COVID-19: What you need to know for January 21

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Jan 21, 2021

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This article was last updated on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 2,632 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 247,564 since the pandemic began; 1,533 people are in hospital, 388 of them in intensive care, and 293 on ventilators. To date, ,5614 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 251 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 1,441 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 1,185 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,256 confirmed resident deaths and ten confirmed staff deaths.

JMG Graph COVID
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 21, in publicly funded schools in northern Ontario, there is one  new school-related student case (for a total of 5,134), one new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,098), and no new cases in "individuals not identified" (for a total of 1,092); seven schools have a reported case, and two schools are currently closed.

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  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 253,817 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario. 

  • Yesterday, the Ontario government announced that it will be allowing seven public health units and over 100,000 students to return to class on Monday, January 25. Schools in Grey Bruce; Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge; Hastings and Prince Edward Counties; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark; Peterborough; and Renfrew County will resume in-person learning, while other schools will continue teaching remotely.

  • In an investigation published by the Toronto Star, internal documents from the government revealed safety proposals referencing Ontario's back-to-school plan were either abandoned or dialed back at a time when COVID rates in the community were low. “It looks like, originally, they had a lot of things covered, but what they ended up implementing ... was ‘plan lite.’ You know, let’s take it, but massage it so it’s not as stringent, not as costly,” said Halton District School Board chair Andrea Grebenc.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 20, there are 986 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 79,767 since the pandemic began; 44 of them are in hospital. In total, 10 people have died. According to Toronto Public Health, today's numbers reflect 102 cases that were unavailable due to a provincial lab information system tech issue earlier this week that has now been resolved.
  • A pilot project that aimed to vaccinate homeless people in Toronto's shelters has been put on hold due to a vaccine shortage, reports CBC. The rollout of the vaccine to the city's 100 shelters was paused because of a shortage of the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, which announced last week it would delay the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines to Canada due to production issues.
  • 121 employees of a Canada Post facility in Mississauga have tested positive for COVID-19 this month, reports CP24. On Wednesday, CBC reported that Canada Post is testing an entire shift of employees at the Mississauga facility. Any employees who test positive will be told to go into isolation for 14 days. Canada Post says it is offering voluntary testing to employees who work on other shifts and in other areas of the facility.
  • Lab testing has confirmed a COVID-19 variant at Roberta Place, a long-term-care home in Barrie currently experiencing an outbreak. Global News reports the variant strain testing is a two-part test, and at this time, the health unit says the first test indicates a “very high probability” that there’s a variant strain that’s of concern.
  • Hamilton officials announced eight new COVID-19 outbreaks on Wednesday, as they also announced the city's deadliest outbreak at the Grace Villa long-term care home is over, the Hamilton Spectator reports. The outbreak at Grace Villa killed 44 people. In total, 234 were infected with the coronavirus since November 25.
  • The paper also reported that Hamilton hospitals are caring for 15 critical-care COVID-19 patients sent from other parts in Ontario with overburdened facilities. Hamilton is seeing fewer weekly cases this week than it was at the start of the month (109 per 100,000 people as opposed to 149.3 per 100,000 between January 4 and 10) but leaders warn it's not time to celebrate or think about changing course.
  • Hamilton's public school board is asking the province for teachers and educational assistants supporting students in-person to receive a pay bump. According to the Spectator, the board chair penned an open letter saying staff working with students who have significant special needs are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and deserve more pay as a result.
  • CBC Hamilton reports the board is also requesting the province quickly communicate changes with managers and staff so they can prepare for lessons, be they virtual or in-person. It also requested the government consider additional supports for families on the margins, including single mothers.

Indigenous

  • As of January 19, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 5, 571 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 120 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 428 COVID-19 cases.

Northern

  • At least five guards and 20 inmates at the Thunder Bay District Jail and Thunder Bay Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19. Bill Hayes, president of OPSEU local 737, says there are currently 135 inmates in the jail, but it should be closer to 100 inmates in order to control the spread of the virus, TBNewswatch reports.
  • 44 out of 67 inmates at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre have tested positive for COVID-19, says Shawn Bradshaw, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 708, which represents works at the Correctional Centre, reports TBNewswatch.
  • Algoma Public Health (APH) reports six new cases in its area: four in Sault Ste. Marie and two in Central and East Algoma. There are 30 active cases in the APH's area
  • An outbreak at the Kirkland Lake Extendicare has been resolved, according to the Timiskaming Health Unit (THU). “We have worked closely with Kirkland Lake Extendicare, Kirkland and District Hospital, the Ministry of Long-Term Care, and Ontario Health – North to ensure that all necessary measures were taken. The outbreak was controlled and the potential for substantial spread of COVID-19 was averted," says Glenn Corneil, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the THU.

Eastern

  • The Ontario government has announced that schools in the Kingston, Belleville, and Brockville regions can open to in-person learning on Monday. Schools in Ottawa and in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region are not allowed to re-open Monday and the announcement did not say when they would, CTV News reports.
  • Schools in Peterborough and Renfrew will also re-open Monday, reports the Toronto Star. Across the province, over 100,000 students in seven public health units will be returning to in-person schooling.
  • COVID-19 numbers are trending in a better direction in Ottawa, says the city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches. Sixty-seven new cases were reported on Wednesday, Global News reports, down from triple digit surges earlier this month.
  • New cases are also decreasing in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region, with 25 new cases added on Wednesday, the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder reports. The total number of active cases is 560.
  • A barbershop in Belleville has been issued a fine after re-opening his shop in contravention of the provincial regulations, Global News reports; the owner stated in a Facebook post that he had hoped to “make a statement for all the retailers, their employees and their families that are suffering out there.” He intends to continue breaking the COVID-19 restrictions, incorrectly deeming them “illegal.”

Southwestern

  • A director on the board of the Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville has resigned after the disclosure that she arranged for a family member to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic earlier this month for the hosptial's staff and doctors, Orangeville.com reports.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph has put the COVID-19 vaccination of staff at long-term-care facilities on hold because of a shortage of the vaccine in the region, CTV Kitchener reports. In London, the COVID-19 vaccine shortage has resulted in a two-week shutdown of the city's vaccination centre, Blackburn News reports. And on Monday, the Windsor Regional Hospital announced that it had ceased giving out first doses of the vaccine, CBC reports. The shortage of the Pfizer vaccine has been caused by the company's decision to delay delivery to Canada over the next four weeks because it is upgrading its plant in Belgium, CTV reports.
  • Students in the Grey Bruce region will be the only ones allowed to return to school next week in Ontario's southwest region, the London Free Press reports. Students in all other areas will continue online learning as part of the province's efforts to dampen the spread of COVID-19.
  • Some migrant workers from Trinidad and Tobego, who have been stranded in southwestern Ontario because of their home country's COVID-19 travel restrictions, will return home next week, the Simcoe Reformer reports.
  • The chair of Waterloo Region, Karen Redman, tells CTV Kitchener that she caught COVID-19 from her husband.
  • The provincial emergency COVID-19 lockdown is playing havoc with student co-operative placements, the Windsor Star reports.

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