COVID-19: What you need to know for February 3

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Feb 03, 2021

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This article was last updated on Wednesday at 4:04 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 1,172 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 272,097 since the pandemic began; 1,066 people are in hospital, 336 of them in intensive care, and 254 on ventilators. To date, 6,305 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 216 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 763 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 801 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,601 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
JMG COVID Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMG COVID Graph 2
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of February 3, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are nine new school-related student cases (for a total of 5,167), six new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,107), and no new case in "individuals not identified" (for a total of 1,118); 42 schools have a reported case, and no school is currently closed.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 344,615 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

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  • Yesterday, the Ontario government announced an updated timeline for completing the administration of first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to residents in each long-term-care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care home to February 10. Citing ongoing vaccine delays and reduced shipments as the reason for the change, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said that the Ontario government is "forging ahead with our plan to protect Ontarians, starting with our most vulnerable populations which includes remote First Nations communities."
  • CP24 reports that Ontario will announce today whether schools in regions where students are still learning virtually will reopen next week for in-person learning.

    The province has previously said that schools in five COVID-19 hot spots as well as several other regions would reopen for in-person learning by February 10.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of February 2, there are 444 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 87,969 since the pandemic began; 29 of them are in hospital. In total, 17 people have died. Toronto Public Health continues to migrate to the provincial case and contact management system, a central repository for COVID-19 data in Ontario. During this transition Toronto Public Health will temporarily reduce reporting until February 8
  • A COVID-19 outbreak that claimed the lives of more than 80 people at Tendercare Living Centre, a long-term-care home in Scarborough, is officially over, reports CP24. As of February 1, it was reported that 108 residents and 105 staff have resolved cases. 67 staff have returned to work and staffing levels for personal support workers, nurses, physicians and other roles are stable.
  • Wonton Hut, a Chinese eatery in Markham was fined $880 for not having a written workplace safety plan, reports the Toronto Star. But according to the family-owned business, they were not aware that this was a requirement because of conflicting information on provincial and regional sites. "No one came to tell us we needed this plan,” said Eddie Yeung, owner and one of three employees at Wonton Hut. “Now we find out the lack of communication with small businesses might end up costing an $880 ticket — which is a lot for us these days."
  • A survey of over 1,000 parents and 350 children during the first lock down has revealed that roughly 70 per cent of children experienced deterioration of their mental health, reports CBC. Daphne Korczak, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children says that the biggest predictor of mental health problems the researchers found was the degree of social isolation children experience. 
  • Hamilton's biggest and deadliest COVID-19 outbreak at the Grace Villa long-term-care home is over, but now, a new outbreak is underway at the home. As the Hamilton Spectator reports, the number of active cases in the residence has not been made public, but there is known to be one staff case in the latest outbreak. Grace Villa's first outbreak ended January 20 and the new one started January 31. It is also not clear if the Ministry of Long-Term Care is investigating complaints against the home made by workers alleging unsafe conditions.
  • The Spectator also reports that travel-related COVID-19 cases in Hamilton remain low, as officials' concern about international travel rises in Canada. Hamilton public health counts "travel" as anything outside the province, and recorded two related cases in the past 10 days (0.3 per cent of the 700 cases it recorded in that span). While the city's definition of travel has changed throughout the pandemic, Hamilton has recorded 149 travel cases total, less than two per cent of over 9,000 cases.
  • While Niagara's COVID-19 infection rate has trended downward recently, the region's acting medical officer of health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, says it's too soon to consider loosening restrictions. He told the St. Catharines Standard Niagara long-term-care residents should start getting their second dose of COVID-19 vaccines today. Over 72 per cent of Niagara's pandemic-related deaths occurred in the past four weeks.

Indigenous

  • As of February 1, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 2,228 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 166 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 549 COVID-19 cases.
  • The second consecutive week of testing at the Garden Village Wastewater Treatment Plant confirms the presence of COVID-19 in the samples, says Nipissing First Nation in a community notice posted on February 3. “What this early detection method tells us is that there was definitively one or more individuals with COVID19 in Garden Village at the time of this testing.”
  • Six Nations Health Services will be offering COVID-19 education and support sessions for Six Nations of the Grand River business owners on February 9, 23, and 25. These sessions are specifically designed to support small business owners on how to keep yourself safe, the community safe, and strategies for de-escalation in hostile situations and coping with stress in the workplace.
  • Six Nations of the Grand River mourns the loss of second community death due to COVID-19. “Please know we acknowledge the community’s fatigue from COVID-19, but we must remain diligent in our response for our Elders and most vulnerable,” they wrote in a statement released February 2. There are currently 10 active cases in the community.

Northern

  • Algoma Public Health (APH) confirms two new COVID cases in central and east Algoma. Additionally, APH has issued a low-exposure warning at the Tim Hortons in Blind River, located at 43 Causley Street either through walk-in or drive-through on January 30 and 31 between 4 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on February 1 at 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • École Secondaire Catholique Franco-Cité in Sturgeon Falls has reported a positive COVID case, according to the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit. The health unit dismissed the grade nine cohort to self-isolate and be tested, though an outbreak has not yet been declared because there is only one positive case so far.
  • The Porcupine Health Unit (PHU) is reporting one new COVID-19 case among residents in area of Kapuskasing, Opasatika, Val Rita-Harty, Moonbeam, Fauquier-Strickland. The case is related to an institutional outbreak and the individual is in self-isolation. Public health will notify all close contacts directly.
  • Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro has declared a state of emergency “specific to health and social services related to COVID-19,” and has requested assistance from the province for funding to support social services in the city. Meanwhile, Thunder Bay city council has passed a motion asking the province to reconsider its lockdown restrictions, in order to address inequity between big and small businesses in the region.

Eastern

  • According to the Correctional Service of Canada, all active COVID-19 cases at Joyceville Institution near Kingston were resolved as of Sunday, Global News reports. An outbreak was declared at the institution in mid-December with a total of 160 prisoners contracting the virus in the weeks following.
  • Ottawa Public Health recorded 27 new cases on Tuesday, CBC News reports. In two recent reports, the city’s public health unit emphasized the need for paid sick leave, pointing to the fact that many long-term care workers in Ottawa are precariously employed, Global News reported on Tuesday.
  • There were 36 new cases reported in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit on Monday, with a total active case count of 377, which is the first time that number has dropped below 400 since December, the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder reports.
  • Peterborough Public Health is looking for volunteers to assist with its mass vaccination clinics, which are planned for later this year, the Peterborough Examiner reports.

Southwestern

  • Ontario's ski industry wants the province to reconsider allowing it to operate if the provincial emergency shutdown order is extended, the Owen Sound Sun Times reports.
  • A Kitchener event venue says it is one of several Canadian businesses involved in a class-action suit intended after its insurer denied coverage of financial losses from the pandemic, the Waterloo Chronicle.ca reports. According to the Canadian Press, the insurer has said there is no coverage "for provincial wide shutdown orders as a result of a worldwide pandemic."
  • Pandemic-related border issues are costing manufacturing millions of dollars, a recent Canadian Association of Mold Makers survey of 39 companies, mostly in the Windsor-Essex region, has found, according to CTV Windsor.
  • Optometrists want legislative change to allow them to help deliver COVID-19 vaccinations, CTV London reports.
  • How far up the nose does that swab that's used to test for COVID-19 need to go? One of the researchers involved in a study conducted by Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute says they have found that "less than a quarter of provincial and territorial public health instructions [including Ontario's] tell practitioners to insert the swab deep enough to reach the nasopharynx." Dr. Leigh Sowerby, an otolaryngologist, says in the institute's release that “the take-home message is that if we want the most accurate test results, there is room for improvement in the test instructions."
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is telling a Guelph retirement home that it has to do better in screening staff and ensuring they are complying with precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19. According to CTV Kitchener, the local health department issued an order to the home after inspections throughout 2020 identified concerns about physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment. Guelph General Hospital is now managing the home.
  • Four staff members and one patient have tested positive for COVID-19 at a hospital in St. Marys, CTV Kitchener reports.



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