COVID-19: What you need to know for December 20

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on Dec 20, 2021



This post was last updated on December 21 at 10:44 a.m.


  • Per today's government report, there are 3,784 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 653,727 since the pandemic began; 284 people are in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, while 164 are in intensive care who either previously tested positive or have currently tested positive, and patients are on ventilators. To date, 10,113 people have died. 

  • As of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 107,158 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 25,422,938 since December 2020. 742,480 people have received only one dose, 9,423,873 people have received only two doses, and 1,938,678 people have received three doses. 86.48 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 5 have received their first dose of vaccine, 81.1 per cent have received their second, and 15.17 per cent have received their third.      

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.
  • Stricter public health measures are once again in effect in Ontario as of today, with capacity limits back in place in restaurants and a smaller cap on social gatherings reports CP24. Restaurants, gyms and many other indoor settings now have a 50 per cent capacity limit. No more than 10 people can attend indoor social gatherings -- down from 25 -- and there's a maximum of 25 attendees at outdoor social gatherings, down from 100. And cinemas, arenas and other large venues are no longer allowed to serve food or drinks.

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  • Starting today, Ontarians 18 years of age and older will be able to book appointments to receive a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. To receive your booster dose, at least three months will have to have passed since your second dose — an interval that was shortened from six months by Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday reports CTV News. Residents can book their shots through the Ontario vaccine portal or by calling the provincial vaccine contact centre at 1-833-943-3900. Bookings can also be made directly through public health units that use their own booking systems, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, select pharmacies, and primary care settings.

  • An Ontario business leader is calling on the provincial government to provide immediate support to businesses hard hit by new pandemic restrictions, reports CBC News. Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said the government needs to develop a plan to help businesses weather the changes in capacity limits that took effect on Sunday. 

  • Amid rising COVID-19 case counts, the threat of the Omicron variant and new capacity limits introduced by the province, production companies across Ontario are once again being forced to cancel or postpone upcoming productions, reports the Toronto Star. On Sunday, Mirvish Productions announced that it has cancelled its highly-anticipated production of “Leopoldstadt.” Tom Stoppard’s Olivier Award-winning play was scheduled to make its North American premiere at the Princess of Wales Theatre on January 22 for a seven-week engagement.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to December 17 data, Toronto reported 829 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 188,042 since the pandemic began; 20 of them are in hospital (6 new). In total, 3,721 people have died (1 new). 
  • The TTC has announced that windows on its buses will remain open starting this weekend in an effort to boost air circulation onboard, reports CTV News. In a tweet published Saturday morning, TTC Spokesperson Stuart Green said that while it may be cooler on board as a result of the measure, ventilation is “key.”

  • On Saturday, 400 kids were vaccinated at the Toronto Zoo mobile clinic in partnership with the Scarborough Health Network (SHN) and the Scarborough Ontario Health Team (SOHT). In addition, the clinic vaccinated approximately 50 adults.

  • On Saturday, Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto and its Team Toronto partners have ramped up vaccination capacity to 1.2 million doses per month. According to a media release, Toronto Public Health (TPH) estimates that more than 1 million people will be eligible to get their booster dose when the Province lowers eligibility to 18-plus today.

  • The Greater Toronto Hockey League has postponed all competitive games until Thursday, effectively suspending play until the new year, reports CTV News. 

  • The Toronto Raptors' game against the visiting Orlando Magic on Monday has been postponed, the NBA has announced, reports CTV News


  • As of December 14, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 942,383 doses have been administered, of that 390,100 were second doses and 64,673 were third doses, in individuals aged 12+
  • As of December 17, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 879 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 559 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 4,189 COVID-19 cases.


  • Testing capacity in Ottawa isn't likely to be sufficient as COVID cases continue to rise, the Ottawa Citizen reports. The region's medical officer of health said in a statement Friday that testing is no longer available "In a timely manner" and that anyone with any symptoms, as well as their household contacts, should assume they have the variant and isolate for 10 days.
  • Active cases in the Kingston region surpassed 1,300 over the weekend, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports. This is a new record for the region, which already had the highest case rate in Canada.
  • Nili Kaplan-Myrth, a doctor in the Ottawa region who has offered several clinics for COVID-19 vaccinations, will offer another mass clinic at the TD Place stadium Monday. CTV Ottawa reports that this next Jabapalooza will offer 800 doses, and is by appointment only.
  • There are currently no new booster appointments available in Ottawa through the mass clinics, CTV Ottawa reports. Vera Etches, the region's medical officer of health, says this is due to a lack of qualified immunizers., and that there is no concern about actual vaccine supply.
  • A shipment delay in Pfizer vaccines has caused the Kingston region to switch to Moderna vaccine for those 30 and older. The region's medical officer of health says that people should take the first mRNA vaccine dose offered to them.
  • Trent University has pivoted to online exams in the middle of its exam period, the Peterborough Examiner reports. All exams will be online starting today.


  • Over the weekend, the City of Thunder Bay announced that it will be reducing capacity to 50 per cent at city rinks and recreation facilities, TBNewswatch reports. The city has also closed concession stands and is not permitting outside food and drink in recreation facilities, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Staffing shortages at Wilson Memorial General Hospital in Marathon are leading to service disruptions, CBC Thunder Bay reports. In a press release, North of Superior Healthcare Group, which operates the hospital in Marathon, says it expects interruptions to non-emergent services, including endoscopy, cataract surgery, Telehealth and chemotherapy.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is reporting 22 new COVID-19 cases today, for a total of 63 active cases in the region. Three people are currently hospitalized with the virus, with one person in ICU.

    The Northwestern Health Unit currently has 117 active COVID-19 cases, including 55 in the Kenora region and 27 in Fort Frances.


  • The Omicron variant has emerged in Grey-Bruce, CTV News London reports. The Grey Bruce Health Unit identified its first case of the strain using diagnostic testing, which takes about two weeks to produce lab results, according to a news release.
  • A downtown Windsor shelter is having trouble providing help to all those in need of its services as the pandemic increases demand and causes staffing shortages and burnout. "It's pretty scary to say the least because we are at an all-time high in terms of service needs," Rukshini Ponniah-Goulin, executive director of the Downtown Mission, tells CBC News. "We're not the only one, other shelters in the area are at capacity almost every night."
  • Police headquarters in St. Thomas has closed to the public in response to increasing COVID-19 cases and the Omicron variant, Global News reports. Local police say the building at the Colin McGregor Building at 45 Caso Crossing — which was shuttered on December 19 — will remain closed until further notice. However, appointments, such as those for fingerprinting and property pick ups, will continue.

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