COVID-19: What you need to know for April 27

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Apr 27, 2021

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This article was last updated on Tuesday at 4:26 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 3,265 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 452,126 since the pandemic began; 2,336 people are in hospital, 875 of them in intensive care, and 589 on ventilators. To date, 7,964 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 36 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 44 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 131 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,756 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 94,819 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 4,791,030 since December 2020. 4,065,904 people have received only one dose, and 362,563 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.
  • The Ontario government announced that it is expanding booking for COVID-19 vaccination appointments to individuals 45 and over in designated hot spot communities in 13 public health units, as identified by postal code, through its provincial booking system. Child care workers in licensed child care settings across the province will also be eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces will send up to three medical teams to Ontario in order to support hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 following a request from the province, reports CTV News. The federal government made the announcement in a statement issued on Monday evening in response to Ontario’s Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, who formally asked for specialized nurses to assist in intensive care, as well as other medical personnel.

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  • The province's solicitor general says she is unable to provide a timeline for when the Ford government will unveil its plan to improve paid sick leave for Ontario workers, reports CP24. On 21 separate occasions, opposition parties have put forward legislation or motions for a paid sick leave program in Ontario over the past year and each time, the Ford government has voted it down.

  • In an April 22 letter to federal finance Minster Chrystia Freeland, obtained by The Globe and Mail, Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said the province has heard from its medical and science professionals that a paid sick leave program “is critical” in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces. In the letter, Bethlenfalvy said the federal program could be improved if provinces, such as Ontario, kicked in to boost payments to those facing unemployment and loss of income during the pandemic’s third wave. “Ontario would like to move ahead and double the benefit for every Ontario application,” he wrote. “Specifically we would like everyone in Ontario to be eligible for $1,000 per week, as opposed to the current $500.”

  • The Ontario government is asking federal ministers of health and public safety for mandatory pre-departure PCR testing for all domestic air travellers entering Ontario, an extension to current rules for international passengers seeking entry into Canada, reports CP24.

  • The Toronto Star reports that Genome Canada, a non-profit funded by the federal government, is launching a new portal today that will share genome sequencing of COVID-19 faster with labs across the country. According to Catalina Lopez-Correa, executive director the Canadian COVID Genomics Network, a program under Genome Canada, the portal will help every province see which variants are popping up where, and at what rate, so that public health can make the right choices. 

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of April 26, there are 1,077 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 143,741 since the pandemic began; 1,105 of them are in hospital (49 new). In total, 3,030 people have died (seven new).
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre said Monday that it had transferred its first patient to a temporary field hospital that was set up on its grounds to help handle a crush of COVID-19 cases, reports the Toronto Star
  • Toronto police say they have laid approximately 160 charges and broken up a number of large indoor gatherings five days after launching a new initiative to enforce Ontario’s stay-at-home order, reports CP24. Most of the 210 calls received came from downtown Toronto, according to police, with Saturday, April 24 being the busiest night as officers responded to gatherings at houses, apartments, short-term rentals and businesses.
  • Toronto's homelessness sector say Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine would be easier for a transient population, reports the Toronto Star. “It’s going to be difficult to keep track of folks, especially since many are receiving the vaccine without ID or a health card," said Diana McNally of Toronto’s Drop-In Network. 
  • Under the Section 22 Class Order to address workplace COVID-19 risk, Toronto Public Health (TPH) has directed four workplaces to fully close. Seven other workplaces have also been directed to closed partially, as investigations by TPH indicate the entire operation does not need to be shut down. The Toronto Star reports that the city ordered the full closures of Classic Fire Protection Inc., High Park Nissan, a McDonald’s restaurant, and Meat & Co. Boutique Inc. It also ordered partial closures of Heroux Devtek Magtron in Scarborough, Reliance Construction in Toronto, Rex Pak Limited in Scarborough, Deciem Inc. in Etobicoke, Scepter Canada Inc. in Scarborough, The Butcher Shoppe in Etobicoke and Trend Line Furniture Limited in North York.
  • Loblaw Companies Inc. and Sobeys are reporting that 17 employees from their grocery store and pharmacy locations in Brampton recently tested positive for COVID-19, reports the Brampton Guardian.
  • Peel Regional Police have fined two people in connection with an anti-lockdown protest in Mississauga held earlier this month, reports the Brampton Guardian. Police said over 40 people attended the rally, many of whom “were not wearing masks and not complying with the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) regarding gatherings.”

  • As of Monday, Hamilton hospitals are caring for a record of 161 COVID-19 patients, the Hamilton Spectator reports. Key metrics seem to show the curve in Hamilton could be flattening, mirroring provincial trends, but officials warn those metrics could go back up. Hospitalizations tend to lag behind case counts meaning those may well continue to increase.
  • As CBC Hamilton reports, top officials at Hamilton Health Sciences say they are worried local hospitals will run out of room for COVID-19 patients if the virus continues to spread quickly in the coming weeks. Hospitals are increasing their capacity, but patient transfers from GTA hospitals are increasing too. HHS leaders say their goal is to avoid having to choose which patients receive care first.
  • Peter Jüni, the head of Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, says that in an effort to decrease mobility, Hamilton public health went too far in closing the popular escarpment stairs to recreation users. The Spectator reports that Jüni says Hamilton's overall mobility is down compared to high levels in March, particularly to workplaces, which is what he wants to see. He notes that while Torontonians should not be coming to the city to use parks and trails, the goal should not be to prevent Hamiltonians from doing so. Jüni says exercising on the stairs is low-risk so long as one is wearing a mask and keeping their distance from others.
  • Surprisingly low COVID-19 case counts on Sunday and Monday are likely the result of a reporting issue, Niagara's acting medical officer of health Mustafa Hirji tells the St. Catharines Standard. Counts of 24 and 33 new cases, respectively, are unusual given the seven-day average prior to that was 175 new cases.
  • The paper also reports pregnant women in Niagara were added to the list of high-risk populations eligible for vaccines through Niagara Health's booking portal. About 32 per cent of Niagara residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • CBC Hamilton reports 239 volunteers have put in over 2,000 hours of work at mass immunization clinics in Niagara since the first one opened on March 18. One retired communications professional says she took part to help others get vaccinated. Niagara's use of volunteers is unusual in the region. Neither Hamilton, Brant nor Haldimand-Norfolk use them, but the Haldimand-Norfolk health unit is considering it soon.

Indigenous

  • As of April 23, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 810 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 1,819 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of April 23, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 651 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 346,108 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.
  • As of April 26, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 29 active cases of COVID-19 in the community. 8 new cases were reported on Saturday and 1 new case was reported on Sunday.

Northern

  • The Timiskaming Health unit declared an outbreak at Koch Farms in Earlton and has advised an exposure warning at the farm, the North Bay Nugget reports. The health unit says anyone who visited the farm between April 18 and 26 should self-monitor for symptoms.
  • CBC Sudbury reports three patient transfers from southern Ontario at Health Sciences North, one at the Sault Area Hospital.
  • Hospitalizations continue to fall in Thunder Bay, with only 7 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and none in the ICU, based on data from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. Meanwhile, four people are hospitalized with COVID-19 within the Northwestern Health Unit’s catchment, TBNewswatch reports.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has launched a pre-registration survey for businesses whose staff are essential frontline workers. The data will be used for vaccine planning and preparedness, the health unit said in a news release.
  • Last night, Thunder Bay city council reaffirmed a call for the province to distribute vaccines based on “potential risk to communities” instead of current COVID-19 numbers, though some councillors disagreed with the “unneighbourly” move, TBNewswatch reports.
  • After making it past a checkpoint at the Ontario-Manitoba border, controversial anti-masker Chris Saccoccia is headed for Thunder Bay, TBNewswatch reports. In a statement, Mayor Bill Mauro said he was aware of a planned protest in the city on Tuesday, adding, “any event that risks increasing the spread of the virus and prolonging the lockdown is not welcome in our city.”

Eastern

  • Kingston’s Breakwater Park is set to re-open Tuesday, following closures spurred on by reports of people gathering there en masse, Global News reports. Meanwhile, Queen’s University announced two new outbreaks in its student residences over the weekend, with ten students testing positive, as of Sunday. Student move-out is continuing through April 29.
  • At a recent vaccination clinic at the Kingsway Health Centre in Manotick, 28 people did not show up for their appointment, reports CTV News. familiarly, one pharmacy owner in Westboro said they are seeing about 10 cancellations a day. According to Ottawa Public Health, people can cancel an appointment by calling 613-691-5505.
  • The Ottawa Citizen reports that four Ottawa-area residents have died suddenly in their homes of COVID-19 in the last few weeks, including most recently over the weekend, highlightng how quickly the illness can progress. Ontario’s chief coroner is investigating 28 such deaths around the province.
  • As of Tuesday, residents turning 45 or older in 2021 who live in three Ottawa “hot spots” are eligible to book a vaccine, iHeart Radio reports. Those postal codes are K1T, K1V, and K2V. According to Global News, more than 100 Ottawa residents lined up Monday morning for a chance at a walk-in vaccination at a local Loblaws pharmacy, many of whom were tipped off to the doses by the popular Twitter account Vaccine Hunters Canada.
  • Cornwall Community Hospital has been operating at full steam in response to the pandemic’s third wave, CTV News reports, including jumping from 11 to 17 ICU beds and running at 135 per cent capacity at the beginning of April. As well, 27 patients have been transferred out of the hospital to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients. Since mid-March, Brockville General Hospital has received 19 COVID patients from Kingston, Scarborough, and the Durham region.

Southwestern

  • Windsor-Essex public health officials are preparing to receive double their allocation of COVID-19 vaccines for the first two weeks of May because of hot spots throughout the region, the Windsor Star reports.
  • Windsor's mayor is self-quarantining after taking his son to medical appointments in the United States, the Windsor Star reports.
  • A Monday anti-lockdown protest in Chatham drew about 300 people, the Chatham Daily News reports.
  • London's mayor says he will stand up if the province decides to reduce vaccine supply to the London region in order to divert supplies to COVID-19 hotspots in other areas, the London Free Press reports.
  • Libraries in the London and Middlesex region are calling card holders who are seniors to encourage them to seek COVID-19 vaccinations, Blackburn News reports.
  • Middlesex-London Paramedic Service has hired 35 additional paramedics to keep up to the growth in demand linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, CTV London reports.
  • Aylmer police have laid charges against six people under the Reopening Ontario Act in connection with a Sunday church service gathering, the London Free Press reports.
  • The Grey Bruce Health Unit has launched an app to help residents find and book appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations, the Owen Sound Sun Times reports.

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