This article was last updated at 4:33 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.
Ontario is reporting 3,255 active cases of COVID-19 in the province today, an increase of 462 (or 16.5 per cent) over yesterday: 67 people have now died, an increase of 14 from yesterday. There are 462 people in hospital, 194 of them in intensive care, and 140 on ventilators. Barbara Yaffe, the associate chief medical officer of health, said today that the province is aware of at least 32 outbreaks in long-term-care homes.
Premier Doug Ford announced that, effective April 4 at 11:59 p.m., the province will be directing additional workplaces to close: most industrial construction will stop; no new residential construction will start.
The province has released a revised list of businesses allowed to remain open during the epidemic. There are now 44 types of businesses listed, down from 74. Businesses allowed to remain open include grocery stores, pharmacies, and transportation services. The LCBO and the Beer Store will remain open, but cannabis stores will be required to close.
Stay up to date!
Get Current Affairs & Documentaries email updates in your inbox every morning.
Public-health officials currently project that Ontario could see 80,000 cases of COVID-19 and 1,600 deaths by April 30. However, with increasingly stringent public-health measures, that could be reduced to 12,500 cases and 200 deaths. To date, there have been 67 deaths in Ontario. Officials emphasized in their briefing to media that the better-case outcome will be possible only if the public adhere to public-health directives, such as physical distancing and self-isolation. “We feel it’s important to be transparent with the public about the scale of the challenges which together we are facing and the important work we all need to do to help fatten the curve," said Peter Donnelly, the president and CEO of Public Health Ontario. Read more analysis from TVO.org's John Michael McGrath.
According to the projections released today, the province will need to add 900 intensive-care-unit beds in the coming days to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases, even in a best-case scenario.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it would be a "mistake" for the U.S. to halt shipments of medical equipment to Canada. Trudeau was responding to news that manufacturing giant 3M had been told by the Trump administration to stop sending N95 safety masks to Canada and Latin America. He added that keeping back-and-forth trade across the border is crucial since the U.S. will also be relying on Canadian goods to weather the crisis.
At a press conference this morning, Trudeau announced that the government has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada to manage the distribution of critical equipment, such as masks, face shields, and ventilators, to the provinces and territories. Trudeau also announced that Canadian Forces soldiers are being sent to remote northern Indigenous communities in northern Quebec after a formal request from the government of that province.
Trudeau also announced that GST refund cheques, originally expected to be delivered to Canadians in May, will now be arriving in April with top-ups for qualifying tax filers of up to $300 for adults and $150 for children. The government is committing $100 million to organizations, such as Food Banks Canada and the Salvation Army, to "meet the urgent food needs of vulnerable Canadians."
According to the Canadian Bankers Association, the country's six largest banks have completed or are processing 500,000 applications for mortgage-payment deferrals. This amounts to 10 per cent of the mortgages held by the banks, or an estimated $663 million in relief per month, according to the CBA.
The CBC reports that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has started granting some internationally trained doctors a 30-day, supervised medical licence to help treat patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Ontario government has opened a new online service for people who have been tested for COVID-19, allowing them to check their results online instead of waiting for contact by phone or mail. If you've been tested for the virus and are waiting for results, you may be able to check them here.
The government has issued a new emergency order, further expanding the ability of the province's hospitals to manage their workforces and expand them without regard to existing staffing rules or union collective bargaining agreements. The new order will allow hospitals to use volunteers in any capacity, including work currently reserved for unionized employees.
Greater Toronto Area
Toronto's medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, said that, as of 1 p.m. today, there are 986 cases (812 confirmed and 174 probable). There are 89 cases in hospital, 42 of them in intensive care. In total, there have been 13 deaths. Based on Ontario's modelling, she said, the rough estimate is that Toronto may see somewhere between 600 and 3,000 deaths by the end of the pandemic.
The City of Toronto has cancelled spring recreation, arts, and museum programs.
The Toronto Star reports that one GTA health region has already exceeded the supply of ventilators it had before the outbreak. The Central West Local Heath Integration Network, which includes hospitals in Etobicoke, Brampton, and Orangeville, is operating at 127 per cent of its baseline capacity for critical-care beds with ventilators, according to government data collected Wednesday. However, the data does not include how many ventilators the hospitals have added in response to COVID-19.
- A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Oshawa Hospital. CP24 reports that "there was one hospital-acquired case of COVID-19 and a health care worker treating the patient subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 as well."
- Peel Public Health has announced the second death in its region, a man in his sixties who died at Brampton Civic Hospital.
Federal Indigenous services minister Marc Miller said yesterday that there are 15 cases of COVID-19 on First Nations across the country. “Communities are taking exceptional measures to prevent the spread of virus, including restricting travel in and out of communities, self-isolation and quarantine of returning travellers," Miller said. "And we will continue to adapt plans and provide surge capacity as the situation evolves."
- The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians has created a resource outlining enhanced public-health measures and enforcement.
Northern Ontario sawmills have been deemed essential services.
The municipality of Sioux Lookout has laid off 42 staff.
The City of Thunder Bay has temporarily laid off up to 170 employees whose work does not allow them to work from home, as well as about 620 part-time, casual, and temporary employees.
Three new COVID-19 cases in Nipigon are connected to a woman who flew to nearby Thunder Bay from Halifax.
Kenora is looking into securing the Keewatin Arena as an emergency isolation centre for the city's homeless.
Northwestern Health Unit has been notified of two positive cases of COVID-19, one in Dryden and the other in Sioux Lookout.
North Star Air has confirmed that a member of its staff has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Inter-provincial travel restrictions are affecting northeastern mining operations.
For the second day in a row, only one new case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Kingston area. The total number of cases in Kingston as of 4:10 p.m. on Friday is 48, up from 46 on April 1.
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has offered up the Canadian Tire Centre, its parking lots, and three other arenas as potential temporary COVID-19 care centres. The Ottawa Citizen reports that the offer was made earlier this week to the Ontario government.
An employee at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Kanata has tested positive for COVID-19. The store was closed on Thursday night for cleaning and reopened Friday morning The company says there is a "low risk" for customers.
The Peterborough Examiner is reporting that four more residents have died at the Pinecrest Nursing Home, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths at the long-term-care facility in Bobcaygeon to 20.
A fund to support the urgent needs of health-care workers and families of residents at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon has reached $30,000, after a $10,000 donation from Kawartha Dairy. The fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes and led by a group of local citizens, including Ward 2 councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan.
Ottawa's airport — which would typically serve 7,000 departing passengers daily — is facing a "devastating decline" in flights and revenue and is asking its government partners for support.
Peterborough Police confirmed that charges were laid against a group of people playing basketball. Global News reported that the group was asked to stop playing and leave but did not. The fine was $750.
- A COVID-19 care clinic will open in Ottawa's west end on Monday; as of April 2, there were 252 cases in the city.
- Kingston has announced that Fairfield Manor West, a former retirement home, will become a physical-distancing centre for the city's vulnerable population.
Grand River Transit in the Waterloo Region is extending free service until the end of May. But in a news release issued today, the transit provider says it will be reducing weekday bus service starting April 20 and closing customer service centres on April 10.
Owen Sound Transportation Company, which operates the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry service between Tobermory and South Baymouth, on Manitoulin Island, has announced service is delayed until further notice. The ferry was scheduled to begin its summer operations on May 1.
Windsor Regional Hospital plans to use an athletic facility owned by St. Clair College as a field hospital. The facility, which will begin to be changed over to the new use next week, will be able to treat up to 100 patients in the recovery phase of their treatments — including those recovering from COVID-19, the hospital says in a news release on Thursday.
Chatham-Kent has announced plans to lay off 100 municipal workers following the closure of municipal facilities.
Bruce County asks librarians and museum workers to assist with long-term care residents, but there are few takers, according to the Globe and Mail.
As of April 2, there are 18 cases and two deaths in Oxford, Elgin and St. Thomas; nine cases in Chatham-Kent; 59 cases and six deaths in Lambton County and Sarnia; 79 cases and three deaths in Middlesex-London; 16 cases in Huron and Perth counties; 15 cases in Grey and Bruce counties; 129 cases and two deaths in the Waterloo Region; 51 cases in Wellington and Dufferin counties and Guelph.
The Windsor-Essex County public health unit reports there are now 128 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region, along with outbreaks in two long-term care facilities and one in a retirement home.
For more information:
Ontario Hubs are made possible by the Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust & Goldie Feldman.