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, 2020

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This article was last updated at 4:29 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 11,184 cases in Ontario, an increase of 606; 802 people are in hospital, 247 of them in intensive care and 193 on ventilators. To date, 584 people have died. A total of 114 outbreaks have been reported in long-term-care homes. 
  • Provincial health official provided an update on COVID-19 modelling at a press conference today. For more details — and for the complete slide deck — read John Michael McGrath's roundup.
COVID-19 chart
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • "Today, we saw new modelling that shows there's some light at the end of the tunnel,"  Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference this afternoon. "The numbers clearly show that the steps we have taken as a province are working." But, he added, "We can't let our guard down now. This virus remains a clear and present danger." He said he's asked the jobs and recovery committee to develop a framework for a gradual, measured, and safe reopening of the province: the framework will have strict criteria and key benchmarks that must be met before restrictions can be eased or lifted. 

  • Health Minister Christine Elliott said today that "the government remains concerned about the impact of this outbreak on our long-term-care homes" and that "we need to remain vigilant."

  • Until at least May 25, MPs will hold one in-person sitting each week; virtual meetings will also be held once the necessary secure technology is in place.

  • The Ontario Hospital Association is warning Ontarians that despite today's good news about the apparent peak of COVID-19 infections, the battle is not over and substantial restrictions on the public will need to continue for some time. "These actions have come at a significant cost, and on behalf of Ontario hospitals, we'd like to thank every worker and business owner for their truly extraordinary sacrifices," OHA President and CEO Anthony Dale said in a press release.

  • Galen Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw Companies, said in an email to customers that "we’re now providing priority access for healthcare workers in almost all of our locations throughout the day. By showing their healthcare ID, these essential frontline employees will get priority entrance to our supermarkets and drugstores."

  • Grocery chain T&T Supermarket says that, starting today, temperature checks will be required for all staff and voluntary for customers.

Greater Toronto Area

  • Per today's report, there are 3,682 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, 262 of them in hospital and 99 in intensive care. To date, there have been 78 institutional outbreaks. In total, 181 people have died. 

  • Toronto mayor John Tory said today that 500 staff have been redeployed to long-term-care, shelter, and other support roles.

  • At a press conference today, Toronto's medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, said that data show that hospitalizations have been largely driven by cases in the broader community, while deaths have been driven primarily by outbreaks in long-term-care homes. "I applaud the province for the stronger measures they have implemented to support vulnerable residents in congregant settings, such as long-term-care homes," she said. "We need to further strengthen these measures in long-term-care homes, and I encourage the province to ensure that appropriate policies and resources are in place for these settings."

  • De Villa also provided an update about the outbreak at the Willowdale Welcome Centre: as of this morning, there are approximately 74 cases.

  • CBC News reports that a Brampton jail that normally houses hundreds of inmates will temporarily close because of the pandemic. Warren "Smokey" Thomas, of OPSEU, which represents guards at the jail, says that Brampton inmates will today be temporarily moved to the South Toronto Detention Centre. The Toronto Star is reporting that eight staff and 60 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Brampton jail.

  • Clarington, a small community east of Toronto, has decided to give back $2 million in property tax to residents who have lost income due to the pandemic, the CBC reports. Councillor Joe Neal says he believes his is the first municipality in the province to offer a property-tax rebate, rather than a deferral of payments.

  • The Salvation Army Meighen Health Centre, in Toronto, has confirmed that there have been 18 deaths at the long-term-care facility. As of April 18, 50 residents and 14 staff members had tested positive.

  • Longo's reports that an employee at its Leaside store, in Toronto, has tested positive.

Indigenous

  • After reports of a large gathering over the weekend, Six Nations of the Grand River will be introducing enhanced security measures on Six Nations territory.

Northern

Eastern

  • Two employees at Ross Memorial Hospital, in Lindsay, have tested positive. An outbreak was declared at the hospital after a patient tested positive on April 17.

  • An outbreak of COVID-19 has been re-declared at a long-term-care home in downtown Kingston. A resident of Providence Manor tested positive on Monday, less than a week after an earlier outbreak had ended.

  • The City of Ottawa will be opening up to 140 shelter beds at the Jim Durrell Recreation Centre next Monday and is looking to secure 50 more hotel rooms for single women and youth. On today's conference call with city officials, Councillor Jenna Sudds said that there have been three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city's shelter system.

  • Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District's medical officer of health says the public-health unit has the highest number of cases per capita in Ontario because it has been "assertive about testing" patients in long-term-care homes. Almost two-thirds of the region's cases are from such facilities.

  • An employee at a grocery store in Cornwall tested positive on Saturday. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit's medical officer of health said Sunday that the risk to the wider public was minimal, as the employee had been working behind a plexiglass barrier.

  • Food Not Bombs Peterborough is serving free meals every Monday night during the COVID-19 crisis. It now also offers a delivery option.

Southwestern

  • A taxi driver has tested positive for COVID-19 in Sarnia, the Sarnia Observer reports.

  • Waterloo Region is resuming essential construction and maintenance, according to the CBC.

  • Air-pollution levels have gone down in at least three Ontario cities, in most cases by nearly two-fifths of previous levels, a Wilfrid Laurier University chemistry professor tells the CBC. In Kitchener, Hind Al-Abadleh has identified a 40 per cent reduction in nitrogen dioxide.

  • Point Pelee has cancelled an annual event that usually sees thousands of people gather to watch birds on the spring migratory path to the north. Paul Pratt, president of the Essex County Field Naturalists' Club, tells the CBC that now might be a good time for birders to see how many species they can spot in their own backyards.

  • Hamilton has created a 12-person team of infectious-disease paramedics to respond to calls involving people who have screened positive for COVID-19, the CBC reports. Team members have been given powered air-purifying respirators, which include full face masks connected by a breathing hose that purifies the air the paramedics are breathing in. The team will also handle other complicated cases, such as cardiac arrests.

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