COVID-19: What you need to know for April 29

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Apr 29, 2021

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Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 3,871 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 459,477 since the pandemic began; 2,248 people are in hospital, 884 of them in intensive care, and 620 on ventilators. To date, 8,029 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 45 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 41 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 139 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,757 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 120,567 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 5,027,770 since December 2020. 4,290,964 people have received only one dose, and 368,403 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 will begin moving chronically ill hospital patients out of hospitals and into long-term care homes without their consent to free up space for COVID-19 patients, reports CTV News. With an amendment to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the province will be able to move hospital patients to long-term care homes or retirements homes, provided their doctor agrees their medical needs can be met in that setting, without the patient’s consent or the consent of their substitute decision maker.
  • Ontario is not in the process of developing a mass screening technique to detect the B.1.617 coronavirus variant currently devastating India and already present in the province because global authorities have not yet deemed it a variant of concern, reports CP24.
  • The long-awaited report from Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk shows that the province’s decision to delay implementing mandatory measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in long-term-care homes may have contributed to the devastating toll that the virus inflicted on residents and staff during the first wave of the pandemic. The province began providing initial infection prevention and control direction to long-term care homes in February, 2020 but in her report Lysyk said that it was mostly “framed as guidance” at the time and that it was “was ultimately up to home operators to decide what actions to take to protect their elderly, frail and ailing residents,” reports CP24. In a response to the release of the report, minister of long-term-care Merrilee Fullerton said, “what happened in long-term care homes during this pandemic was decades in the making and a tragic result of years of neglect and underfunding of this sector. From the earliest stages through to the latest wave of COVID-19, our government has taken extensive, ongoing measures to protect the health, safety and well-being of long-term care residents, staff and their families.”
  • Health officials in Ontario are reporting a third case of a rare blood clot associated with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, reports CP24. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams said Monday that a man in his 70s is the latest person to suffer a clot after receiving a dose of the vaccine. The man is now receiving treatment in hospital.

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Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of April 27, there are 1,055 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 144,736 since the pandemic began; 1,121 of them are in hospital (43 new). In total, 3,043 people have died (13 new).
  • Yesterday, the city of Toronto released second report on COVID-19 management in its long-term-care homes. According to a statement, the report summarizes the actions taken from September 14, 2020 up to April 7, to protect the health, safety and well-being of more than 2,600 residents and more than 3,300 staff in the City’s 10 directly-operated long-term care homes during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Toronto Star reports that during COVID-19’s first wave, from March 13, 2020 to September 13, 2020, 255 residents were infected and 75 died. Many of those happened early, prompting city managers to hire more staff, with good pay and paid sick days. The city also dramatically increased visitor and staff screening, facility cleaning and other safety measures that continued after infections dropped. The pandemic’s second wave, from September 14, 2020 to April 7, 2021, saw 175 resident infections and 19 deaths.
  • Some Toronto residents are voicing their frustration on social media after finding padlocks and bags blocking off basketball nets and other amenities amid the second COVID-19 stay-at-home order, reports CTV News.
  • Around 90 postal workers are now isolating at home after Peel Public Health used a new section 22 order to shut down a shift at a mail facility in Mississauga, reports CP24. Over the past week, 12 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Toronto Exchange Office within Canada Post’s Gateway West facility at 4567 Dixie Road.
  • The City of Toronto announced yesterday that it is partnering with Vaccine Hunters Canada, a Twitter page that helps eligible Canadians find vaccines, to assist Toronto residents in identifying available next-day appointments at City-run immunization clinics. At the end of each day, the City will provide Vaccine Hunters Canada with clinic appointment availability for the next day.
  • Toronto will begin installing the infrastructure needed for curbside patios in early May to ensure restaurants and bars are ready to hit the ground running when the stay-at-home order and lockdown lifts, reports CP24. In a news release issued Wednesday afternoon, Toronto officials said that 720 curb lane cafes and 71 public parkets are being reviewed for placement as part of the city’s CafeTO program.
  • Peel region’s medical officer of health says he wouldn’t recommend reopening outdoor recreational activities right now in order to avoid mixed messaging, as the province is under a stay-at-home order amid a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports CP24 “At this time, however, I think calling for reopening is a bit challenging in my position because as I've said we are still not yet out of this very severe third wave and I think to the degree that we're trying to really get people to understand essential meetings, essential purposes only and always with precautions,” Lawrence Loh said during Brampton’s weekly COVID-19 press conference Wednesday morning.
  • An analysis of COVID-19 vaccination rates by the Hamilton Spectator finds residents in the city's poorest areas are being vaccinated at far lower rates than people living in its wealthiest. This is despite the city creating targeted vaccine clinics aimed at low-income earners and racialized populations in places where transmission is relatively high.
  • The Spectator also reports there has been an increase in rope rescues at Hamilton waterfalls during the pandemic, with more people going out to see them. Last year, 16 people were rescued by firefighters rappelling down ropes and this year, seven have been saved that way. Last year's total is the highest since 2016 and 2017 when the city fenced off part of a popular waterfall in response to accidents. Waterfall accidents have also led to three lawsuits against the city, one asking for $20 million.
  • Niagara Region is seeking to hire nurses in the fight against COVID-19. As the St. Catharines Standard reports, recruitment is apparently becoming more difficult, with nurses in demand across Ontario.

Indigenous

  • As of April 27, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 739 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 308 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 1,864 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of April 27, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 661 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 366,418 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 27, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 25 active cases of COVID-19 in the community. 8 new cases were reported on Saturday and 1 new case was reported on Sunday.
  • Six Nation Health Services is offering one-hour webinars with vaccine educators so that community members can get their vaccine-related questions answered. Webinars are taking place today at 2 p.m. and continuing every week day until May 5.
  • COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available for Indigenous adults 16 years of age or older, living in Thunder Bay, through the Mindimooyenh vaccination clinic.
  • Appointments are available for both first and second doses at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Six Nations of the Grand River. Call to book.
  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis community members who are age 16+, as well as their spouses and family household members, can book an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the St. Laurent Complex, in Ottawa.

Northern

  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit issued a release advising the public of an increase of COVID-19 variants of concern in the region: a total of 25 cases of variants of concern have been reported, including 21 that were identified in the last two weeks. The variants had been identified as B.1.1.7 and another subtype “with two mutations” that is currently undergoing testing. Many of the cases originated outside of the region.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit says 10 cases of COVID-19 associated with an outbreak at Musselwhite mine, north of Thunder Bay, are confirmed to be a variant subtype.
  • In light of patient transfers arriving from southern Ontario, the province has requested that the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre increase its ICU capacity. “The province has asked us to increase our ICU ventilator capacity by up to 30 by the end of the weekend to be able to manage what we have and what’s needed coming in,” the hospital’s COVID-19 incident management team leader, Peter Voros, told TBNewswatch.

Eastern

  • A number of staff members at the Kingston Centre Loblaws in Kingston are isolating after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the Kingstonist reports. The staff member last worked at the location on April 23.
  • A COVID-19 outbreak at Belleville General Hospital now includes two patients, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports. Earlier this week, three staff members tested positive.
  • A Toronto woman says her family was forced to hire a private company to bring her uncle’s body from Ottawa back to Toronto, after he was transferred to a hospital there and died of COVID-19, CTV News reports. Her uncle was transported from Scarborough General Hospital to Montfort Hospital in Ottawa. "We were left incredibly confused and left with no other option other than paying out of pocket to bring him home," she told CTV, citing the cost at more than $1,000.
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak among a group of people in Deep River, which is about 200 km northwest of Ottawa, CTV News reports. 15 individuals within the group, which the health unit called “tightly-knit,” have tested positive.

Southwestern

  • The director of education at Thames Valley District School Board is warning parents that it's unlikely their children will return to the classroom before the end of the school year, the London Free Press reports.
  • The operators of a food bank in a London seniors building says the numbers they're serving has doubled since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CTV London reports.
  • A report to the Waterloo Region Board of Health indicates the COVID-19 case rate in the region's BIPOC population is double and even triple the rate in the region's overall census population, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • Since students can't come to their outdoor classroom, educators with the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority are bringing the programs and the outdoors to area students through livestreaming, the Sarnia Observer reports.

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