COVID-19: What you need to know for February 16

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on Feb 16, 2021



This article was last updated on Tuesday at 4:57 p.m. reporters and editors are tracking stories about the coronavirus pandemic in all regions of the province. Here's what Ontarians need to know. 


  • Per today's government report, there are 904 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 287,736 since the pandemic began; 742 people are in hospital, 292 of them in intensive care, and 201 on ventilators. To date, 6,719 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 170 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 269 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 391 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,717 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of February 16, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 22 new school-related student cases (for a total of 5,285) one new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,125), and no new cases in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,125); 110 schools have a reported case, and four school are currently closed.

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  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 467,626 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

  • In-person learning will begin in Toronto, Peel Region and York Region today, reports CP24. The three regions are the last in Ontario to have students return to physical classrooms -- the provincial government allowed other regions to reopen shuttered schools in phases over the last few weeks.

  • The Ontario government has lifted the emergency stay-at-home order issued in January for most regions in the province, reports CP24. 27 public-health units will  return to the province's COVID-19 colour-coded tiered ranking system, while  Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, and North Bay Parry Sound are set to remain under the stay-at-home order until at least February 22.

  • On Friday, the Ontario government announced that it has deployed approximately two million rapid antigen tests and 175,000 rapid diagnostic tests to essential workplaces and highly vulnerable settings like long-term care homes and retirement homes to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of February 15, there are 344 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 93,185 since the pandemic began; 369 of them are in hospital (19 new). In total, 2,560 people have died (3 new).
  • As of today, seven health care partners and the City of Toronto will have offered COVID-19 immunization clinics to administer the second dose of vaccine at 87 long-term-care homes in Toronto. "I want to thank our health care partners for taking a leadership role and collaborating with us to ensure that our most vulnerable residents were protected through timely vaccination," said medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, in a statement from the City.  
  • Over the weekend, Toronto Public Health announced the first case of a COVID-19 variant at a shelter in the city. The case was confirmed at the Maxwell Meighen Centre, a shelter funded by the City of Toronto and operated by The Salvation Army, read a statement from the City.
  • As of today, Hamilton is in the "red" stage and Niagara is in the "grey" stage of Ontario's colour-coded pandemic-restriction framework. The decision to keep Niagara tightly-restrained prompted outrage and death threats against Niagara's acting medical officer of health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji. As CBC Hamilton reports, Niagara police are investigating threats. Political leaders across all levels of government publicly voiced support for Hirji, who faced targeted harassment in the fall too.
  • A CBC Hamilton investigation found front-line health workers used at least 1,000 technically-expired N95 masks during the early part of the pandemic. There were also points in which the supply of said masks in some hospitals would not have lasted more than 15 days.
  • The Hamilton Spectator put out a call for pandemic love stories and collected several.


  • As of February 12, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1,436 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 203 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 658 COVID-19 cases.
  • Leaders in Northern Ontario communities have been sharing their messages on social media, encouraging community members to get the vaccine to protect against COVID-19. “My job is to serve and protect,” says NAPS Sergeant Carson “and I believe I’m serving my communities by getting this vaccine.”
  • For the week of February 15, COVID-19 vaccination teams are scheduled to be in North Caribou, Wawakapewin, Kasabonika, Keewaywin, Mishkeegogamang and Moose Factory. Members of these communities are encouraged to stop by the vaccination clinics to be vaccinated.


  • One resident at Pioneer Manor, a long-term-care home in Sudbury, died this Saturday as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak at the home. The outbreak has eight positive cases, five among residents and three among staff. It is the twelfth COVID death in the region.
  • Algoma Public Health has reported its COVID fifth death in the region since the pandemic began. The health unit has released no further information out of respect for the family. “This loss of life affects all of us deeply,” said Jennifer Loo, medical officer of health. “On behalf of Algoma Public Health, we offer our most sincere condolences to this person’s loved ones.”
  • A South African COVID variant has been detected in the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit's area. As of February 13, there are 20 confirmed COVID cases with a variant of concern in the health unit's region: 18 cases in the Nipissing District and two cases in the Parry Sound District. Previously, an outbreak at the Skyline-Lancelot apartment in North Bay had the presence of the U.K. variant.
  • A 16th person has died at the Kapuskasing Extendicare on Monday, reports CTV Northern Ontario. There are three active cases among residents and nine among staff for a total of 12 active cases.


  • It appears that visitors from outside of green zones are not rushing to the Kingston region to access services and leisure activities, Global News reports. The Kingston region’s health unit is asking anyone currently under stay-at-home orders not to come to the region, though businesses cannot be fined for allowing barred visitors to access their services.
  • A new report has found that immigrants and racialized communities in Ottawa are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19, CIC News reports.
  • The stay-at-home order has been lifted in Ottawa and the city enters the orange zone, CBC News reports. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit also moves into orange, while the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit moves to green.
  • Rapid testing in long-term care homes starts rolling out on Tuesday. By mid-March, will be mandatory for anyone entering a facility, CBC News reports.
  • A Port Hope resident has been diagnosed with a variant of COVID-19, the Peterborough Examiner reports. Ian Gemmill, the acting medical officer of health for the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, told reporters that he does not know which variant was identified.


  • The stay-at-home order may no longer be in effect in Waterloo Region, but the area's medical officer of health warns people to be "extremely cautious" and remain at home unless absolutely necessary to go out, CBC Kitchener reports.
  • An outbreak of COVID-19 has closed a homeless shelter in downtown Windsor creating a "desperate" situation, its operator tells CBC Windsor.
  • Approaches to the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations differ in counties north of London, CTV London reports.
  • As a pause on evictions comes to an end with the lifting of Ontario's COVID-19 emergency orders, a London organization is working on two lists to help raise awareness of some rental conditions -- one of apartments with substandard conditions and another of vacant buildings. The lists are intended to raise awareness about housing conditions and to prompt action from the city, CTV London reports.
  • A video intended as a love letter to provide support to the arts community in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region looks at love in the time of COVID-19, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • Schools in the Wallaceburg area have produced a video to show their support to residents in a local nursing home that's experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19, Blackburn News reports.
  • The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is warning people who have visited a popular local attraction that is being used as a day shelter for people who are homeless to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 but says the risk of exposure is low.

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