COVID-19: What you need to know for January 18

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Jan 18, 2021

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This article was last updated on Monday at 4:22 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 2,578 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 240,364 since the pandemic began; 1,571 people are in hospital, 394 of them in intensive care, and 303 on ventilators. To date, 5,433 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 248 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 1,615 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 1,272 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,150 confirmed resident deaths and ten confirmed staff deaths.

JMG Graph Jan 18
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMG Graph Jan 18
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of January 18, in publicly funded schools in northern Ontario, there are no new school-related student cases (for a total of 5,132), no new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,094), and no new case in "individuals not identified" (for a total of 1,089); two 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, 209,788 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario. 

  • On Saturday, the Ontario government announced that it will be extending orders under the Reopening Ontario Act for another 30 days. According to a statement by the government, most of the orders under the ROA are now extended to February 19, 2021. CTV News reports that this does not change the length of the provincewide stay at home order. Orders under the ROA include the province's ability to implement rules on public gatherings, business closures and managing outbreaks in hospitals or long-term care homes.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 17, there are 892 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 77,327 since the pandemic began; 25 of them are in hospital. In total, 2 people have died.
  • A vaccination site in Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre opens today, reports CP24. According to a statement released by the city, the site, which aims to vaccinate 250 people a day, will help test and adjust immunization clinic setup in non-hospital settings, ensuring safety and increasing efficiency in advance of wider immunization.
  • Safety inspectors found more than 30 businesses violating COVID-19 safety rules during a big-box blitz across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, reports CP24. The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development said that inspectors visited 110 stores on Saturday and found 31 stores in violation of provincial orders, which is equal to about 70 per cent compliance.

  • The Canadian Red Cross has been deployed to help manage a major outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie that has left 62 residents and 43 staff infected with COVID-19, reports CBC.

  • As CBC Hamilton reports, the province has directed Hamilton officials to temporarily stop vaccinating people for COVID-19, unless they are residents, staff or caregivers in long-term care. That's because of a delay in vaccine shipments. In a statement, Mayor Fred Eisenberger called the direction "extremely frustrating."

  • Niagara's acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji told CHCH News that Ontario delay "increases the disruptive impact" from the province re-allocating a vaccine shipment meant for Niagara this month. Niagara Regional Police released a statement saying that in just 10 months, Niagara has seen the equivalent of 10 years' worth of traffic fatalities, and 40 years' worth of homicides, due to COVID-19.

  • Hamilton's Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, declared Friday, the Hamilton Spectator reports. It's the ninth ongoing outbreak of the virus in the city's hospitals. A new unit with 40 beds was opened for COVID-19 patients in the Juravinski Hospital on Friday.

  • The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says any board members who knew the former CEO of St. Joseph’s Health System was taking a Caribbean vacation last month should step down. As the Spectator reports, the board approved Dr. Tom Stewart's trip but has not stated publicly if members knew he was travelling aboard, contrary to public health guidelines. Stewart was removed as CEO following news of his trip being made public.
  • CBC Hamilton is reporting that the chief of staff at Norfolk General hospital recently travelled outside Canada for non-essential reasons too.
  • And following questions about why people were seeing film crews in Hamilton despite the stay-at-home order, CBC Hamilton reports there are four crews working in the city, having been deemed essential. The city says in 2020, about 113 productions that filmed in Hamilton spending a combined total of about $50 million.

Indigenous

  • As of January 15, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 4,827 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 113 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 382 COVID-19 cases.
  • This past week, Weeneebayko Area Health Authority and Ornge brought medical teams into Attawapiskat First Nation and Fort Albany First Nation to provide vaccines to Elders in long-term care settings and health care workers.
  • A second person has tested positive for COVID-19 in Ginoogaming First Nation, confirmed this Sunday through follow-up testing reports TBNewswatch. While contact tracing and testing were underway, the council urged members to stay home except for essential trips for groceries or health needs.
  • Two positive cases have been detected in the Wahta Mohawk community as of January 16. The heath unit has made contact isolating and self-monitoring for a two-week period.
  • Wasauksing First Nation is reporting zero COVID-19 cases for the week of January 11-15.
  • The Matawa Chiefs Council has issued a public statement requesting the Ontario government stop all activities that affect the rights and interests of First Nations members while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, reports CBC.

Northern

  • Two new deaths were announced at Amberwood Suites retirement home in Sudbury today, according to Public Health Sudbury and Districts, bringing the total number of deaths at the residence to three people. According to the Sudbury Star, at least 36 people have contracted COVID at the retirement home.
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts declares an outbreak at École St-Denis elementary school today after a second person tested positive. PHSD confirms the case is related to a previous case at the school.
  • Two new outbreaks were declared at Elizabeth Centre nursing home and Extendicare Falconbridge retirement home after one staff member at each facility tested positive, according to Public Health Sudbury and Districts. There now are four active outbreaks in PHSD's region.
  • Algoma Public Health announces four new cases over the weekend, all from the Sault Ste. Marie Area, bringing the total number of active cases to 37.
  • Three people in the Thunder Bay region have died of COVID-19 over the weekend, two of whom were residents at Southbridge Roseview, a long term care home in Thunder Bay. A total of 26 people have died of COVID-19 in the region since the pandemic began, including 23 residents at Southbridge Roseview.
  • At least five individuals working at Valard Construction’s East-West Tie Project camp in Marathon have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • A third resident at Rainycrest Long Term Care in Fort Frances has tested positive for COVID-19, reports TBNewswatch. The Northwestern Health Unit declared an outbreak at the facility on January 2, 2021.
  • The Northwestern Health Unit expects to receive its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine in early February, with the first doses reserved for long term care home staff, residents and essential caregivers in the region.
  • Two people in Ginoogaming First Nation have tested positive for COVID-19, and community leadership is urging residents to stay home, reports TBNewswatch.

Eastern

  • Hospitals in the Toronto area are transferring critically-ill patients to Burlington, Kitchener, and east of Peterborough to deal with the influx of COVID-19 patients. The Scarborough Health Network is planning patient transfers to Kingston, the Toronto Star reports. A top official at SHN said transfers outside of the Toronto area have never been done before. A doctor at SHN tweeted Friday that the network would be sending patients to Kingston “as soon as we can secure a helicopter.”
  • Friday marked the first day since late November when no new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Kingston area, Global News reports. There were two cases reported in the region Saturday, with no new cases reported Sunday, bringing the total active count that day to 19.
  • As of Friday, there were three active cases of COVID-19 among members of Kingston’s police service, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports.
  • On Sunday, Ottawa Public Health reported 123 COVID-19 infections, CTV News reports.
  • The Cornwall Community Hospital is facing a shortage of beds, as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the region, the Ottawa Citizen reports. Cornwall had 227 active cases, as of Saturday.

Southwestern

  • A highly contagious variant of COVID-19 found in Britain that was recently found in a patient in London, ON had likely been circulating in the local community for about two months, the London Free Press reports.
  • More flight cancellations have taken place at the London International Airport as air travel drops because of the pandemic, the London Free Press reports.
  • Funeral homes in the Windsor-Essex region are struggling to keep up with demand as the region experiences one of the highest death rates in the province due to COVID-19, the Windsor Star reports.
  • In Kitchener and Waterloo, by-law officers handed out two tickets and laid one charge under the province's new stay-at-home order, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • With the Canada-U.S. land border long closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Windsorites are missing their access to Detroit and rediscovering their own backyards, CBC Windsor reports.
  • Last week, a Walmart store serving Wallaceburg was the 20th workplace in Chatham-Kent to experience an outbreak of COVID-19 since March, Blackburn News reports.
  • A case of COVID-19 has been found at Clarke Road Secondary School in London, Blackburn News reports. The school is home to a large developmental education program that, in part, serves medically fragile students.
  • Four staff members at Sarnia Jail have tested positive for COVID-19, Blackburn News reports.
  • The Windsor-Essex region is set to process COVID-19 tests locally, a move that is expected to improve turnaround times for test results, Blackburn News reports.
  • The chief of staff of Haldimand-Norfolk General Hospital will retain his position despite the revelation of travelling internationally in November, the Simcoe Reformer reports. The hospital's CEO says Dr. Mohammad Amir Sheik-Yousouf followed all the pandemic-related public health rules and protocols.


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