COVID-19: What you need to know for February 25

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Feb 25, 2021

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This article was last updated on Thursday at 4:05 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 1,138 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 297,311 since the pandemic began; 687 people are in hospital, 283 of them in intensive care, and 182 on ventilators. To date, 6,916 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 111 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 105 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 206 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,742 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
JMM Covid Graph Feb 25
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM Covid Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of February 25, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 70 new school-related student cases (for a total of 5,865) 12 new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,365), and one new case in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,131); 430 schools have a reported case, and 18 school are currently closed.

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  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 602,848 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

  • The Ontario government announced that it is investing over $115 million to train up to 8,200 new personal support workers (PSWs) for high-demand jobs in Ontario's health and long-term-care sectors. According to the government's announcement, the Accelerated PSW Training Program is a tuition-free opportunity for 6,000 new students and is expected to take only six months to complete, rather than the typical eight months. After three months of coursework, and experiential learning in a clinical setting, students will complete the final three months in paid onsite training in a long-term care home or in a home and community care environment.

  • CP24 reports that several international travellers arriving at Toronto's Pearson International Airport have refused to comply with a new rule requiring a three-day hotel quarantine. Under the new restrictions, travellers have to take a COVID-19 test after landing in Canada and spend up to three days of their 14-day quarantine period in a designated hotel to await their test results.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of February 24, there are 393 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 96,363 since the pandemic began; 353 of them are in hospital (19 new). In total, 2,628 people have died (8 new).
  • Yesterday, the City of Toronto announced that it is extending the cancellation of in-person City-led and City-permitted major outdoor events to July 1, this includes Canada Day parades, festivals and fireworks.
  • As of yesterday, eight schools in Toronto have at least one case linked to a screened positive or probable Variant of Concern. According to a news release from the City, the affected individuals and cohorts have been dismissed from school with guidance based on their level of risk, and Toronto Public Health has followed up with close contacts in affected class cohorts and has recommended testing.
  • Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is pushing for the city to be placed in the red zone of the province's colour-coded framework for COVID-19 restrictions once the stay-at-home order is lifted, reports CP24. "I am so proud of what we have accomplished, and we can't risk what we have achieved. Let's continue doing the same thing that got us here, remaining vigilant so that our numbers continue to go down even further," said Crombie at a news conference on Wednesday.
  • Since each of Ontario's 34 public health units is responsible for the distribution of vaccines and the operation of immunization clinics, CBC reports that people in the Greater Toronto Area should expect a range of different experiences when the province's mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign begins, depending largely on which city they live in. 
  • The City of Hamilton is going to lobby provincial and federal governments to legislate paid sick leave for Ontario workers during the pandemic. While the push was originally for permanent paid sick leave provisions, an amendment by Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who previously said paid sick days could encourage absenteeism, made the motion specific to the pandemic. As CBC Hamilton reports, it passed 11 to 4. Councillors in favour of that limiting of the original motion said doing so would make the province likelier to support it, and prevent small businesses form facing long-term increased costs.
  • The COVID-19 outbreak at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre is keeping inmates from their lawyers and families, advocates tell the Hamilton Spectator. One woman said her son with asthma is imprisoned and was unable to call her for nearly a week, which she found terrifying, since she did not know if he was OK.
  • The Spectator also reports a list of what is known and unknown about Hamilton's vaccination effort, including how many are to be issued per day at various sites.
  • In Niagara, the acting medical officer of health, Mustafa Hirji, says public health staff will not wait for the province to open its vaccination registry before they start vaccinating people over 80. The St. Catharines Standard reports there are 20,000 people older than 80 in Niagara, and that Hirji says vaccines will not wait in freezers.
  • Niagara's anonymous grocery donor is supplying a pickup at Market Square in St. Catharines on Friday at 2 p.m., Niagara This Week reports.

Indigenous

  • As of February 23, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1,443 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 220 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 858 COVID-19 cases.
  • The Tyendinaga Mohawk COVID-19 response team have been notified of a new positive case of COVID-19 on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
  • As of February 24, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 29 active cases of COVID-19 in the community.
  • Neskantaga First Nation has declared a state of emergency because members living off reserve are contracting the COVID-19 virus. There are 12 Neskantaga First Nation members in Thunder Bay with COVID-19, one on ventilator in intensive care and more being hospitalized, reports APTN. Over 200 Nesktantaga residents live off reserve due to lack of housing.

Northern

  • A second case of the COVID-19 variant from South Africa has been detected at the Skyline Lancelot apartment outbreak in North Bay, according to the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit. In total, 42 people have tested positive for COVID-19 during the outbreak, and 26 people have preliminary positive results for a variant that has yet to be identified. The two people who have died in the outbreak had positive preliminary variant results.
  • The outbreak at the Kapuskasing Extendicare has been declared over by the Porcupine Health Unit. According to CTV Northern Ontario, the outbreak infected 70 people, resulting in 15 deaths. "Although this is very positive news, we must not let our guard down. It is very important that we all continue to follow the public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our region and protect our most vulnerable," says the health unit.
  • Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell is pushing the province to help the NDP stop the spread of COVID-19 in Thunder Bay schools, reports TBNewswatch. The NDP on Wednesday called on the legislature to pass a motion capping class sizes at 15, while instituting a comprehensive in-school COVID-19 testing program and improved air quality in schools.
  • The Northwestern Health Unit is reporting nine new positive COVID-19 test results in the Kenora region, reports TBNewswatch. This brings the number of cases in the health unit's coverage area to 76.

Eastern

  • Ottawa’s medical officer of health says there is a “real possibility” that the city will move into the red zone next week, Global News reports.
  • Tyendinaga Mohawk Council says that a person working with the Mohawk Bus Line has tested positive for the virus, leading the line to temporarily suspend its services while the person self-isolates and contact tracing is conducted, reports the Belleville Intelligencer.
  • A Renfrew County official is pushing for a hybrid model for COVID-19 vaccinations, including mobile, in-person and stationary clinics, reports 96.1 Renfrew Today. Warden Debbie Robinson says that she has concerns about a model that is solely focused on a “you come to us model,” requiring travel and long line-ups.
  • The Ongwanada Resource Centre is offering mobile testing to the employees of its care homes in the Kingston, Gananoque and Napanee region, reports the Kingston Whig-Standard. The voluntary program was launched in January and has since provided more than 180 tests.

Southwestern

  • As the pandemic wears on, many Ontarians are turning to junk food to cope, a University of Guelph study has found, according to CTV Kitchener.
  • Legal challenges continue for the operators of a church in Woolwich Township in the Waterloo Region where attendance at in-person services exceeded those allowed under the Reopening Ontario Act, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • Removed mid-January during the second provincial COVID-19 lockdown, the ice at the Mitchell and District Arena will not be making a return this season, Blackburn News reports.
  • The London Health Sciences Centre is seeking provincial help to tackle a surgery backlog of 4,500 procedures that has built up over two shutdowns, the London Free Press reports
  • A COVID-19 outbreak persists at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre, CBC London reports, and notes that the facility, built to house 150 inmates, currently has 333.
  • As the greenhouse growing season ramps up and prepartions for field agriculture begin, migrant workers are arriving in the Windsor-Essex region, but which level of government should foot the bill for the COVID-19 isolation and recovery centre to serve these workers remains a point of contention, CBC Windsor reports.

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