COVID-19: What you need to know for April 22

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Apr 22, 2021

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This article was last updated on Thursday at 5.03 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 3,682 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 432,805 since the pandemic began; 2,350 people are in hospital, 806 of them in intensive care, and 588 on ventilators. To date, 7,829 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 37 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 42 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 135 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 134,920 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 4,266,802 since December 2020. 3,564,095 people have received only one dose, and 351,354 people have received both doses.
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.
  • Ontario hit a new single-day vaccination record Tuesday as those 40 and over rushed to get shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine made available to them through a lowered age threshold at pharmacies, reports CP24. The province administered 136,695 vaccines by 8 p.m. Tuesday — roughly 46,000 doses more than the previous day and a new single-day record in the province’s vaccination effort.

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  • David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, issued a directive on Tuesday asking hospitals to ramp down non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures in order to preserve system capacity to deal effectively with COVID-19. "This directive, in addition to the emergency orders recently issued are being taken in response to escalating case counts,which have led to increasing hospitalization and ICU occupancy rates which are already over the peak of wave two," a spokesperson for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement to CP24 Wednesday evening.

  • Ontario is on track to receive nearly eight million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the beginning of July, reports the Toronto Star. More than 930,000 doses each week will be entering the province by the end of May, provided there are no delays in distribution.

  • Health officials say more than 200 international travellers arriving in Ontario have refused to stay in a quarantine hotel, reports CTV News. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) told CTV News Toronto that as of April 15 they are aware of at least 211 tickets that have been issued to travellers since the hotel quarantine program came into effect in February.

  • A new study looking at the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies in blood donors finds that the risk of contracting the virus in Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods increased by over 400 per cent between the end of the first wave last year and January 2021, reports the Toronto Star.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of April 21, there are 1,243 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 138,007 since the pandemic began; 1,035 of them are in hospital (169 new). In total, 2,976 people have died (six new).
  • Toronto is launching a mobile vaccination program to triple the amount of COVID-19 vaccine administered in the city’s “hottest” hot spot zones over the next two weeks, reports CP24. Mayor John Tory announced on Wednesday that the city has partnered with Toronto Public Health, hospitals and community health centres to create a new mobile vaccination “sprint strategy” to administer incoming vaccine supply to the city’s highest priority areas.

  • Toronto police say they will begin a new approach to enforcing Ontario's stay-at-home order starting on Thursday, reports CP24. According to police, the service will launch a dedicated enforcement team in all sixteen divisions whose "primary function will be to respond to large gatherings in both indoor and outdoor settings."

  • Toronto city officials on Wednesday announced plans to ramp up vaccinations, thanks to more expected supply, but acknowledged vaccine alone won’t stop the virus’s third wave from pushing the health system over the brink, reports the Toronto Star. “The figures for people currently in hospital, people currently in ICU and people currently intubated, are all the highest recorded at any point in the pandemic so far,” said Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief. 

  • Hamilton's medical officer of health, Elizabeth Richardson, said Wednesday that the city will host COVID-19 vaccine clinics exclusively for people of colour and equity-seeking groups. CBC Hamilton reports this comes after a plan to invite racialized residents to book 1,000 vaccine appointments ended up on social media. The appointments were filled by others. As the Hamilton Spectator reports, nothing in the invitations stated the vaccines were for Black or racialized people.

  • Intensive care unit staff in Hamilton hospitals are receiving mental health supports as workers cope with caring for severely ill patients, many of whom are young. The Spectator reports that the chief of medicine at St. Joseph’s Healthcare says most staff are not used to seeing young people die as often as they are now. “When you look at someone and say, ‘That person could be me,’ to see them lying in a bed on life support … it’s really troubling and upsetting," one doctor says. Between January 11 and April 13, 91 patients were transferred to area hospitals from the GTA. In the last eight days, 73 transfers occurred, showing just how overwhelmed Ontario hospitals have become.

  • Niagara Health staff have opened nine critical care beds in the past few weeks as COVID-19 has pushed the hospitals beyond capacity. As the St. Catharines Standard reports, the hospital network has plans to potentially open 24 more beds, bringing the total to 38. Usually it operates just 14. Staff are being redeployed to work in the ICU, though some are not trained for that. I

  • In preparation for another rush on beaches this year, St. Catharines councillors will debate charging for parking to offset the cost of waterfront staffing, the Standard reports. Across Ontario last year, pandemic-weary urbanites flocked to beaches, causing crowing in smaller communities. Some Niagara municipalities limited beach access to locals only.

Indigenous

  • As of April 21, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 741 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 306 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 1,797 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of April 20, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 654 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 340,860 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

  • Another person has died from COVID-19 in the Thunder Bay region, bringing the total death toll from the virus to 61 people.
  • An outbreak has been declared at Musselwhite Mine, north of Thunder Bay, after one person has tested positive for COVID-19. Several other people are considered “preliminary positive” as a result of rapid testing, TBNewswatch reports.
  • Hospitals in northwestern Ontario are responding to the province’s orders to cancel non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries, TBNewswatch reports. La Verendrye General Hospital in Fort Frances confirmed they would be cancelling non-urgent surgeries, in case it should be asked to take COVID-19 patients from other parts of the province. The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in Thunder Bay did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TBNewswatch.
  • The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in the northwest will be slightly lower compared to previous weeks, due to uncertainty around the country’s vaccine supply, TBNewswatch reports. Thunder Bay District Health Unit medical officer of health, Janet DeMille, expects between 7,000 and 8,000 doses of the COVID-19 to be administered over the next two weeks, compared to over 9,000 doses administered last week.
  • The City of Greater Sudbury says that trails and playgrounds remain open, but it has closed skate parks, play fields, sporting courts and outdoor park amenities like picnic benches and fitness equipment. A full list of closures can be found here.
  • The Porcupine Health Unit reports 18 new cases: 13 in Timmins, four in Cochrane, Matheson and Iroquois Falls and Kapuskasing, Opasatika, Val Rita-Harty, Moonbeam, Fauquier-Strickland. There are 100 active cases in the region.
  • The North Bay Nugget reports over 30 per cent of adults in its area have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the North Bay Parry Sound Health unit.

Eastern

  • An obstetrician and researcher in Ottawa tells the Ottawa Citizen that the number of pregnant women ending up in intensive care with COVID-19 is unprecedented. “There have never been this many pregnant women in ICU in the history of our country, or our province. This is unprecedented,” Mark Walker says. While less than six pregnant women are in ICU in Ottawa, he said, pregnant women make up more than half of critically ill patients in some Toronto ICUs.
  • On Tuesday — for the first time — some local patients at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre were transferred out of the city to make room for incoming COVID-19 patients who require access to the hospital's specialized facilities, the Kingstonist reports. Since March 1 of this year, KHSC has received 60 COVID-19 patients from hospitals outside of southeastern Ontario.
  • One Peterborough-based man is fighting what he considers a wrongful dismissal from Kawartha Credit Union, which took place after he had battled the symptoms of COVID-19 for months, patients often known as “long-haulers.” Rob Kingston filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, claiming discrimination on the basis of a disability, CBC News reports.
  • Two nurses spoke with CTV News about their experience of being recently redeployed to ICU COVID-19 units in Ottawa hospitals. "I’ve only been back for two shifts and out of those two shifts, I’ve had one patient die," said Christie Cowan, one redeployed ICU nurse.

Southwestern

  • The Waterloo Region's mental health system is under increasing pressure as people seek help for more acute mental illness conditions during the pandemic, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.
  • Police, public health and municipal officials are urging people to observe stay-at-home orders and not attend an anti-lockdown rally in Stratford this weekend, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • Mandating COVID-19 vaccinations may be suitable in some situations, such as in some healthcare settings, but not for the general public, a Western University bioethicist tells the London Free Press.
  • With seven new cases of COVID-19 among London transit workers, it's time to make these workers a priority for vaccination, the union that represents them tells the London Free Press.
  • A number of COVID-19 vaccination clinics across southwestern Ontario are providing First Nation populations with a culturally supportive experience to help tackle concerns over the vaccination process, CTV Windsor reports.
  • Lakeshore has reopened its boat launch and playgrounds but other outdoor recreational ammenities remain closed, CTV Windsor reports.
  • Canadian border guards in the Windsor area say they're experiencing more aggression from Canadian travellers, CBC Windsor reports.


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