COVID-19: What you need to know for April 7

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Apr 07, 2020

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This article was last updated at 4:32 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. 

Provincewide

  • Per today's goverment report, there are 4,726 cases in Ontario, an increase of 379 from yesterday; 614 people are in hospital, 233 of them in intensive care and 187 on ventilators. To date, 153 people have died, an increase of 21 from yesterday. Barbara Yaffe, the associate chief medical officer of health, said that the province is aware of at least 51 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities.
  • Premier Doug Ford said today that the government is launching an online portal to match and fill much-needed health-care positions with those "willing and able" to work. "Help is on the way," he said. Health-care professionals and potential employers can access the government's new website here.
  • The CBC reports that coronavirus testing in the province has been dropping over the past week. Labs issued 2,568 test results today, down from more than 6,200 on April 1. The province has the lab capacity to run 13,000 tests per day, but the province's COVID-19 assessment centres are submitting only about 3,500 tests daily, said Hayley Chazan, director of media relations for Health Minister Christine Elliott in an email.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that the government is working with a number of companies to produce up to 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators and that it is currently awaiting the arrival of a shipment of 3M masks. Talks will continue today about recalling the House to pass wage-subsidy legislation.
  • Premier Doug Ford today toured the Woodbridge Group facility in Vaughan and received the firm's first batch of personal protective equipment made in Ontario. Woodbridge has received approval from Health Canada to begin manufacturing ASTM level 3 certified masks at its facilities in Vaughan and Kitchener.

  • Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie acknowledges it is "now clear" that the CFL season will be postponed. In a statement posted on the CFL's website, Ambrosie says that the season — which typically begins mid-June — won't start before the beginning of July. 

  • The Canada Revenue Agency says that, as of midnight last night, nearly 800,000 applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit had been processed. 
  • 3M announced last night that it has reached an agreement with the Trump administration that will "enable 3M to continue sending U.S. produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply."

Greater Toronto Area

  • Toronto's medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, reported today that there are 1,449 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, 142 of them in hospital and 63 in intensive care. To date, 42 people have died. She also reported a new case in the shelter community.

  • The City of Toronto reports that it "discovered yesterday that a recently-purchased order of more than $200,000 worth of surgical masks do not meet the specifications the City requires for such masks and took immediate action, recalling these masks." The city is currently investigating how many employees in long-term-care homes wore the masks while caring for patients.

  • The City of Toronto has announced that four new food banks are now open at Toronto Public Library locations. It is also working with the Red Cross and other partners to provide food delivery for seniors and others in need. As of April 7, the Red Cross will be accepting calls at 1-833-204-9952 from those who require the service.

  • The Toronto Fringe Festival has been cancelled for the first time in its 32-year history. Organizers say that it would be impossible for artists and staff to "execute the logistics" involved with producing this year's event, which was scheduled for July 1-12. 

  • Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto are working on a robotic system that could process COVID-19 tests much faster, according to the Globe and Mail. “We could run 10,000 samples per day,” said Anne-Claude Gingras, a senior investigator at the institute and co-leader of the effort. “So this really would enable us to profile big numbers of patients.”

  • Alectra Utilities has announced that it will provide 16,800 N95 masks to health-care workers throughout its service area. The equipment will be sent to hospitals in Mississauga, Barrie, Guelph, Hamilton, Markham, St. Catharines, and Vaughan.

  • York Region has confirmed that staff have tested positive at two Longo's locations: seven at a store on Weston Road, and one at a store on Major Mackenzie Drive.

  • Mayor John Tory said yesterday that residents should not gather to celebrate upcoming religious holiday. “This year we’re facing an unprecedented threat, a deadly virus. So we are asking all families and friends to celebrate at home with the loved ones they live with all the time and to avoid travelling to see other family members or friends or gathering in large groups. An Easter Egg hunt isn’t worth your life.”

Indigenous

  • Fort William First Nation, across the Kaministiquia River from Thunder Bay, will close off its community to outsiders on Friday. Chief Peter Collins and council will order retail businesses to close.

  • The Ontario government has announced that it is investing over $37 million to support COVID-19 outbreak planning, prevention, and mitigation efforts for Indigenous people and communities — particularly those in remote and far-northern regions.

  • Six Nations council is warning against Easter gatherings as the number of COVID-19 cases grows in the community. Another confirmed case over the weekend brings the total to nine in Six Nations territory. 

  • Eabametoong First Nation, which recently confirmed its first case — the first in a remote community in Canada — is calling on the provincial and federal governments to take action: "In EFN we are overcrowded in substandard homes, living on a boil water advisory for 6822 days, with a chronic shortage of nurses in our clinic, have a population with many trauma, health and mental health vulnerabilities, including 174 clients on suboxone, over 52 elders, and do not receive enough PPE from the health authority to equip our staff." The First Nation is asking for immediate support and supplies and new capacity for a field hospital.
  • NDP MPP Charlie Angus is urging the provincial and federal governments to create a plan for flooding season. He says he is deeply concerned for the people of Kashechewan First Nation, who are “being left to fend for themselves.”

  • Wiikwemkoong Council has declared a state of emergency and issued a travel ban effective April 9 at 8 a.m. There have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wiikwemkoong but two confirmed cases on Manitoulin Island. 

Northern

  • The Thunder Bay Police Service has announced that vehicle collisions in the city dropped 38 per cent in March over the same month last year, when there were 335. TBPS responded to a total of 4,089 calls for service last month, a decline of 15 per cent over last year. The volume of domestic violence calls is unchanged.

  • Thunder Bay has seen two sewer backups in the last week caused by disposable sanitary products, such as alcohol wipes.
  • Sudbury's Off the Street Emergency Shelter program is being moved to the first floor of Canada's Best Value Inn. The second floor will house an isolation shelter.

Eastern

Southwestern

  • London Health Sciences Centre is reporting a total of 28 patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its two hospitals, 10 of whom are in either critical care or an intensive-care unit.

  • Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is asking volunteers to help make cloth masks for people to use for out-patient appointments.

  • Chatham-Kent council has voted to shift the due date for the next instalment of municipal property taxes from May 1 to July 10 and waive late-payment charges on current-year tax arrears from April 1 to July 10.

  • Windsor-Essex County health unit is reporting 227 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — more than 20 over yesterday — and six deaths in the region.

  • Marineland Canada has partnered with FDK Supply Canada to donate 22,000 N95 masks to fire and EMS workers in Niagara Region.

  • Calls to mental-health lines in the London area have jumped 50 per cent over the last three weeks, according to the CBC. The rise in volume comes at a time when the local Canadian Mental Health Association branches that operate the lines have lost 70 per cent of their volunteers — most of whom are post-secondary students — because of university and college COVID-19-related shutdowns. Since then, more than 40 medical students have stepped in to assist, says Lori Hassall, a spokesperson for the CMHA Middlesex branch, tells CBC. She says that most calls are related to worries connected with the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Guelph today announced an extended the closure of all recreation centres, libraries, museums, and theatres until April 30 and the cancellation of all scheduled city programs, performances, and events until July 5. The city's waste collection, water, and wastewater services remain operational.

  • The number of inmates at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, in London, dropped from 415 on March 13 to 284 on April 3. During the same period, the number at the South West Detention Centre, in Windsor, dropped from 295 to 214. "We anticipate the number of inmates in custody will continue to decrease over the coming weeks as we implement additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our correctional institutions," a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General told the London Free Press.

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