COVID-19: What you need to know for February 22

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Feb 22, 2021

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This article was last updated on Monday at 4:10 p.m.

TVO.org reporters and editors are tracking stories about the coronavirus pandemic in all regions of the province. Here's what Ontarians need to know. 

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 1,058 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 294,144 since the pandemic began; 646 people are in hospital, 280 of them in intensive care, and 189 on ventilators. To date, 6,872 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 129 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 126 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 242 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,734 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths
JMM Covid Graph Feb 22
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM Covid Graph Feb 22
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of February 22, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 47 new school-related student cases (for a total of 5,560) eight new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,312), and no new cases in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,126); 278 schools have a reported case, and ten school are currently closed.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 556,533 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario. The government also announced that they are working with public-health units to build and expand its capacity to immunize Phase Two populations by increasing delivery networks and preparing a booking solution and customer service supports for mass vaccination clinic registrations. "I want to assure the people of this great province that we are ready to get vaccines into as many arms as possible, we simply need the supply," said Premier Ford.

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  • Some school boards in the province are reporting bus cancellations due to the weather, reports CP24.

  • In a survey of all provinces about how they record their vaccination data, the Globe and Mail learned that Ontario is one of the provinces that does not use the federal system, Panorama, which was created to manage infectious disease outbreaks. Instead, Ontario hired the accounting company Deloitte Canada to develop a new system. COVaxON, once it comes online, will manage “scheduling, client management, recording administered doses, site inventory management, receipt of vaccination” in a platform that is easy to use, said a spokesperson from the Ontario ministry of health.  

  • As students across the province return to in-person classes, the Ontario Ministry of Education says 624 of the 625 positions for public-health nurses at schools have now been filled, reports CBC.

  • Ontario has recorded a total of 401 confirmed cases of variants of concern, reports CBC. Of the total, 391 cases have been of the B.1.1.7 variant, also known as the variant first detected in the United Kingdom.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of February 21, there are 366 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 95,293 since the pandemic began; 337 of them are in hospital (10 new). In total, 2,616 people have died (2 new).
  • As York Region readies to enter the Red-Control level of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework, Markham’s mayor is urging stricter measures, reports the Toronto Star. Frank Scarpitti urged York’s chief medical officer of health, Karim Kurji, to enact stricter red zone regulations like banning indoor social gatherings of people outside one’s immediate household and lowering capacity limits of grocery stores from 75 to 50 per cent. However, Kurji believes the current restrictions are fine as is.

  • Peel Public Health has converted a field house into an "extra-large" vaccination site, set to open next month, reports CBC. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie noted that once the spot reaches full capacity "up to 600 people an hour can be vaccinated."

  • By this Friday, about 6,000 healthcare workers are set to be vaccinated in Hamilton. Hamilton Health Sciences says its fixed vaccine clinic will resume giving second doses to the workers who had their first, and new first doses soon, CBC Hamilton reports. Then, HHS will start vaccinating the general public, starting with people ages 80 and up.
  • Seven sites in Hamilton supporting vulnerable and unhoused people are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, the Hamilton Spectator reports.
  • Hamilton's medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, says she is very concerned about more-contagious variants of the COVID-19 virus. As CBC Hamilton reports, Richardson said Friday that public health contact tracers are being more conservative in who may be considered close contacts of people who test positive.
  • The St. Catharines Standard reports that on Friday, Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates issued a press release saying he wants clarity on where Niagara's diverted Moderna vaccines went several weeks ago. He also asked to know if the province will re-send that share. Public health leaders in the region have said that the delay in shipping previously-allotted vaccines was detrimental to keeping COVID-19 death and case numbers down in Niagara.

Indigenous

Northern

  • Two Sudbury schools have detected positive COVID cases in their classes, according to the Sudbury Star. Students in the Grade 5 class of École St-Augustin must self-isolate until March 2, as well the Grade R7C class at St. Charles College. "Public Health continues to investigate the situation and if any risks to the school community are identified, they may direct additional measures,” a letter to parents said. "The situation will be monitored closely, and we will provide timely updates on our school and board websites.”
  • The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) reported ten new COVID cases in Moosonee between Friday and Sunday. According to the Porcupine Health Unit, which is working with WAHA, there is a potential exposure risk at GG's Ace Hardware Store in Moosonee between February 11 to 19. Anyone who attended the store at this time is asked to self-monitor for 14 days from the last day they visited. There are currently 10 cases in the James and Hudson Bay area.
  • The North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit remains in lockdown until at least March 8, according to CBC News. The health unit continues its lockdown with Toronto and Peel region. A spike in COVID cases and variant-related outbreaks, such as the Skyline-Lancelot outbreak, are contributing to the continued lockdown. There are currently 32 cases within the health unit's area, of which 22 are a COVID variant.

Eastern

  • A COVID-19 case involving a variant “of concern” was identified in the Kingston region on the weekend, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports. Further testing is required to determine the specific variant. The case involved international travel.
  • The Toronto Star writes about the success of the Kingston region in keeping COVID-19 numbers low. Kieran Moore, the region’s medical officer of health, attributed it to: “a community that’s willing to get tested, a lab system that works locally with great turnaround time, [and] a public health system that responds within 24 hours.”
  • A resident of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Tyendinaga Mohawk Council, which released a statement on Friday.
  • Ottawa Public Health has completed four weekends of rapid COVID-19 testing focused on schools, CTV News reports. Starting Monday, Ontario school boards will be required to conduct asymptomatic testing of students and teachers in at least five percent of their schools. Screening requirements for students have also been tightened, the Ottawa Citizen reports, with children with a single, “minor” COVID-19 symptom - chiefly, runny noses - now required to stay home and get tested.
  • Four Peterborough area businesses have been ticketed for failing to comply with COVID-19 regulations and half of businesses inspected were found to not be in full compliance, Peterborough This Week reports.

Southwestern

  • Waterloo Region's medical officer of health advises wearing a mask if you're exercising outside, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.
  • Most libraries in London will reopen this week but visits are limited to 45 minutes, London Public Library has announced.
  • A rise in cases has bumped the Sarnia-Lambton region from orange last week to red provincial COVID-19 control zone this week, CTV London reports.
  • Windsor, in the process of setting its budget for the coming fiscal year, is setting its hopes on nearly $40 million from upper level governments to help with pandemic costs, CBC Windsor reports
  • Some facilities in municipalities in Essex County will re-open this week, Blackburn News reports. The area is zoned red under provincial COVID-19 controls.

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