COVID-19: What you need to know for February 1

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Feb 01, 2021

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This article was last updated on Monday at 4:03 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 1,969 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 270,180 since the pandemic began; 1,158 people are in hospital, 354 of them in intensive care, and 260 on ventilators. To date, 6,224 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 230 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 931 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 914 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,543 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.


JMG Graph COVID 1
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMG Graph COVID 2
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of February 1, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are five new school-related student cases (for a total of 5,146), one new school-related staff case (for a total of 1,098), and one new case in "individuals not identified" (for a total of 1,115); 20 schools have a reported case, and one school is currently closed.

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  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 339,644 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

  • On Friday, the Ontario government announced immediate action to stop the spread of new COVID-19 variants throughout the province. In a statement released by the government, a a six-point plan was introduced, which includes mandatory on-arrival testing of international travellers, enhanced screening and sequencing to identify the new variants, maintaining public health measures to keep people safe, strengthening case and contact management to track the spread of new cases, enhanced protections for vulnerable populations, and leveraging the latest data to inform public health decisions. Mandatory screening for international travellers is set to begin today at Toronto's Pearson International airport.

  • Ontario's education minister, Stephen Leece, is set to make an announcement today as more students head back to school for in-person classes, reports CBC. To date, more than 500,000 students in 19 of Ontario's 34 public health units have been given a green light to return to classrooms. That includes those in the Middlesex-London, Ottawa, Southwestern and Eastern Ontario health units, areas where in-person instruction restarted this morning.

  • Canada's official COVID-19 death toll surpassed 20,000 on Sunday, reports CP24. In a statement released on Sunday Canada's chief public-health officer, Theresa Tam, asked leaders to make a special effort to recognize and acknowledge the significant mental health impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their workforce.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 31, there are 961 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 85,983 since the pandemic began; 1 of them is in hospital. In total, 18 people have died. According to Toronto Public Health, today's case counts are higher as a result of adjustments due to the transition to the provincial info system for case and contact management as announced last week. As stated in a tweet, starting tomorrow, there will be reduced reporting so Toronto Public Health can address tech issues before resuming full daily reporting.
  • The city of Toronto released a statement on Sunday urging residents to wear masks or face coverings in enclosed common spaces of apartment buildings and condominiums, such as elevators, hallways, lobbies, laundry rooms and any other shared facilities. The statement also announced that a public education campaign will be launched this week to remind residents about the municipal bylaws and provincial regulations that require everyone to wear masks or face coverings in all indoor public settings, including common areas in multi-residential buildings.
  • The Toronto Star reported that between April 1 and December 21, the city received 50,986 COVID-19-related complaints. More than half of those complaints fell under the “not physical distancing” category as assigned by 311 staff. The other categories include: not self-isolating as directed by public health (835); non-essential businesses open (9,713); removal of park barriers (1,592); non-essential construction continuing (1,068); park use (4,694); and individuals not wearing masks (6,753).
  • Roberta Place, the Barrie long-term-care home currently facing an outbreak that has been linked to the U.K. variant of COVID-19, has reported 61 deaths. CP24 reports that all but one of the 129 residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since an outbreak was declared in January. And more than 80 staff members have also tested positive for the virus.
  • Throughout the pandemic, Hamiltonians have lacked access to data about the health crisis, including how many vaccines have been issued at long-term care homes, how many vaccines the city has, the age and sex of people killed by the virus, and how many people have recovered from COVID-19. The Hamilton Spectator created a list of what's not known, why it's not known, and why that matters.
  • The paper also reports that at the height of Hamilton's biggest and deadliest coronavirus outbreak in the Grace Villa long-term care home, a provincial inspector examined the home and reported nothing wrong. This seems unusual because last week, a Hamilton MPP published anonymized letters from workers at the home alleging serious problems with hygiene, under-staffing, and a lack of supplies. Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath says the discrepancy shows flaws in Ontario's oversight system for long-term care. Despite the inspector not reporting any wrongs on December 15, the following day, the ministry responsible tasked a Hamilton hospital network with temporary management of the home.
  • Nearly half (49.4 per cent) of all people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Niagara since March 13, 2020, did so in January this year. The St. Catharines Standard reports 54 per cent of the regions deaths also happened in January.
  • Niagara This Week reports some Niagara Falls businesses are worried that an increase in required fees to the downtown BIA could hurt them. The BIA board says it needs more funds to aggressively promote the area in a difficult times, but a number of business owners are petitioning the city to direct the BIA to revisit a planned budget increase.

Indigenous

  • As of January 28, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 2,988 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 153 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 524 COVID-19 cases.
  • One new positive COVID-19 case has been identified in Moose Factory. The region now has two COVID-19 cases.
  • Wasausking First Nation is reporting no new COVID-19 cases for the week of January 25 to 29.
  • The Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority put out a video explaining how the COVID-19 vaccines work.
  • On January 27, the federal government released a COVID-19 update for Indigenous Peoples and communities. As of January 22, 2021, ISC was aware of 196 communities with vaccinations underway (for either priority groups or all adults) in First Nations on-reserve communities and in Inuit communities in the provinces and territories. Another 143 communities have clinics planned.
  • A COVID-19 outbreak in Ginoogaming First Nation continues to grow, with band leadership tightening restrictions and awaiting support from the Canadian Rangers. The number of active cases in the community, located just south of Longlac, grew to nine on Saturday. The band declared a state of emergency on January 23, after six cases were detected. Two have since been resolved.

Northern

  • A sixth COVID death has occurred during Amberwood Suite's outbreak in Sudbury, according to the Sudbury Star. 34 residents and six staff have been been infected in the outbreak, which began in early January. The Star also reports a death at the Finlandiakoti apartment building of Finlandia Village on Sunday. There are seven total cases in Finlandia Village's outbreak: five residents and two staff.
  • Algoma Public Health reported three new cases in the Sault Ste. Marie area on Saturday, bringing the total active case count to 18.
  • The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority confirms a positive case in Moose Factory Saturday. There is also an active in Moosonee, bringing the total number of cases in the James Bay to two.
  • Three people at Kapuskasing Extendicare died over the weekend during its outbreak, bringing the total deaths at the long-term care home to seven, according to the Porcupine Health Unit. As of January 30, there are 34 active cases among residents and 14 among staff, bringing the total to 48, according to the long-term care home.
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit announced the region’s 27th COVID-19 related death over the weekend.

Eastern

  • Schools in Ottawa reopened Monday for in-person learning, with added safety protocols, including a requirement that students in Grades 1-3 wear masks, CTV News reports. Secondary school students will be required to complete a daily self-assessment. Ottawa Public Health reported 46 new cases of the virus on Sunday.
  • Amid a cold snap, Ottawa’s four emergency shelters have been forced to stop taking new clients after an outbreak of COVID-19. In a statement, the shelters said that each of the shelters have seen cases, including one location with 75 cases, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
  • The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario has recorded an increase in the number of infants reporting to the hospital since September with head trauma and fractures, both of which are signs of abuse, the Toronto Star reports. “When I saw that our numbers had more than doubled over this time period, I was worried about where we were headed,” said a pediatrician at the hospital, drawing a connection to the “unprecedented stress” on new parents.
  • After MPP Randy Hillier, who has repeatedly shared incorrect information about COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, promoted a disinformation site purporting that COVID-19 is a conspiracy and has not resulted in significant deaths, Alan Drummond, a physician in Perth, said on Twitter: “Covid denial may get you killed. Mr. Hillier may get you killed. Covid is real; act accordingly.”

Southwestern

  • An Aylmer church has held another indoor service, defying provincial pandemic emergency orders about public gatherings, the London Free Press reports.
  • Summer cottage rentals in southwestern Ontario are becoming harder to get as people move earlier than usual to book their spot because of limited opportunities for vacations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the London Free Press reports.
  • A long term care home in Woodstock, where 38 residents and seven staff members have been diagnosed with COVID-19, has asked for outside help to control the outbreak, CTV Kitchener reports
  • The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health unit has cancelled all vaccinations other than those taking place in long-term care and retirement homes because of a lack of supply, CTV Kitchener reports. In the meantime, health officials in the Waterloo region tell CBC Kitchener they expect to receive their full allotment of vaccines this week.
  • Parents in the London region whose children are headed back to school today tell CTV London that their feelings are mixed. “I’m a little apprehensive but I think it’s good for them to go back to school," Trina Brown tells reporter Bryan Bicknell.

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