COVID-19: What you need to know for January 28

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Jan 28, 2021

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This article was last updated on Thursday at 4:22 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 2,093 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 262,463 since the pandemic began; 1,338 people are in hospital, 358 of them in intensive care, and 276 on ventilators. To date, 6,014 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 229 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 1,041 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 938 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,462 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
JMG Covid Graph 1
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMG Graph Covid 2
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of January 28, in publicly funded schools in northern Ontario, there is one new school-related student case (for a total of 5,140), no new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,097), and one new case in "individuals not identified" (for a total of 1,114); 14 schools have a reported case, and two schools are currently closed.
  • The ministry of health stated that previously-announced statistics for the number of people fully vaccinated (having received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine) were overstated; the actual number of individuals fully immunized is half what was stated yesterday. The minister's office says previously-released statistics had mistakenly counted the number of doses administered to fully-immunized Ontarians, explaining the error. The accurate number of people who have been fully vaccinated is 55, 286. The government had previously reported more than 96,000, notes CTV.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 317,240 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

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  • Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced Thursday morning that more school boards will be allowed to return to in-class instruction: schools in the London, Ottawa, Eastern Ontario and Southwestern public health unit regions will be allowed to return to class on February 1.
  • The Ontario government announced that it is taking additional measures to protect farmworkers during the pandemic by expanding provincewide inspections to farms, greenhouses and other agricultural operations to ensure health and safety measures are being followed. The inspections will focus on locations that employ temporary foreign workers.

  • According to a survey conducted by the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WePRN) in December, one in three nurses said that they are considering leaving the profession, reported CBC. According to the survey, 90 per cent of respondents reported an increase in workload since the beginning of the pandemic, with 83 per cent saying they felt their mental health has been adversely affected by their work.

  • Ontario has released its latest COVID-19 modelling, which shows that while the number of daily cases have dropped since the holidays, hospital resources are still stretched thin — half of Ontario’s hospitals have only one or two ICU beds available this week. Read more on TVO.org.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 27, there are 765 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 84,653 since the pandemic began; 46 of them are in hospital. In total, 14 people have died.
  • Yesterday, Toronto Public Health reported 502 new cases as Ontario reported 1,670 new cases, the lowest the province has seen since November. Despite the relief low case numbers might bring, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said at a news conference on Wednesday that "[the number of] new cases may seem relatively low at first glance, but testing levels have been lower in the last few days," reports CBC. Toronto still accounts for the highest share of cases in the province.
  • A Canada Post employee infected with COVID-19 during an outbreak that has affected over 200 workers at a Mississauga facility died over the weekend, reports CP24. Last week, under the instructions of Peel Public Health, more than 350 workers were sent home to self isolate as a result of the outbreak. According to Canadian Union of Postal Workers Toronto local president Qaiser Maroof, the deceased employee was not part of the shift sent home to self-isolate, and sought out testing on his own. He did not show symptoms prior to his test and was upset that he was not offered a test as a proactive measure, Maroof told CP24.
  • Brooks Fallis, a medical doctor who worked at William Osler says he was let go from his role at the hospital for his criticism of the province's response to the pandemic. In a statement to theToronto Star, Fallis said "I was told I was being let go as Interim Medical Director — not because of my performance as a physician or as a hospital leader — but because of my outspoken, public statements regarding Ontario’s pandemic response."
  • Toronto city officials say they are  working to contain COVID-19 outbreaks at 10 homeless shelters across the city, reports CBC
  • The city of Toronto says that it will be conducting additional education and enforcement in residential apartment buildings and condominiums where multiple complaints have been received about mask usage in enclosed common spaces. A statement released by the city noted that "if residents see a pattern of issues with masks in common areas of their residential building, they can first talk to their landlord or building manager to raise their concerns. If no action is taken by the landlord and the problems persist, residents should call 311 to submit a complaint and the City will investigate."
  • Based on orders from the province, Hamilton Public Health and local hospitals have stopped giving out first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone except residents of long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes, reports CBC. A memo to staff at Hamilton Health Sciences cited a "reduction and uncertainty regarding vaccine supply" as the reason. 
  • The head of a Hamilton based dental group has said that dentists and their staff should have quicker access to the COVID-19 vaccine because they're at high risk for the virus and play a key role in the pandemic, reports CBC
  • Public health inspections revealed issues with Grace Villa’s staffing, cleaning and infection control during the outbreak at the long-term-care home reports the Hamilton Spectator. A public inspection report dated December 22 showed no problems found with compliance and no orders or other corrections issued at the home, where 234 people were infected and 44 died over the course of the outbreak that was declared over January 20.
  •  Pat Daly, Chairperson of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, said he’s been told in calls with Ministry of Education officials that they hope to provide information “as early as possible next week” on whether schools in the region will resume in-person on February 11, reports the Hamilton Spectator
  • The St. Catharines Standard reports that for the past five days, a Niagara resident with COVID-19 has died, on average, every three point five hours.The region has seen COVID-19 deaths increase every day since January 9, when that total was 186 people.The region's acting medical officer of health,Mustafa Hirji, said that even though the region’s infection rate appears to be slowing down, deaths are likely to continue to increase for some time given the number of vulnerable people who have been infected in the past several weeks.

Indigenous

  • As of January 26, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 3,508 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 144 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 493 COVID-19 cases.
  • Today, from 12:30 - 2 p.m. EST, the Nishinawbe Aski Nation is hosting a Vaccine Q+A with Health Minister Patty Hajdu, physician and scientist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, and NP Mae Kate of Temagami First Nation, hosted by NAN Grand Chief, Alvin Fiddler.
  • Neskantaga First Nation’s request for a delay in consultation deadline for proposed roads in the Ring of Fire has been heard by the provisional government. The Ontario government has extended deadlines for both projects, reports CBC.
  • Ginoogaming declared a state of emergency on Saturday after confirming its sixth case of COVID-19 in less than a week, reports CBC. The health director of Ginoogaming First Nation is hoping everyone in the community will be tested for COVID-19 soon, after more nursing support led to an increase in testing capacity. Meanwhile, Ginoogaming is still waiting for responses from the federal and provincial governments in terms of the supports they'll be providing to the community.
  • A virtual candidate forum will be held on January 30 at 1p.m. for members of Wasauksing First Nation.

Northern

  • Vaccines have been offered at three Sudbury long-term care homes, according to Public Health Sudbury and Districts. The Moderna vaccine was offered to residents at Pioneer Manor, Extendicare York, and Extendicare Falconbridge yesterday, and PHSD is aiming to vaccinate all long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes by February 5. Following the vaccination of the residents, staff members and essential caregivers will also receive their vaccinations as part of the first phase of rolling out the vaccine.
  • Algoma Public Health (APH) received its first vaccine shipment for the district yesterday. APH says it will provide first doses to over 1,000 long-term care home residents over the next two weeks.
  • Long term care home residents in the Rainy River district have begun receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, Riverside Health Care announced in a press release. Residents at Rainycrest Long Term Care received their shots Wednesday, while residents at the Emo Health Centre and Rainy River Health Centre will get theirs today.
  • The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority is reporting one new case in Moosonee. It is the only current active case in the James and Hudson Bay area.
  • Cities in northern Ontario will begin sending wastewater samples to be monitored for COVID-19, TBnewswatch reports. Wastewater from Thunder Bay, Sioux Ste. Marie, Sudbury and North Bay will be tested for the coronavirus’ genetic material, which can help determine the prevalence of the virus in a particular area.
  • A third COVID death has occurred at the Kapuskasing Extendicare yesterday. The outbreak now has 28 active cases among residents and six active cases among staff for a total of 34 a

Eastern

  • The Kingston area health unit is asking all residents who have traveled outside of the region or received visitors from elsewhere to proactively get tested for COVID-19, even if asymptomatic, following the detection of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 in the region, the Toronto Star reports. An individual became infected with the variant on a business trip to Simcoe-Muskoka and appeared to spread it to four other people, a spread which is now considered contained. For weeks, the Kingston area public health unit has asked residents to only leave the region for essential purposes. As of Wednesday, 51 cases of the variant had been confirmed in Ontario, the CBC reports.
  • The Peterborough Regional Health Centre is continuing to accept patients from other parts of the province, Global News reports. As of Wednesday, the hospital had 17 inpatients with COVID-19, of whom, 11 had been transferred from the GTA. Hospital officials said that the transfers have not created any capacity issues for Peterborough.
  • Eastern Ontario's medical officer of health, Paul Roumeliotis, says that March Break should be cancelled this year to avoid a similar post-Christmas spike in COVID-19 cases, as a result of people visiting friends and family and traveling, CTV News reports.
  • Robert Cushman, the medical officer of health for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit, told CBC News that Ontarians should expect to see mask-mandates and physical distancing continue until there is herd immunity in the province. He expects this will take the better part of 2021. "Herd immunity is not absolute. It's very relative," he added.

Southwestern

  • Donations from two companies in London of personal protective equipment to the Multicultural Association of Perth Huron means that volunteers with this organization can safely deliver groceries to residents in the region who have tested positive with COVID-19, the Stratford Beacon Herald reports.
  • Long-term care residents in Elgin and Oxford Counties have now all received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Woodstock Sentinel Review reports.
  • Ongoing stress from the pandemic has contributed to an uptick in call volume to a mental health line service the Waterloo Region, CBC reports.
  • Police have charged the pastor and six elders at Trinity Bible Chapel in the Waterloo Region for hosting a gathering that exceeds the province's pandemic restrictions on gatherings, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • A church in downtown Kitchener has adapted a tiny home to use as a take-out stand to provide meals to people who need them, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • Thirteen deaths have been connected to a COVID-19 outbreak at a long term care facility in Listowel where 108 residents and staff have tested positive for the virus, CTV London reports.


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