COVID-19: What you need to know for January 12

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Jan 12, 2022

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Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 9,783 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 906,031 since the pandemic began; 3,448 people are in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, while 505 are in intensive care who either previously tested positive or have currently tested positive, and 265 patients are on ventilators. To date, 10,445 people have died.

  • According to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 290 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 1,739 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 3,254 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,875 confirmed resident deaths and 13 confirmed staff deaths.

  • As of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 159,877 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 28,853,124 since December 2020. 814,523 people have received only one dose, and 12,307,610 people have received two doses, and 5,033,258 have had three doses. 87.82 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 5 have received their first dose of vaccine and 82.02 per cent have received their second.

JMM COVID Graph
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.
JMM COVID Graph
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.
  • Internationally educated nurses will be allowed to work in Ontario hospitals, long-term care homes and other health settings grappling with pandemic-related staffing challenges, reports the Toronto Star. Christine Elliott said more than 1,200 applicants had expressed interest in the programs that would see the internationally trained professionals deployed where extra help is needed, under the supervision of another regulated health-care provider.
  • Public school students will only be eligible for free PCR COVID-19 testing if they develop symptoms while at school, a provincial document guiding the return of in-person learning states, and dismissing groups of students or even notifying families after exposures is now a thing of the past, reports CP24. “The use of take-home PCR self-collection kits will only be used in limited circumstances. These kits are to be provided only to symptomatic elementary/secondary students and education staff who become symptomatic while at school,” the new guidance states.

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  • On Monday, the province announced that children in Ontario will return to in-person learning on January. 17 following an extended break from physical classrooms, reports CP24. Schools in the province were originally slated to return to in-person learning on January 3.

  • For the first time in the pandemic, the Ontario government has started distinguishing between patients admitted to hospital due to COVID-19 and incidental admissions, which the head of the province’s science advisory table says is a good idea, reports CTV News. “It makes sense,” Dr. Peter Juni told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to January 10 data, Toronto reported 6,842 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 248,916 since the pandemic began; 306 of them are in hospital (145 new). In total, 3,784 people have died (15 new). Data as of January 10 includes case counts and outcomes since January 7.
  • Fourth doses are now being administered in all of the City of Toronto’s 10 directly-operated long-term care (LTC) homes. According to a media release, the City began vaccinating eligible residents with fourth-dose boosters in its LTC homes on January 6 to strengthen the immune response, which begins to wane in older adults, 10 to 14 weeks after the third dose.
  • The City of Toronto announced that more than 100,000 children in Toronto, aged five to 11 years, have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 45.3 per cent of eligible residents have their third dose.
  • Paramedic service head Paul Raftis said that staffing levels weren’t the main reason for a “Code Red," which occurred when no Toronto ambulances were available to respond to a 911 medical call, reports the Toronto Star. Paramedics waiting at hospital for up to five hours to “off-load” patients to hospital care was “really the most significant factor leading to those system pressures,” Raftis told a pandemic briefing, adding he’s working with hospitals on the problem.
  • The Durham District School Board is apologizing after inadvertently sharing the names of staff members who are unvaccinated or have refused to disclose their status with nearly 400 people, reports CP24.
  • To cope with strain, Hamilton hospital officials told media Tuesday, facilities may let people with COVID-19 work, close programming and put patients in spaces such as hallways for care. But as CBC Hamilton reports, the hospital networks in question, Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, would still terminate unvaccinated employees, unlike Niagara Health, which put its policy on hold. A St. Joe's official said most patients coming in have one vaccine dose are none, and a Hamilton Health Sciences site lead said most ICU patients are unvaccinated.
  • As well, the Hamilton Spectator writes, COVID-19 strain, including a record number of 17 outbreaks led hospitals to cut surgeries cancer care and organ transplants. The chief of emergency medicine at St. Joe's said these cuts have gone beyond the level the hospital is comfortable with. Hamilton has 709 hospital staff self isolating. St. Joe's created a COVID-19 command centre in what it says is an effort to support workers and prioritize issues.
  • As Hamilton's shelters work to keep people out of the cold, the city has asked them to accept new arrivals regardless of outbreaks in buildings, so long as there's space, the Spectator reports. The city says limited staffing means it can't open another isolation centre. A doctor told CBC Hamilton this week that she worries her unhoused patients will freeze to death if they have no where to go.
  • CBC Hamilton reports that as virtual learning continues, some Hamilton classrooms have been targeted by people accessing classroom calls to share graphic imagery and racial slurs.
  • The Spectator reports Mohawk College announced it would continue virtual learning all semester, with some students doing a hybrid of in-person and online classes. At McMaster, more in-person learning is set to resume in February.

Indigenous

  • As of January 4, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 992,500 doses have been administered, of that 399,464 were second doses and 81,921 were third doses, in individuals aged 12+.
  • As of January 7, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 4,285 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 570 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 5,387 COVID-19 cases.

Eastern

  • The Peterborough area has surpassed 4,000 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the course the pandemic. The public health unit reported 93 new cases yesterday, and 30 people are in hospital.
  • The Peterborough Regional Health Centre is dealing with three active outbreaks, and has as many as 200 staff off sick, according to Global News. Still, it is “managing reasonably well,” says Lynn Mikula, the hospital’s executive vice-president, chief of staff and chief medical executive.
  • According to CBC Kingston, Kingston has a “profound” doctor shortage, despite hosting a medical school. “More than 80 per cent of the family physicians practising in the city are not accepting new patients,” writes Michelle Allan. “The few who are, such as military doctors, are often inaccessible to the general public.”
  • A third COVID-19 outbreak was reported at Kingston General Hospital yesterday, according to the Kingston Whig-Standard. Two staff and two patients on KGH’s Connell 3 unit tested positive.

Northern

  • A COVID outbreak at Casselholme long-term care facility in North Bay was declared by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, reports the North Bay Nugget. A memo issued Tuesday says positive tests were confirmed in two residents and two staff. Four days earlier, the Nugget reported that the facility declared a staffing crisis, as a number of staff had tested positive for COVID or were close contacts of a positive case.
  • Five more people died of COVID in Sudbury, bringing the total to 58 since the start of the pandemic, the Sudbury Star reports. There are 980 active cases in the region and 14 outbreaks, including seven at long-term or retirement homes and three at hospitals, including two at Health Science North and at the St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre, second floor.
  • The Porcupine Health Unit says 33 people are hospitalized from COVID in the region, according to the Timmins Daily Press. There are 839 active cases within the PHU.
  • The Northwestern Health Unit currently has 346 COVID-19 cases, including 143 in the Sioux Lookout area and 141 in the Kenora region. In light of rising COVID-19 cases, the health unit is advising residents to prepare for self-isolation, which includes stocking up on pain relief medication, food, personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies, TBNewswatch reports.

  • The number of COVID-19 patients at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has nearly doubled in one week to 27 COVID-19-positive patients, including three patients in the Intensive Care Unit, TBNewswatch reports.

  • Seven Ontario Power Generation Staff who work at the Cameron Falls Generating Station service centre in Nipigon are isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19, TBNewswatch reports. A spokesperson says the worker did not catch the virus at work, and their absence does not have an impact on the maintenance or operation of the generating station.

  • A COVID-19 outbreak has been confirmed at La Verendrye General Hospital in Fort Frances, where four patients have tested positive for the virus, TBNewswatch reports.

  • COVID-19 outbreaks at two long term care homes in Thunder Bay have grown, but the cases remain mild, says Southbridge Care Homes, the company that operates the facilities, TBNewswatch reports. At Southbridge Lakehead Manor there are 16 residents and three staff with active COVID-19 cases, while seven residents at Southbridge Pinewood have COVID-19.

  • A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at the Shelter House in Thunder Bay, where four people have tested positive for the virus, TBNewswatch reports.

  • Teachers in Thunder Bay are “thrilled” about the return to in-person learning next week, but have some concerns about COVID-19 safety measures in light of the fast-spreading Omicron variant, according to the president of the Lakehead Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, TBNewswatch reports. Additional safety gear, like N95 masks have arrived, but the Lakehead Public School Board is still waiting for 23 HEPA filters to be delivered.

  • Half of 5-11 year-olds in Thunder Bay have received their first COVID-19 vaccine, TBNewswatch reports.

Southwestern

  • London Health Sciences Centre has a record number of patients with COVID-19 in its care, CBC News reports. The hospital was treating 107 inpatients for the virus as of Tuesday, an all-time high and up 18 from the day before. The number of those in critical care remained at 21.
  • Western University says it will be providing an update about on-campus learning later this week, the London Free Press reports. The school — which has moved most classes online until at least the end of the month — also shored up its COVID-19 policy. “Out of an abundance of caution,” the school says medical-grade face masks, which it will provide, are required indoors and, where it isn’t possible to physically distance, outdoors as well. Students and staff are expected to fill out a daily COVID-19 self-assessment and report close contacts and whether they are isolating due to illness.
  • Residents of long-term-care homes accounted for all three deaths due to COVID-19 that Southwestern Public Health announced on Tuesday, Global News reports. The public-health unit, which serves Oxford and Elgin Counties as well as the City of St. Thomas, says there are outbreaks in 13 of the region’s 34 long-term-care or retirement homes.
  • COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared within multiple Windsor Regional Hospital units, Blackburn News reports. Experiencing outbreaks are 6 East and 2 North at the hospital’s Ouellette Campus and 8 North at the Met Campus. The health-care provider is monitoring two other units where fewer than five patients have tested positive for the virus.
  • With Waterloo-Wellington COVID-19 hospitalizations rising from 95 to 126 between last Friday and this Tuesday, the regional hospital lead tells CTV Kitchener that all options are being explored in preparation for more cases. “It’s quite unnerving to see rapid increases in hospitals,” says Lee Fairclough, also president of St. Mary’s General Hospital. Repurposing recovery rooms for care beds is one option, she explains, but notes that staffing is a challenge.


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