COVID-19: What you need to know for February 5

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Feb 05, 2021

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This article was last updated at 10:42 a.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 1,670 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 275,330 since the pandemic began; 1,043 people are in hospital, 325 of them in intensive care, and 225 on ventilators. To date, 6,438 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 208 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 591 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 730 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,640 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
covid chart
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
covid chart
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of February 5, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there is one new school-related student case (for a total of 5,172), no new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,107), and one new case in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,119); 45 schools have a reported case, and one school is currently closed.

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  • Ontario may cancel March break over concerns that the vacation period could lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases as students and their families take time off, Global News reports. Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says he’ll base the decision on forthcoming advice from the province’s chief medical officer of health. “I will follow his advice and do whatever it takes to protect Ontario families,” he said in a statement

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; 342 of them are in hospital (26 new). In total, 2,452 people have died (22 new). 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.
  • Hamilton hospital patients waiting to get into long-term care remain unvaccinated. Public-health staff tell the Hamilton Spectator that they are waiting to receive provincial direction before they vaccinate that vulnerable group. As it stands, residents in 39 high-priority long-term-care homes in the city are set to be fully vaccinated by February 21.
  • Niagara's acting medical officer of health, Mustafa Hirji, told the St. Catharines Standard that local medical officers of health were not shown the province's plan to reopen schools before it was announced publicly. This contradicts provincial messaging that the plan had their support. Hirji says medical officers did tell the province that they supported returning to in-person learning generally. He also notes that reopening schools before other sectors will allow officials to determine if they can be a significant vectors for coronavirus spread.
  • The Standard is also reporting that it is unclear why Niagara — which has an infection and death rate similar to Toronto, Peel and York — will reopen schools when those regions will not.

Indigenous

  • Some 25 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in First Nation communities in Ontario over the past week, according to the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians' latest weekly update. “As of Wednesday, February 2nd, there are 84 active cases of COVID-19 amongst First Nations communities,” reports AIAI. “There are currently 19 communities that have active cases, which is up from the 12 communities with cases at this time last week.”
  • Members of Ginoogaming First Nation are calling on the province to include the community in the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the CBC reports. The community declared a state of emergency in January after its sixth confirmed COVID-19 case in less than a week. 
  • As of February 4, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 22 active cases of COVID-19. 
  • Six Nations of the Grand River elected council received notice on February 4 that two non-resident individuals of Iroquois Lodge have tested positive for COVID-19. “The Six Nation community can be assured that the Lodge team have implemented a series of precautionary measures as a result of these two positive cases,” the council wrote in a statement.
  • The Six Nations Police Service is warning that community members are consistently travelling across the border, and Ohsweken Public Health is noticing some individuals are not staying home when they are under quarantine related to exposure to COVID-19 or because they have travelled recently. “Both of these isolation measures are the most effective tools to ensure that COVID-19 does not continue to spread within the community and across the province, and if followed more closely, will bring us back to normal,” reads a Six Nations Police Service statement. A $1,000 fine under the Quarantine Act is possible for those who fail to comply with the isolation requirements.
  • As of February 3, Indigenous Services Canada is reporting 1,869 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. There have been 172 COVID-19 related deaths in total across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 548 COVID-19 cases. 

Northern

  • The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is confirming the presence of a COVID-19 variant of concern in a case related to recent international travel. "As we've seen with the outbreaks in long-term care homes, associated to COVID-19 Variants of Concern in southern Ontario, the variants can be devastating. We must not let our guard down and we need to continue to follow public health guidelines," said Peter Chirico, the district's medical officer of health, in a statement. The health unit notes that variants have been seen near the district, pointing to cases found in the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
  • A client at Thunder Bay's Shelter House has tested positive for COVID-19, and surveillance testing is ongoing, the CBC reports. An outbreak has not been declared and the risk of exposure is considered low.

Eastern

  • More than half of Ottawa’s long-term-care homes have signed on to begin rapid testing for COVID-19 which will allow much faster detection of asymptomatic virus carriers, the Ottawa Citizen reports
  • There have been fewer than 100 new daily cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa for 14 straight days, CTV News reports. Ottawa Public Health reported 457 active cases on Thursday, down from a peak of 1,286 on January 16. 
  • Kieran Moore, Kingston region’s medical officer of health, said in a February 4 update that about 70 percent of the region’s long-term-care residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, Global News reports. Some 800 health-care workers and primary caregivers have also received a dose. 
  • There were no new COVID-19 cases reported in the Kingston region Thursday, for a total of 13 active cases, according to the Kingston Whig-Standard
  • Peterborough Public Health reported three new cases on Thursday, with a total of 31 active cases, Global News reports.

Southwestern

  • A union that represents workers on Great Lakes shipping freighters wants to know why Lambton Public Health decided to release a ship's cook from COVID-19 isolation while he was still ill, the Sarnia Observer reports. The man later died of the virus.
  • Some 43 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to an outbreak of the virus at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, the London Free Press reports.
  • The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General has sent a letter to an Aylmer church and its officials ordering them to stop holding gatherings of 10 or more people, the London Free Press reports.
  • Western University plans to resume in-person instruction for on-campus courses on February 21 and will welcome students back to residence on a staggered basis beginning mid-month, Alan Shepard, the university's president, says in a statement. But he warns spring and summer courses will be held mostly online.
  • The University of Guelph is requiring any students in residence planning to travel during reading week to do a two-week quarrantine upon their return, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • A museum in St. Marys is asking residents to recreate the poses found in local historic photographs as a way to remain connected to community heritage during the pandemic, CTV London reports.

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