COVID-19: What you need to know for April 30

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Apr 30, 2021

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This article was last updated on Friday at 4:58 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 3,887 new cases in Ontario, for a total of  463,364 since the pandemic began; 2,201 people are in hospital, 883 of them in intensive care, and 632 on ventilators. To date, 8,050 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 49 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 52 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 148 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 112,214 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 5,139,984 since December 2020. 4,397,764 people have received only one dose, and 371,110 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.
  • In response to an expected increase in vaccine supply from the federal government, the Ontario government announced yesterday that it will ramp up its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to further support at-risk communities. This includes a targeted commitment to allocate 50 per cent of upcoming vaccine shipments to hot spot communities as identified by postal code. Approximately 800,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ontario per week at the start of May, ramping up to 940,000 doses per week by the end of May. The government has also developed an anticipated schedule to expand eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine throughout May, with individuals aged 18 and older eligible to book through the provincial booking system as early as the week of May 24, 2021.

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  • The provincial government announced that effective today, individuals aged 55 and over are eligible to book a vaccine appointment. This same day, a pilot will launch through select pharmacy locations in hot spot communities to administer the Pfizer vaccine to individuals aged 55 and over. Eight stores in Peel and eight in Toronto will participate in this pilot, with each location receiving approximately 150 doses per week to help Ontario continue to grow provincewide capacity to vaccinate as many individuals as quickly as possible. This is expected to expand to additional public health units later in May following evaluation of the program and as supply allows. Pharmacies will continue to use their own booking system for appointments.
  • Speaking to CP24 on Friday morning, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said officials hope to soon release details about what outdoor activities can resume."I really think it is important that we don't just talk about golf but we talk about outdoor activities in general," she said.

  • Ontario's latest COVID-19 modelling shows that while new COVID-19 cases are beginning to decline, hospitals are still under strain — and a fourth wave remains possible. Read the full briefing on TVO.org.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of April 30, there are 1,269 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 148,155 since the pandemic began; 1,073 of them are in hospital. In total, 3,084 people have died.
  • Toronto residents 55 to 59 can join those age 60 and older in being able to book vaccination appointments online or by phone for City-run clinics and some Team Toronto partner clinics. A news release from the City notes that there are appointments at City-run clinics available as early as next week for eligible groups.
  • On Thursday, Michael Garron Hospital released a statement saying it identified “potential risks to its oxygen supply” due to the high volume of COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen at the hospital, reports CP24. Mark Fam, vice president of Programs confirmed to the news outlet that 10 patients had to be transferred to other hospitals to reduce oxygen demand. He added that they also postponed seven surgeries.

  • Refugees, immigrants and other recent newcomers to Ontario are being vaccinated for COVID-19 at much lower rates than Canadian-born or long-term residents, reports the Toronto Star. A new report by the non-profit ICES, formerly the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences acknowledges that the province’s decision to target hot spots and expand age eligibility in early April has resulted in an overall increase in vaccinations in these neighbourhoods, but finds that vaccine coverage continues to lag in immigrants, refugees and recent OHIP registrants, including older adults.

  • Ameil Joseph, a member of the Hamilton Vaccine Readiness Network, tells the Hamilton Spectator he felt he had to address the racist posts and messages he was seeing online after Hamilton announced it would prioritize racialized people for COVID-19 vaccination. In Hamilton, as elsewhere in Ontario, people of colour are more likely to get sick and die from the coronavirus than white people. Visible minorities account for 19 per cent of Hamilton's population, but account for about half the city's cases. They have also been less likely to get vaccinated. Joseph says given those facts, a lot of the backlash he's seen can be identified as racist and hateful, and should be documented as such.

  • The Spectator also reports that despite seemingly-contrary messages, community groups in Hamilton are booking Black and other racialized residents into vaccine appointments no matter which postal code they live in. The city confirmed that community health centres and other agencies are booking people based on their own knowledge of vulnerable and at-risk people. People of colour in hot spot postal codes can book vaccines through the city's hotline if they're 18 or older.

  • Community leaders in St. Catharines are condemning yet another protest against public health measures planned for this weekend. This one will take place a the cenotaph in St. Catharines, which Niagara zone commander for Royal Canadian Legion Lloyd Cull calls disrespectful to veterans. “Protesting because you don’t like the lockdown and don’t want to wear a piece of cloth over your mouth is ridiculous. If a mask saves one life, it is worth wearing," he tells the St. Catharines Standard. The city's mayor has pointed out that the virus has been particularly deadly to people of the generation that fought in World War II.

Indigenous

  • As of April 28, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 723 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 312 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 1,885 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.

Northern

  • Around 68 per cent of new cases over the last week within Public Health Sudbury and Districts were variants of concern, the health unit reports. Between April 22 and 28, there were 53 new cases and 121 resolved for a total of 81 active cases, as well as four active outbreaks ongoing. There were also two deaths in that period, bringing the total to 27 since the start of the pandemic.
  • Taxi companies across the northeast have been assisting in driving people to their vaccine appointments, CBC Sudbury reports. Lockerby Taxi in Sudbury, U-Need-a-Cab in North Bay and PUC services in Sault Ste. Marie have all undergone iniatives to help people with their essential travel.
  • Several pharmacies in Sault Ste. Marie have run out of AstraZeneca vaccines and aren't sure when they'll recieve their next shipment, Soo Today reports. “We haven’t been told by the Ministry of Health when we will be getting more. We’re just waiting. They’ll just ship them to us when they’re available to us," Taryn Reid, a pharmacist at the Loblaws pharmacy in Sault Ste. Marie, tells Soo Today.
  • Yesterday, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit declared the COVID-19 outbreak among people in Thunder Bay experiencing homelessness over. The outbreak, declared February 10, was resolved through “collaborative and sustained effort by numerous community partners...enhanced infection and prevention control measures, and targeted immunization,” according to the release. The health unit says measures will be kept in place in order to identify and manage any further outbreaks.
  • Pharmacies in Thunder Bay are feeling the effects of reduced vaccine shipments, TBNewswatch reports. Vinay Kapoor, pharmacist and owner of Dawson Heights Pharmacy in Thunder Bay, says his store hasn’t received any vaccines for six days, and he doesn’t know when they will get more.
  • Though the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in the Thunder Bay District has been lower than it previously was, Janet DeMille, Thunder Bay’s medical officer of health, is optimistic that vaccination rates will increase in May, despite uncertainty surrounding the number of vaccines being shipped to the city, TBNewswatch reports. So far, 41 per cent of eligible people 16 years and up in Thunder Bay have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 34.6 per cent of people in the Thunder Bay District have received at least one dose, according to health unit data.

Eastern

  • Active cases in the Kingston region were at 81 on Thursday, which would put the region in the red zone, despite the stay-at-home order, Global News reports. “That’s still heading upwards instead of downwards, despite being in a lockdown situation and despite everyone trying to stay to their household,” said medical officer of health Kieran Moore.
  • Sixteen Ottawa councilors have signed a letter calling for the provincial government to allow certain outdoor recreational activities to reopen during the stay-at-home order, in particular, golf, tennis, and pickleball, Global News reports.
  • Peterborough Public Health is reminding people not to travel to secondary residences or vacation homes after the health unit traced five new cases of COVID-19 and 25 high-risk contacts to a Peterborough area Airbnb, which was rented out to people from outside the region, Global News reports.
  • Following the conclusion of police and public health investigations into a party in February at Severn Court Student Residence in Peterborough, which led to a COVID-19 outbreak and the death of a student, Fleming College has now begun its own investigation, Global News reports.

Southwestern

  • Researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing a spit test for COVID-19 that will deliver results in 20 minutes, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.
  • A pilot that puts rapid COVID-19 screening kits into the hands of businesses in Stratford will expand to include businesses in nearby St. Marys and other locations in Perth County, Blackburn News reports.
  • Service Employees International Union wants a Cambridge hospital to pay health-care workers if they have to self-isolate because of exposure to COVID-19, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.
  • One charge has been laid and more are coming following an anti-lockdown protest in Chatham, local police tell Blackburn News.
  • Windsor taxi drivers are speaking out about not being included in the province's new three-day sick leave payment program, CTV Windsor reports.
  • Two cases of a COVID-19 variant that emerged in Brazil have been confirmed in Windsor-Essex, CBC Windsor reports.

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