COVID-19: What you need to know for April 8

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Apr 08, 2021

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This article was last updated on Thursday at 4:10 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 3,295 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 374,112 since the pandemic began; 1,417 people are in hospital, 525 of them in intensive care, and 331 on ventilators. To date, 7,494 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 49 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 10 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 119 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,755 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
  • As of 2PM yesterday, Ontario's publicly-funded schools were reporting 245 new school-related student cases (for a total of 10,909) 56 new staff cases (for a total of 2,410) and new unspecified cases for a total of 1,159; 1,294 schools are reporting at least one case and 62 schools have been closed.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 108,563 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 2,834,784 since December 2020. 2,182,065 people have received only one dose, and 326,360 people have received both doses.

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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 provincewide stay-at-home order announced by the Ontario government begins today. The order requires everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.
  • Peter Juni, director of Ontario’s Science Advisory Table, says domestic travellers should be subject to the same strict COVID-19 quarantine and testing requirements as international travellers, reports the Toronto Star. “A distinction between country-level travel and province-level travel doesn’t make sense,” said Juni.
  • Ontario's health minister says the province has not yet finalized the protocols to deal with who gets life-saving treatment should intensive care units get overrun with COVID-19 patients, reports CTV News. There were 501 patients with COVID-19 in ICUs across the province as of Tuesday, the highest its ever been, according to Critical Care Services Ontario.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of April 7, there are 1,010 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 120,557 since the pandemic began; 419 of them are in hospital (16 new). In total, 2,837 people have died (seven new).
  • In addition to the stay-at-home order, Premier Doug Ford announced yesterday that everyone over the age of 18 in the province's hardest hit neighbourhoods will be prioritized for a COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 2 of the province's vaccine distribution plan, CP24 reports. Starting next week, all education workers in high-risk neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel Region will be eligible to receive a vaccine and the province says it is in the process of organizing mobile teams to go into the hardest hit neighbourhoods in those two regions to vaccinate all residents over the age of 18. The province said it will also start vaccinating all adult workers at large workplaces in hot spot neighbourhoods.
  • On Monday, April 12 at 11 a.m., the City of Toronto will open its final three City-operated vaccination clinics in Cloverdale Mall, North Toronto Memorial Community Centre, and Carmine Stefano Community Centre. According to a statement, community interest in these new clinics is very high, with all three being nearly fully booked for the first few days of operation. 

  • Education workers in Hamilton and Burlington's high-risk neighbourhoods will be prioritized for vaccines following staff in Toronto and Peel's high risk schools, who are set to receive shots next week. CBC Hamilton reports Hamilton's public school board chair says vaccinating educators will help keep schools open and make in-person learning safer.

  • Hamilton's medical officer of health, Elizabeth Richardson, says she plans to direct local school boards to prepare for a switch to online learning, which she could order over the next week. CBC Hamilton reports 43 of 120 Hamilton schools have had at least one outbreak of COVID-19, with 98 cases of the virus in schools connected to outbreaks. In total, there have been 338 cases in schools.

  • Richardson also says Hamilton has asked Ontario to add three more postal codes to the provincially-identified list of priority neighbourhoods for vaccination. The Spectator reports Richardson said she does not know when that might happen, if it does.

  • The Spectator and the St. Catharines Standard both published explainers identifying rules and changes that will take effect under Ontario's new stay-at-home order in Hamilton and Niagara, respectively.

  • As the province moves to its second stage of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the Niagara Regional Native Centre's executive director Karl Dockstader tells the Standard more than 10,000 Indigenous people in Niagara have yet to receive their first jab. Dockstader is also a journalist who hosts a radio show. He said the province's vaccine registration system does not allow Indigenous people to schedule appointments but has heard that will change soon.

  • Advocates for migrant farm workers say workers need timely access to information about Ontario's vaccine plan. As the Canadian Press reports, advocates sent public health units a letter saying workers should get consultation with health professionals, advance notice of vaccination opportunities and language assistance. In 2020, more than 1,780 migrant farm workers tested positive for COVID-19 and the virus killed three of them. Niagara Region health officials have started vaccinating some workers and plan to continue this week. Haldimand-Norfolk officials have also been vaccinating workers. The new phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout will prioritize these workers since they live in congregate settings and cannot work from home.

Indigenous

  • As of April 7, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 631 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 292 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 1,666 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of April 4, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 612 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 257,279 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, Whitehorse.

Northern

  • A recent decline in COVID-19 cases in the Thunder Bay region can be attributed to a number of things, including provincial restrictions and the resolution of large outbreaks, Dr. Janet DeMille, the medical officer of health at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit told TBNewswatch. DeMille also encouraged residents not to travel in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 variants. “When I see what’s happening in the Toronto area or other areas of the country, I feel like it’s just a matter of time before we can see that here,” DeMille told TBNewswatch.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has addressed concerns on social media that hundreds of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were being wasted, saying that “no doses are being wasted. TBDHU and its partners have measures in place to ensure this does not happen.”
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts is exceeding its vaccination rollout, according to CBC Sudbury. On tuesday, close to 20 per cent of the health unit's region has received a vaccine dose, and 97 per cent of people 80 years old and older have received a dose, compared to a provincewide rate of 85 per cent. People 70 and older are receiving vaccines, and adults 60 and older can book their appointments online.

Eastern

  • Kingston area doctors administered hundreds of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at several drive-through clinics in the region on Wednesday, reports CTV News. Those ages 55 and older were eligible to receive the shot, after the province lowered the age limit last Thursday.
  • Kingston area public health is recommending that customers who shopped at the Walmart Supercentre on Midland Avenue on April 3, between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, the Kingstonist reports.
  • In a statement posted on Twitter, Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa has said that it will be postponing non-urgent, elective surgeries requiring admissions for four weeks. The decision comes as hospitalizations hit a new high in Ottawa and the hospital rises over 100 percent capacity, Global News reports.
  • Ottawa’s positivity rate hit 8.8 percent on Wednesday (indicating the percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive), Global News reports. Over the Easter long weekend, Ottawa Bylaw officers issued charges for six illegal gatherings, as well as warnings at soccer and basketball games and a park gathering, according to CTV News.

Southwestern

  • A Sarnia politician’s call for an end to COVID-19 lockdowns was rejected by Lambton County council on April 7, reports the Chatham Daily News. Councillor Margaret Bird also failed in March to convince Sarnia city council to support her request for letters to be sent to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking that all organizations and businesses be allowed to open again without restrictions.

  • Ashley Oaks Public School in London will close todaydue to a widespread COVID-19 exposure, reports BlackBurn News.

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