COVID-19: What you need to know for February 18

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on Feb 18, 2021



This article was last updated on Thursday at 3:37 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 1,038 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 289,621 since the pandemic began; 758 people are in hospital, 277 of them in intensive care, and 192 on ventilators. To date, 6,773 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 142 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 191 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 323 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,730 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 18, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 71 new school-related student cases (for a total of 5,419) 26 new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,156), and no new cases in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,125); 214 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, 489,484 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

  • As the enforcement of evictions resumes across Ontario this week, members of the NDP are proposing a bill that would prohibit residential evictions until after the pandemic ends, reports CP24.

  • In a survey of ten private schools in Ontario, eight said that they would align with the province’s recommendation to delay the term break until April 12 alongside public school boards reports the Toronto Star.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of February 17, there are 448 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 93,850 since the pandemic began; 361 of them are in hospital (19 new). In total, 2,583 people have died (20 new).
  • Toronto medical officer of health Eileen de Villa and Peel medical officer of health Lawrence Loh have asked the province to keep strict lockdowns in place in their communities for at least another two weeks amid concerns that new COVID-19 variants, reports CP24. "As a public health physician I’ve never been as concerned about the threat of COVID-19 to the health of people in our city as I am right now," said de Villa in a statement.
  • COVID-19 testing will be offered at six Toronto public schools this week, part of a new provincial mandate to test 5 per cent of schools within boards weekly, reports the Toronto Star. According to the paper, this kind of testing is aimed at kids who are not exhibiting symptoms, to get a snapshot of spread in the school, and is voluntary.

  • The more-contagious coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom is now in Hamilton. CBC Hamilton reports Hamilton public health made that information public on Wednesday, saying they are ready to deal with the variant and that COVID-19 prevention measures remain the same.
  • Hamilton is restricting access to its recreational services and facilities to local residents and organizations only, the Hamilton Spectator reports. This is because Hamilton is close to regions under stricter emergency orders. As has reported, traveler spread is a concern to public health officials, despite it having been relatively low in Hamilton. Businesses, however, must take it upon themselves to restrict services to locals, should they so choose. Hamilton's Lime Ridge Mall, which faced criticism in December for extending hours to accommodate out-of-towners, is screening shoppers using a provincial tool that does not ask for their addresses.
  • Niagara Region councillors say the province should mandate paid sick days for all workers to prevent people who are sick from feeling they must go to work. The St. Catharines Standard reports members of the public health and social services committee voted in favour of a motion to support the call to action.
  • The Standard reports Niagara's acting medical officer of health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, plans to announce new measures designed to prevent COVID-19 spread next week. While he did not confirm what they are, sources told the paper they will involve masking, lineups and compliance at local businesses. Hirji did publicly say he would reinstate an October order limiting occupancy for indoor dining.


  • As of February 16, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1383 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 207 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 745 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of February 17, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 42 cases of COVID-19 in the community.
  • The Wiikwemkoong Board of Education is back to in-class school today.
  • The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) confirmed to the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne that new COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Government of Canada at border crossings would not apply to Akwesasne residents. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that as of February 16, 2021, any non-essential travelers arriving in Canada from the United States by land and air are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test taken in the past 72 hours. Akwesasne residents are exempt from this requirement.


  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts says it expects to receive more vaccine shipments next week for the next step of its vaccine rollout. Long-term-care home staff and essential caregivers will be prioritized in this new round of vaccinations alongside alternative level of care patients in hospitals who have a confirmed admission to a home, health care workers in the Ministry of Health's “highest priority” and “very high priority” categories, and  Indigenous adults in higher risk communities. In the first round of vaccinations, the health unit vaccinated 1,729 residents of long-term-care homes, elders' lodges and at-risk retirement homes.


  • Vaccinations begin Thursday for hundreds of Indigenous elders living in Ottawa, CBC News reports.
  • Two employees have left their jobs at an Ottawa retirement home, after reports that the general manager made it possible for his wife to be vaccinated instead of one of the home’s essential workers, according to CBC News.
  • Following an outbreak in December and January at Joyceville Institution, a federal prison near Kingston, COVID-19 cases in Kingston area penitentiaries are now zero, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is boosting its self-isolation directives. It is now requiring all household members of people who've been identified as a high-risk contact for someone who has tested positive to isolate as well, CTV News reports.
  • Cases have risen slightly in the Kingston region as a result of two clusters of cases: one at a manufacturing facility and another among ten Queen’s University community members living off campus, the Kingstonist reports. (Active cases were 26 as of Wednesday). “As previously communicated, the university is requesting that all students, staff, and faculty who must travel for essential purposes outside the KFL&A, Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, and Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark region, or who have had visitors from outside the region, self-isolate for 14 days,” the university has said in a statement.


  • School boards in the Waterloo Region are working on how to begin delivering COVID-19 asymptomatic testing by Monday, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • Libraries in the Waterloo Region, Wellington County and Guelph are reopening as the province lifts its stay-at-home order in those areas, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.
  • As the pandemic wears on, a London animal shelter tells CBC London that people are stepping up to help foster pets.
  • Arenas, rinks and indoor pools are reopening in Chatham-Kent now that the province's COVID-19 stay-at-home order has been lifted in that area, Chatham Daily News reports.
  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit has announced the addition of two new COVID1-19 vaccination clinics in addition to two currently operating. The clinics, which are not expected to open to the public for several weeks, are both located in London. The health unit is also operating another clinic in London and opened one in Mt. Brydges, west of the city, today, CTV London reports.
  • Health officials in Windsor are struggling to address an outbreak in the city's homeless population, the Windsor Star reports. So far, 47 people who have tested positive with the virus are being supported in an isolation centre that is being run by the city.

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