing an increase in demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine since the province lowered the minimum age from 55 to 40. “We have 310 people on our waitlist now,” said Shefali Patel, a manager at Morelli’s Pharmacy in downtown Toronto. “Last week we had zero.”
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Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of April 19, there are 1,071 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 135,575 since the pandemic began; 874 of them are in hospital (12 new). In total, 2,943 people have died (six new).
  • A new field hospital built in a parking lot at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto will likely be ready to accept patients this week as hospitals across the region try to deal with a record spike in COVID-19 caseloads, reports CBC News
  • Peel Region's chief medical officer of health, Lawrence Loh, says that beginning on Friday, any business with five or more known COVID-19 cases occurring within a span of 14 days or less, where cases “could have reasonably acquired their infection at work,” or no other source of transmission can be identified, will have to shut down, reports CP24. “The goal of this is really to get ahead of the variants, as we did with schools and automatic dismissals,” Loh told CP24.
  • York Region residents aged 35 and older in five priority postal codes will now eligible to book an appointment to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at city-run mass vaccination sites, reports CP24.The priority postal codes are L4L, L6A, L4K, L4J, which are located in Vaughan, and L3S, a Markham postal code

  • Six people in York Region who believed they were receiving the COVID-19 vaccine were in fact injected with saline, reports CBC News. In a statement posted online Monday, Mackenzie Health said the six individuals visited its vaccination clinic on March 28.

  • Ameil Joseph, a member of the group advising Hamilton public health and a McMaster University professor who studies critical race theory, says the city is long overdue in prioritizing racialized and low-income residents, and Hamiltonians with disabilities. CBC Hamilton reports that Joseph has written to public health urging them to let those groups book COVID-19 vaccinations. Public health says they're making "small strides" by locating vaccine clinics throughout the city to increase access.

  • The City of Hamilton is walking back its decision to close the escarpment stairs, saying they can now be used for essential travel only. Masks must be worn on them. As CHCH News reports, bylaw officers may charge people they see exercising on the stairs, which are a popular workout spot.

  • Hamilton police and bylaw officers laid 20 charges following two protests against COVID-19 measures involving about 400 people this past weekend, CBC Hamilton reports.

  • The St. Catharines Standard reports an organizer of Saturday's protest against public health measures in Niagara Falls is facing criminal charges. Officials have not said if People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier will be charged for attending the rally, which involved hundreds of unmasked people gathering in close proximity. (The PPC is a right wing federal party)

  • Niagara Health is adding more critical care beds to its ICU for the second time in just over a week, the Standard reports. On April 1, there were 11 COVID-19 patients in hospitals with three in ICU. As of April 19, there were 71 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 17 in ICU within Niagara.

Indigenous

  • As of April 16, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 682 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 302 COVID-19 related deaths in total across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, First Nations communities in Ontario have had a total of 1,746 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of April 15, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 613 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 297,461 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, and Whitehorse.

Northern

  • So far, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit has administered over 54,000 COVID-19 vaccines, according to updated numbers released Tuesday. Nearly 30 per cent of the population in the region has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
  • Leaders in Thunder Bay are concerned about the province’s decision to reduce the number of vaccines sent to health units with fewer COVID-19 cases, including Thunder Bay, TBNewswatch reports. Last night, city council passed a resolution advocating for vaccine distribution to be based on potential risk, instead of current COVID-19 numbers.
  • On Monday, in response to provincial restrictions announced last week, the OPP set up checkpoints on the Ontario-Manitoba border, Kenora Daily Miner & News reports. People coming into Ontario must have a valid reason for travel, including work and medical care, exercising treaty rights, or transportation of goods and services. Greg Rickford, Kenora-Rainy River MPP, explained the travel restrictions are an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants originating in the west, and says he hopes the travel restrictions won’t be in place for “very long,” TBNewswatch reports.
  • There were seven new cases reported in Public Health Sudbury and Districts' area yesterday, bringing the total active cases to 171, according to Sudbury.com.
  • Algoma Public Health says there are two new cases in Elliot Lake and a new cases in Sault Ste. Marie and area for a total of 42 active cases in the region.
  • The North Bay Nugget reports seven new COVID cases within the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit's area for a total active case count to 21.
  • The Porcupine Health Unit says there are 13 new cases in its area, bringing the total case count in the region to 95.

Eastern

  • In Peterborough, people rallied against public health measures on Saturday, which led to Peterborough police issuing demonstrators with four tickets under the Reopening Ontario Act in relation to the gathering of approximately 150-200 people, according to Global News.
  • With 123 active COVID-19 cases in Peterborough, the community’s public health unit has suspended its COVID-19 email and phone hotline service, citing an “all hands on deck” situation and the need to re-deploy staff to respond to local cases, including doing contact tracing, Global News reports.
  • As of Monday, the Kingston Health Sciences Centre was caring for 31 COVID-19 patients in its ICU and 14 in its medicine ward, only one of whom was a local, according to the Globe and Mail. The rest are transfers from other parts of the province. “My heart goes out to those poor families whose loved one is being cared for in a place that’s a few hours away. It’s very difficult for those patients,” said Michael Fitzpatrick, chief of staff at KHSC.
  • The Ottawa Board of Health is urging the province to increase the power of enforcement officers to enter, inspect and shut down businesses that aren’t complying with COVID-19 regulations, as the city sees a surge of workplace outbreaks, the Ottawa Citizen reports. “Our team is now being inundated from workplaces where more than two people have tested positive,” said Vera Etches, the city’s medical officer of health. “We’re also seeing outbreaks in offices where people could have potentially worked from home." (There were 131 Ottawans hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, which was a pandemic high, according to CTV News.)
  • Some health-care workers at Kingston General Hospital are calling on the city and Queen’s University to assist them with parking difficulties, as they treat an influx of COVID-19 patients (largely from communities elsewhere in the province). One parking lot near the hospital costs $20 a day, while on-street parking requires health care workers to run out throughout the day to feed their metres. Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said that he will put forward a motion to provide health care workers with a free, monthly parking permit, Global News reports.

Southwestern

  • A Twitter account is helping people to find locations to get COVID-19 vaccinations, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • The Grand River Conservation Authority has announced it will reopen its parks on Friday to give people an opportunity to exercise out of doors during the lockdown, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.
  • On Monday, London Health Sciences Centre had 86 COVID-19 patients, 39 of which were in critical care, CTV London reports.
  • Two women in the London area are charged with violations under the Reopening Ontario Act. The charges follow anti-lockdown protests in London in March, the London Free Press reports.
  • Owen Sound's hospital has received three COVID-19 patients in intensive care from the Toronto region, the Owen Sound Sun Times reports.
  • Windsor city council wants the province to implement a paid sick leave program because of the pandemic CBC Windsor reports.
  • Four hospitals in Ontario's deep southwest have been asked to take on 14 patients and intensive care patient transfers, CTV Windsor reports.

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