COVID-19: What you need to know for April 23

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Apr 23, 2021

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This article was last updated on Friday at 4.16 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 4,505 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 437,310 since the pandemic began; 2,287 people are in hospital, 818 of them in intensive care, and 593 on ventilators. To date, 7,863 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 30 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 42 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 120 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 133,872 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 4,400,674 since December 2020. 3,690,258 people have received only one dose, and 355,208 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.
  • Pregnant people in Ontario are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the provincial government announced Friday. “In response to emerging data on the increased risk of severe illness for pregnant women, all pregnant individuals will be eligible to register for vaccination appointments under the highest risk health conditions in the Phase 2 prioritization guidance starting today,” the ministry said in a statement issued today. CTV News reports that the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists had also called for pregnant people to be eligible for the shot, citing a wave of pregnant patients filling Ontario intensive care units and requiring ventilators.

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  • The latest poll conducted by Angus Reid earlier this week reveals that just 31 per cent of Ontarians now approve of Premier Doug Ford's handling of the pandemic, reports CP24. The poll also found that  43 per cent of respondents place the blame for the third wave solely at the feet of Ontario government compared to 32 per cent who blame the province and the federal government equally and 23 per cent who think it is mostly the fault of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

  • Provincial health officials are now investigating an alarming new trend of people with COVID-19 who are rapidly deteriorating and dying before seeking medical care, reports CP24. “We have been seeing a number of people dying in the community outside of the hospital, which is new, unfortunate, and sad,” Dirk Huyer told reporters during a news conference at Queen’s Park on Thursday afternoon.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of April 22, there are 1,329 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 139,296 since the pandemic began; 1,012 of them are in hospital (33 new). In total, 2,991 people have died (15 new).
  • To date, 1,004,339 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Toronto. According to a statement released by the City, Toronto is the first local health region in Canada to administer more than one million doses of vaccine.

  • Toronto and Peel Region could begin to order the temporary closure of some businesses today to control workplace COVID-19 outbreaks, reports CP24. Medical officers of health for both regions employed Section 22 orders to close businesses with recent outbreaks of five or more linked cases in the past two weeks. The shutdowns will last for 10 days and workers will have to self-isolate during that time.

  • The Toronto Star reports that as local health units grapple with neighbourhood flare-ups amid vaccine shortages, they are being forced to prioritize the hottest of the hot spots. And that means some areas on the government’s original list of vaccination priorities will take a back seat temporarily. Toronto officials announced a “sprint strategy” Wednesday to focus on ramping up vaccinations in the 13 highest-risk forward sortation areas (the first three characters in postal codes) in the northwest, Scarborough and Thorncliffe Park, prioritizing them over the 53 areas on the original provincial list.

  • Maple Lodge Farms, Maple Leaf Foods and Amazon have agreed to take part in a program to facilitate workplace sponsored pop-up clinics aimed at vaccinating employees and community members in high-risk areas, reports the Brampton Guardian. Launching over the next week, Peel Public Health will be directing the clinics, which will be supported by the Ontario government.

  • The City of Toronto will again paint circles on the grass at Trinity Bellwoods Park to encourage people to practise physical distancing while using the park. Installation work will begin next week depending on weather conditions.

  • CBC Hamilton reports that while local public health units have flexibility to suit their own needs under Ontario's vaccine rollout, it's Unclear just how far they can stray from the province's plan. The city's medical officer of health, Elizabeth Richardson, says it can be challenging to explain why and how Hamilton can do things differently, such as declaring its own hot spots or vaccinating people in shelters ahead of the province.

  • Hamilton public health are dealing with at least four construction-related outbreaks, the Hamilton Spectator reports. While some construction is still allowed under provincial restrictions, some has been deemed non-essential.

  • The union for Hamilton Street Railway bus drivers has asked the city to resume restrictions it imposed during the first surge of COVID-19. including rear-door loading, tight passenger limits and no fares. As the Spectator reports, the union says drivers also want priority access to vaccines and a "no mask, no ride, no exceptions" rule. Public health officials say such measures are not yet needed.

  • Niagara's COVID-19 case counts have yet to see a steady decline two weeks into Ontario's stay-at-home order. Acting medical officer of health Mustafa Hirji tells the St. Catharines Standard that contagious coronavirus variants, pandemic fatigue and mixed messaging from "opinion leaders" about risks are likely reasons why.

  • The Standard also reports that Niagara's regional councillors directed the region's chair to file an integrity commissioner complaint against fellow councillor and West Lincoln Mayor, Dave Bylsma, for participating in an April 10 protest against COVID-19 prevention measures.

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

Eastern

  • COVID-19 numbers are heading in the right direction in the Kingston region, with the test positivity rate sitting at 0.85 percent on Tuesday, the Kingstonist reports. “You can never let your guard down against this virus, it wants to spread rapidly. So please, limit your travels, and stay within your household,” said Kieran Moore, the region’s medical officer of health.
  • Following an outbreak in the Queen’s University district, the school’s principal, Patrick Deane, says that some students have been evicted from residence for not following COVID-19 restrictions, Global News reports. Deane said of the 40 or so students going through disciplinary proceedings, a “significant amount” were actually kicked out of residence.
  • Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, has clarified that in her push for a more pared-down list of essential businesses, that she still supports the continuation of curbside pick-up, Global News reports.
  • Pregnant people can now book a vaccination in Ontario, as the group was recently added to the list of those at “highest risk,” CBC New reports. Pregnant people are being asked to call the province’s vaccine call centre at 1-833-943-3900 to book.

Southwestern

  • Two of four people charged following a large gathering on Tuesday at the Church of God in Aylmer were off-duty Toronto police officers, the London Free Press reports. Aylmer police have laid charges under the Reopening Ontario Act. 
  • A London hospital is suspending non-urgent surgeries to prepare for a wave of transfers of critical and non-critical patients from the GTA in the coming week, the London Free Press reports. Meanwhile in Windsor, another hospital is preparing to accept 40 patients from the GTA over eight days, CTV Windsor reports.
  • A Talbotville restaurant is operating a meal program to help those in need, fuelled solely by in-kind donations, CBC London reports.
  • On Thursday, Waterloo Region public health told CTV Kitchener that three area hospitals were dealing with 62 COVID-19 patients, the greatest number of virus-related hospitalizations the area has seen. Of these, 24 people were in ICU.
  • Vaccination efforts in the Waterloo Region are expected to cost $20 million by the end of the year, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • Members of Windsor's South Asian community say a ban on flights from India to Canada will only make matters worse, CBC Windsor reports.
  • Emergency responders in Windsor tell CBC Windsor how they've had to alter their approaches during the pandemic.


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