COVID-19: What you need to know for August 31

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on Aug 31, 2021




  • Per today's government report, there are 525 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 565,550 since the pandemic began; 336 people are in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, while 158 are in intensive care who either previously tested positive or have currently tested positive, and 93 patients are on ventilators. To date, 9,503 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 8 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 29 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 20 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,794 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 31,176 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 20,757,954 since December 2020. 872,286 people have received only one dose, and 9,942,834 people have received both doses. 82.95 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received their first dose of vaccine and 76.26 per cent have received their second.
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Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • The Ontario government has updated its screening guidance ahead of students returning to classrooms next week and will no longer include runny noses, sore throats and headaches among the list of symptoms associated with COVID-19, reports CP24. 
  • Ontario will unveil a COVID-19 vaccination passport system for entry into restaurants, gyms, theatres and other non-essential venues as early as Wednesday, while it waits for a federal proof-of-vaccination certificate that’s common to all provinces, reports the Toronto Star.

  • Citing a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. State Department is asking Americans to reconsider travel to Canada, reports Blackburn News. Level 3 is the second-highest notice the CDC issues for travellers going abroad. “Because of the current situation in Canada, all travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants,” said the notice.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to August 30 data, Toronto reported 434 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, for a total of 174,236 since the pandemic began; 54 of them are in hospital (three new). In total, 3,619 people have died (zero new). Data as of August 30 includes case counts and outcomes since August 27. 
  • Toronto's public transit agency said Monday it will run more trains and buses starting next week, in time for the start of the new school year, reports CP24.
  • A city news release on behalf of Hamilton's medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson says it is "strongly recommended" local employers develop workplace vaccination policies to protect workers and customers from COVID-19. She says policies should explain their purpose and what actions workers must take, adding all should require disclosing vaccination status with proof of two doses, unvaccinated employees presenting proof of any medical exemptions, and unvaccinated employees taking training on the risks of not having their shots.
  • The Hamilton Spectator surveyed a number of Hamilton’s largest employers to see their plans for workplace vaccine policies.
  • The Spectator reports some summer camps have had to close early due to COVID-19 outbreaks. A pediatrician tells the paper there's a risk to children of getting COVID-19 in schools, but adds he does not think the risk outweighs the benefit of in-person learning.
  • Haldimand-Norfolk continues to be the only health unit in Ontario with fewer than 70 per cent of eligible residents vaccinated against COVID-19, the Spectator reports. In the last week, the double-vaccinated population rose one per cent from 68.7 to 69.7. That leaves about 25,000 people 12 and up who don't have their shots despite being eligible. At this rate, it would take over five months to get 90 per cent of the population fully vaccinated (the threshold health officials say is needed to stop the spread of the Delta variant).
  • The St. Catharines Standard reports St. Catharines is developing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for all city staff and volunteers who work in its facilities. City council unanimously supported a motion directing staff to do so, following Niagara Region's lead.


  • As of August 24, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 727,801 doses have been administered, of that 317,602 were second doses in individuals 12 and older.
  • As of August 26, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 889 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 393 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 2,974 COVID-19 cases.


  • Renfrew County residents who have yet to receive their second vaccination can expect an automated call from the local health unit encouraging them to get the shot, if more than 40 days have elapsed since their first shot, Renfrew Today reports.
  • Parties are beginning to take off in Kingston’s University District, as Queen’s students begin to move into residences ahead of the official move-in this weekend, Global News reports. Last weekend, Kingston police and bylaw officers issued several fines and tickets following large parties in the district, including one street party with up to 200 people.
  • The Ottawa Catholic School Board has updated its mask policies on Monday, including requiring masks for kindergarteners; Ontario-wide policy only mandates mask wearing for grades 1 through 12, and recommends it for kindergarteners, CTV News reports.
  • Ottawa’s mayor and board of health chair wrote Monday to Doug Ford calling for a province-wide proof of vaccination system, CTV News reports. They wrote that small businesses will be disadvantaged if the province doesn’t create the records, which have been referred to as “vaccine passports.”


  • Algoma Public Health reported three new cases in the Sault Ste. Marie area. There are 16 active cases in the region and two hospitalizations.
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts' medical officer of health Penny Sutcliffe "strongly" recommends employers to create vaccination policies for employees. The health unit created a vaccine policy tool kit for employers to help put together a policy with educational material.
  • The Sudbury Star reports there are seven new cases in the Sudbury area, with a total of 41 active cases in Public Health Sudbury and Districts.
  • The Weeneebayko Area Heath Authority says there is one new case in Kashechewan, for a total of one active case in the James and Hudson Bays.


  • Haldimand-Norfolk’s acting medical officer of health has voiced support for COVID-19 vaccination passports in the province, reports Chatham Daily News. 
  • The Sarnia Sting will allow 1,000 fans at their annual Black and White intrasquad game Thursday and at all three home pre-season games, reports the Daily News.

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