COVID-19: What you need to know for February 4

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Feb 04, 2021

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This article was last updated on Thursday at 4:11 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 1,563 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 273,660 since the pandemic began; 1,101 people are in hospital, 323 of them in intensive care, and 241 on ventilators. To date, 6,393 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 206 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 701 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 758 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,627 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
JMG Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMG Covid Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of February 4, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are eight new school-related student cases (for a total of 5,172), one new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,108), and no new case in "individuals not identified" (for a total of 1,118); 46 schools have a reported case, and one school is currently closed.

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  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 355,055 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

  • The Ontario government announced that in-person learning will resume at schools in most of Ontario on February 8, but students in Toronto, Peel and York regions will  return to the classroom on February 16. In addition, the government has announced measures like asymptomatic testing for students and staff and mandatory masking requirement for students in Grades 1-3, among others, to protect student and staff against COVID-19.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of February 3, there are 584 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 88,533 since the pandemic began; 26 of them are in hospital. In total, 22 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 and will continue to provide reduced reporting until February 8.
  • Eileen de Villa says that for schools in Toronto "to reopen, there can only be the rigorous application of best practices," reports CP24. The city's chief medical officer of health has said that Toronto Public Health's guidance on school reopening is comprehensive and updated regularly. “I would say the majority of the public health community, and many leading institutions and experts believe schools can return to in-class learning if comprehensive safety protocols are followed," said de Villa.
  • Toronto's largest homeless shelter, Seaton House, is dealing with an outbreak that has resulted in 20 residents testing positive for COVID-19 reports CP24.
  • Yesterday, the city of Toronto unvelied a Black Community COVID-19 Response Plan developed in December 2020 to provide enhanced support for Black Torontonians. To help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and effectively address the issues around vaccine trust and confidence within Black communities, the city has partnered with community agencies to provide COVID-19 health and safety awareness in Black communities and work with experts to prepare for and support immunization.
  • Yesterday, the Toronto City Council approved the extension of the city of Toronto’s temporary mask bylaws until the end of city council’s June 8 and 9, 2021 meeting.
  • Students in the Hamilton and Niagara area will be returning to in-person classes on Monday. Local school boards told CHCH News they're prepared to welcome students back.
  • The leader of Hamilton's pandemic response, Paul Johnson, said Wednesday the level of compliance with COVID-19-prevention practices at local businesses is not what the city hopes for. As the Hamilton Spectator reports, a weekend enforcement effort found 48 per cent of stores were complying with the rules. After visiting 162 businesses, inspectors issued 18 orders, 41 warnings and laid 19 charges, most due to screening, safety plans and capacity limits.
  • As of Thursday, pet groomers will officially be allowed to operate in Ontario. Although nearby municipalities let this happen already, Hamilton did not.
    Before the province's mandate, Hamilton's mayor and staff at the emergency operations centre said there was no grey area, and they did not agree with nearby cities allowing pet groomers operate.
  • The price of the average detached, single-family Hamilton home has gone up 33 per cent in one year. Real estate insiders tell CHCH News they think working from home has caused people to desire more space. They also say this could impact renters, who may find the properties they live in on the market.
  • A Hamilton Spectator analysis finds just over 70 per cent of all 506 COVID-19 cases in long-term care residents occurred in four of the city's 28 homes: Grace Villa, Shalom Village, Chartwell Willowgrove and St. Joseph's Villa. Those four homes accounted for 75 per cent of all 119 deaths involving LTC residents. Two retirement homes in the city accounted for 54 per cent of infections and 70 per cent of coronavirus deaths. Province-wide studies show similar trends, with the majority of cases occurring in relatively few homes. One study shows 86 per cent of cases in LTC homes occurred in 10 per cent of Ontario's 626 homes.

Indigenous

  • As of February 2, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 2,112 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 169 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 539 COVID-19 cases.
  • Yesterday, the 100th community member in Fort Severn received the vaccine to protect against COVID-19. Ornge says many residents who were initially hesitant about the vaccine are changing their minds and coming to the clinic.
  • As of February 3 at 1:52 p.m., Six Nations of the Grand River was reporting three new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 11 active cases in the community.
  • Join First Nations Health Managers Association in their COVID-19 virtual town hall today, and every Thursday, at 1p.m.

Northern

  • Algoma Public Health reports six new cases; four in Sault Ste. Marie, one in Elliot Lake, and one in Central and East Algoma. There are currently 27 active cases in the district, two of which are hospitalized.
  • The North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit reported one new case yesterday, bringing the total case count in its area to seven, according to Bay Today. Five are in the Nipissing District, while two are in Parry Sound. Additionally, there is currently one active case in the Timiskaming Health Unit's area, according to Bay Today.
  • Four more residents died at the Kapuskasing Extendicare, bringing the total number of COVID deaths at the facility to 11 since the outbreak started January 6, according to CBC. There 31 active cases among residents and 13 active among staff bringing the total to 44 active cases in the long-term-care home.
  • The positive COVID-19 case in Moosonee has recovered, leaving only one active case in Moose Factory, according to the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority.
  • Greater Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger has spoken to Premier Doug Ford about the possibility of a northern bubble, according to a statement the city released yesterday. Mayor Bigger says Ford would "explore options" with the solicitor general about the possibility of road checks along Highway 69, which connects Sudbury to Barrie and Toronto. Ford indicated to Bigger that he would use "enhanced communication efforts" to reititerate the premier's message to stay home.
  • Thunder Bay OPP are clarifying that a resident who hosted a party with 23 people has not been charged $880 under the Reopening Ontario Act as previously stated in a press release, but instead has been issued a summons for court, which could result in a “much larger fine,” reports TBNewswatch.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has declared an outbreak at Chartwell Hilldale Retirement Residence, with one staff member testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro says the state of emergency announced in Thunder Bay earlier this week is related to two ongoing outbreaks at correctional facilities in the city, TBNewswatch reports. The mayor has requested assistance from the province to expand an isolation centre for inmates who may be released while positive for the virus, or still awaiting COVID-19 test results.

Eastern

  • CBC reports that some Ottawa health-care providers are seeing a surge in missed appointments and delayed medical care, and are warning people that the health risks caused by the wait may be much higher than contracting COVID-19 at their facilities.
  • Two Ottawa homeless shelters, including the Ottawa Mission on Waller Street, are accepting new clients again after temporarily pausing intake because of COVID-19 cases at their facilities, reports CBC.

  • Two new cases of COVID-19 were reported by Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health on Wednesday, writes the Kingston Whig Standard. According to the paper, one of those cases is a female health-care worker in her 50s whose case is under investigation, while the other is a woman in her 30s whose case is outbreak related.

  • According to Brittany Marshall, a Kingston-based psychotherapist, COVID-19 is causing more young patients to be referred to the local eating disorder clinic, reports Global News. Marshall said that the pandemic is making navigating anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders even harder for young people in Kingston.

Southwestern

  • The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 at a long-term care facility in Wallaceburg in Chatham-Kent has grown to 71, the Chatham Daily News reports.
  • Public health officials on Six Nations of the Grand River are expressing concern about cross-border travel by community members, the Simcoe Reformer reports.
  • Migrant workers won't be affected by Canada's recent travel ban that includes travel to Mexico and the Caribbean, according to Norfolk and Haldimand's medical officer of health, the Simcoe Reformer reports.
  • The City of Windsor officials are grappling with a projected $38 million COVID-19-related deficit for its 2021 budget, the Windsor Star reports.
  • Many schools across the southwestern region will reopen on Monday, including those in Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph, CBC reports, in Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Huron and Perth, the London Free Press reports, in Brantford and Brant, Norfolk and Haldimand counties, the Simcoe Reformer reports, and in Windsor-Essex, the Windsor Star reports. Schools have already reopened or are scheduled to reopen this week in other parts of the region.
  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit has announced it will reopen its vaccine clinic at the Western Fair District Agriplex on Monday following the delivery of more vaccine to the facility. The clinic will be focusing on giving healthcare workers their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Windsor-Essex Public Health has asked the federal government in writing to oversee COVID-19 preventative quarantines for migrant farm workers who have begun to arrive as the region's greenhouse industry begins to ramp up its season, CBC Windsor reports.
  • Residents at Community Living Windsor facilities miss family contacts as the agency adopts a policy of no family visits indoors to protect residents and staff from COVID-19 CBC Windsor reports.

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