COVID-19: What you need to know for August 23

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Aug 23, 2021

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Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 639 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 560,151 since the pandemic began; 204 people are in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, while 151 are in intensive care who either previously tested positive or have currently tested positive, and 82 patients are on ventilators. To date, 9,453 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 3 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 7 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 10 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,793 confirmed resident deaths and 13 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 22,589 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 20,489,564 since December 2020. 948,786 people have received only one dose, and 9,770,389 people have received both doses. 82.21 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received their first dose of vaccine and 74.94 per cent have received their second.​​​​​​​
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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.
JMM COVID Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • The Ontario government announced that it is investing an additional $169 million to extend the temporary wage increase for personal support workers and direct support workers. According to a statement released by the government, this increase will continue until October 31, 2021 and will help stabilize staffing levels and support our frontline health care workers to ensure the province is prepared to respond to any scenario as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.
  • Fans provincewide will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to attend an Ontario Hockey League game, reports the Chatham Daily News. The OHL announced Friday its vaccination policy will expand to include all spectators and other attendees at all league events, including games and practices, effective October 7.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to August 20 data, Toronto reported 141 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, for a total of 172,767 since the pandemic began; 30 of them are in hospital (seven new). In total, 3,618 people have died (zero new).
  • Yesterday, Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto and Team Toronto vaccination partners have administered two doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 75 per cent of eligible Torontonians age 12 and older. 
  • The City of Toronto announced that today it is entering the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccination program by adding more mobile vaccination teams that will increase hyper-local vaccination opportunities.
  • The University Health Network has confirmed that any employees who decide not to get vaccinated by the end of October will be terminated, reports CTV News. UHN—whose hospitals include Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret—confirmed the new policy in a statement released Friday evening.
  • The Brampton Guardian reports that the Peel region is shifting from mass vaccination clinics to a targeted approach in "cold spots", which involve going to grocery stores, transit hubs, places of worship and community centres to remove barriers by having vaccines always available. “(There’s) what we call “cold spots” in our community, which are neighbourhoods or areas of low vaccination uptake … we’ve tried to identify pockets or communities where there might be clustering of individuals who are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated,” said Lawrence Loh, Peel's medical officer of health. 
  • While border towns such as Niagara Falls have been open to American tourists for about two weeks, the United States extended its border closure to non-essential Canadian travelers until September 21 on Friday. As CHCH News reports, Canadians can still fly to the U.S.
  • CHCH also reports that this week, Hamilton city council will consider a mandatory vaccination policy for city workers. Mayor Fred Eisenberger has said there will be justifiable exemptions but has yet to outline consequences. More details are expected in council. Burlington is expected to discuss a similar mandate this week and Niagara Region's and Niagara Falls' leadership say they're reviewing options.
  • The Hamilton Spectator reports two local organizations received federal funding to help understand why some communities in Hamilton aren't getting vaccinated. About 24,000 people need to be vaccinated for the city to reach 75 per cent two-dose coverage, but fewer than 2,000 doses are being issued daily. As TVO.org has reported, barriers to vaccination can include access to information, access to technology, the hours of clinics and a lack of confidence in the healthcare system.

Indigenous

  • As of August 17, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 731,313 doses have been administered, of that 318,933 were second doses in individuals 12 and older.
  • As of August 19, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 493 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 385 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 2,960 COVID-19 cases.

Northern

  • Algoma Public Health reported two new cases in Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday.
  • The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority reports one resolved case for a total of zero cases in the region.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is reporting one new COVID-19 case, for a total of six active cases in the region. One person is currently hospitalized with the virus.
  • COVID-19 booster shots will be available to high-risk groups in the Thunder Bay region in the coming weeks, according to Janet DeMille, the city’s medical officer of health, TBNewswatch reports. Those considered high risk include long-term care residents, transplant recipients and people undergoing immunosuppressant therapy.

Eastern

  • The CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Alex Munter, said that he believes a 100 per cent vaccination rate is achievable at the hospital, Global News reports, and that he would like to see similar universal mandates at schools and child care centres.
  • On Sunday, Ottawa residents attended a ‘Safety-Palooza’ rally at Ottawa City Hall, calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all health, education, and essential workers, CTV News reports. “What more can we do to ensure safety for our kids, for our seniors, for our people with disabilities,” said Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth.
  • CBC News has broken down different vaccination policies in the Ottawa area, ranging from indecision from the Ottawa police to mandatory vaccinations at CHEO.

Southwestern

  • The Chatham Daily News reports that Chatham-Kent ranks second from the bottom among Ontario’s 34 public health units in COVID-19 vaccination rates for eligible residents.
  • Plans are now in motion for the mass immunization clinic in St. Thomas to be scaled back in size, and moved to Southwestern Public Health's 1230 Talbot Street location, reports CBC London.


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