COVID-19: What you need to know for January 15

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Jan 15, 2021

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This article was last updated on Friday at 4:27 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 2,998 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 231,308 since the pandemic began; 1,647 people are in hospital, 387 of them in intensive care, and 280 on ventilators. To date, 5,289 people have died. (Today's count of COVID-19 deaths includes 46 cases from the Middlesex-London public health unit that occurred earlier in the pandemic but are only being confirmed in the data now due to data-cleaning.)
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 243 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 1,650 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 1,336 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,085 confirmed resident deaths and ten confirmed staff deaths.

JMG Graph Jan 15
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMG Graph 2
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of January 15, in publicly funded schools in northern Ontario, there are no new school-related student cases (for a total of 5,130), no new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,093), and no new case in "individuals not identified" (for a total of 1,089); no schools have a reported case, and no schools are currently closed.

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  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program,174,630 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario. 

  • Yesterday, the Ontario government issued an emergency order to temporarily pause the enforcement of residential evictions. According to a statement released by the government, the Landlord and Tenant Board will continue to hear eviction applications and issue orders, but the enforcement of eviction orders will be postponed for the duration of the emergency order, except in urgent situations – such as for illegal activity.

  • Beginning this Saturday and Sunday, approximately 50 workplace health and safety inspectors, as well as local bylaw and police officers, will be visiting big-box stores in Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, York, and Durham to ensure that workers and patrons are wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and following health and safety measures. In a statement released by the government, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development said, "where we find an employer who has been acting in bad faith, we won't hesitate to take action by immediately slapping them with a ticket and a fine. There will be real consequences for those who break the rules."

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 14, there are 852 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 74,476 since the pandemic began; 58 of them are in hospital. In total, 13 people have died.
  • Toronto faces a budget hole of almost $1 billion in 2021 from COVID-19, reports The Toronto Star. The shortfall initially started at over $2 billion, but lessened after staff found $573 million in savings, such as a salary freeze for non-union staff, and increases in taxes and fees like residential property taxes.
  •  CP24 reports that TTC riders are expressing concern that more measures may be needed to keep transit safe. One group, TTCRiders, said that transit users in the city are concerned about crowding, inadequate mask use among riders and the resumption of TTC fare inspections.
  • Hamilton public health does not know if 269 COVID-19 patients are sick or not. The department says it is overwhelmed and has been unable to contact the patients after their isolation periods ended, the Hamilton Spectator reports. This means Hamilton's COVID-19 case count could be off by 269. Public health can no longer contact trace or manage cases to the extent it had been.
  • In what they are calling an unprecedented move in Hamilton, a coalition of Hamilton groups focused on activism, policy and research, have released a document urging steps for the city to take as it recovers from the pandemic.
  • The document became public Friday and includes 150 recommendations around employment, transit, housing, disability justice, the environment, systemic racism and more. The coalition includes the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, Hamilton Acord, the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction.
  • As per the latest available numbers Thursday, Niagara's number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people is 252.1, making its weekly case count the fourth highest in Ontario. That's higher than in Toronto, which sits at 223.4, but lower than Peel, Lambton and Windsor-Essex, which leads the pack at 272.8.

Indigenous

  • As of January 13, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 4,432 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 112 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 364 COVID-19 cases in total.

Northern

  • Ornge, the provincial air ambulance service, will begin administering vaccines in 31 remote First Nation communities starting February, 1, TBNewswatch reports.
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts reports 76 new cases in the last week. 69 of those cases are in Greater Sudbury, while five are in Manitoulin and two are in the Sudbury District. There is one active outbreak, and there are 11 hospitalizations.
  • Algoma Public Health reports eight new COVID cases, seven of which are in central and east Algoma, while one case is in Elliot Lake and area. There are 43 active cases in the health unit's region.

Eastern

  • With 132 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Ottawa on Wednesday, the number of total active cases reached 1,243, marking a record for the city, CTV News reports.
  • The Ottawa Citizen reports on the challenges - and new ways to support members - that the pandemic has presented for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings groups in the city of Ottawa.
  • Active COVID-19 cases in the Kingston region were down to 37 on Thursday, with only one new case reported that day, which public health officials say is a sign that cases are stabilizing in the region, Global News reports.
  • A member of Trent University has tested positive for COVID-19, the Peterborough Examiner reports. The person had been staying in a residence meant for quarantine during the contagion period.
  • Queen’s University students are unclear if they fit into the vaccination plans of the Kingston region, the Queen’s University Journal reports. A public health official would not specify whether they will be vaccinated in Kingston or their home town.
Southwestern
  • A Timiskaming First Nations woman who lives in London is among several people across the southwest region raising concerns about how police and bylaw enforcement could potentially target people who are racialized or marginalized. "I've definitely had some serious conversations with my son, with a lot of friends and family members and my nephews especially, about how they can make sure to remain safe," Elizabeth Moore tells CBC London. Police in Waterloo tell The Record that ticketing will be used as a last resort; London police tell CBC London that officers have anti-bias and implicit bias training, and Windsor police tell CBC Windsor, that officers will "strike a measured balance between enforcement and overall safety."
  • As COVID-19 hospitalizations surge in the Waterloo Region, demand for Cambridge Memorial Hospital ICU beds has now exceeded the hospital's 12-bed capacity, and Grand River Hospital in Kitchener has begun accepting patient transfers from the GTA, The Record reports.
  • An inspection blitz under way to ensure big box stores are complying with provincial COVID-19 emergency orders in the GTA will likely include stores in Kitchener, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • The provincial government has announced a $3 million fund to help businesses with horse-related businesses feed their animals during COVID-19 restrictions.
  • The operator of a shelter in downtown Windsor tells CTV Windsor he's concerned an outbreak of COVID-19 is imminent in the city's homeless population because the new restrictions are creating fewer options for people to find supports through the day.
  • Trails, parks and and playgrounds in the Waterloo Region will remain open during the second COVID-19 province-wide shutdown, as will outdoor community rinks and tobaggan hills, Cambridge has announced. Farmers markets in Kitchener and Cambridge will also continue to operate on Saturdays.


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