COVID-19: What you need to know for January 29

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on Jan 29, 2021



This article was last updated on Friday at 3:57 p.m.


  • Per today's government report, there are 1,837 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 264,300 since the pandemic began; 1,291 people are in hospital, 360 of them in intensive care, and 271 on ventilators. To date, 6,072 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 229 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 956 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 899 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,491 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
JMG COVID-19 Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMG COVID-19 Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of January 29, in publicly funded schools in northern Ontario, there is one new school-related student case (for a total of 5,141), no new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,097), and no new cases in "individuals not identified" (for a total of 1,114); 15 schools have a reported case, and two schools are currently closed.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 317,240 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.
  • According to CBC, Premier Doug Ford is set to announce mandatory COVID-19 testing for all incoming international travellers at Toronto Pearson International Airport today. Earlier this month, the province implemented voluntrary COVID-19 testing at the Toronto airport. Since then, the province said nearly 7,000 people submitted to testing and 2.26 per cent of those samples came back positive, including four people who were likely infected with a highly transmissible COVI9-19 mutation, reports CP24.
  • With students set to return to in-person learning in parts of the province next week,  rising cases of the virus in northern schools have spurred conversation around the safety of the province’s school reopening plan, reports the Toronto Star. “We honestly felt that up until now, we’ve had luck on our side,” said Chantal Rancourt, the president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association’s Sudbury Elementary Union. “Unfortunately, that luck has run out.”

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Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 28, there are 650 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 85,260 since the pandemic began; 19 of them are in hospital. In total, 20 people have died.
  • According to a statement released by the city of Toronto, 93 per cent of residents in the city’s 10 directly operated long-term-care homes have been vaccinated, 52 per cent of staff have been vaccinated (or have provided consent to be vaccinated once supply resumes) and 74 per cent of essential visitors/caregivers have been vaccinated. Residents are starting to receive the second dose of vaccine this week.
  • Yesterday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health recommended the extension of the city's COVID-19 temporary bylaws until June. The bylaws, which include physical distancing measures and mandatory mask mandates, were set to expire at the beginning of February.
  • The Peel District School Board (PDSB) said Thursday it was hit by a "cyber security incident" but online classes will continue "as normal," reports CBC. In a statement posted on Twitter, the board said that "at this stage, there is no reason to believe that any personal or sensitive information was compromised as a result of the incident, and we are confident that we will be able to restore the affected systems and files."

  • As the province on a whole reports fewer cases than it has in previous weeks, Hamilton hospitals continue to struggle with meeting demand, CHCH reports. Paramedics are feeling pressure too, as calls for an ambulance in Hamilton have been 14 per cent above average since May, CBC Hamilton reports.
  • The mobile vaccine clinic in Hamilton will start issuing COVID-19 vaccines again on Monday after a temporary shutdown. As the Hamilton Spectator reports, a temporary shortage in doses halted the program. It is still unclear when the Hamilton Health Sciences clinic will re-open. No vaccines have been issued in Hamilton since Tuesday. The paper also produced a timeline of Hamilton's vaccine roll-out.
  • Niagara public health is reporting 43 active outbreaks in the region, including 25 long-term-care homes, the St. Catharines Standard reports.
  • On Thursday, Niagara officials closed two St. Catharines hair salons that tried to re-open claiming to be film studios. As the Standard reports, the owners face fines as high as $500,000. Both shops are owned by people who shared pandemic disinformation online.
  • Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates says the province should take over a long-term-care home in that city, after a 35-year-old resident died in a room with human waste all over the floor. The family of the man who died at Greycliff Manor sent photos to the NDP MPP, the Standard reports. The home is owned by the Martino family in Hamilton, whose license to operate was revoked — an act that does not take effect until June. Other Martino-owned homes face allegations of mismanagement and unsafe operations.


  • As of January 27, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 3,068 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 151 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 508 COVID-19 cases.


  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts reported 72 new cases, 63 resolved cases, and one death between January 21 and 27, for a total of 82 active cases. There are also 10 active outbreaks, including five in schools, three in long-term-care homes, one in a retirement home, and one in a community congregate living setting.
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts will begin targeted asymptomatic testing at three schools that are subject to recent outbreaks - St. Charles College, Marymount Academy, and Pius XII Catholic School. Testing is voluntary, and consent will be required from parents or guardians for students under 18-years-old. “The asymptomatic testing in these school communities offers an additional layer of protection, with the goal of identifying any undetected COVID-19 infections among school attendees,” says Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with PHSD.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 at Hogarth Riverview Manor, only three days after its last outbreak was declared over.
  • A Thunder Bay resident has been charged $880 for failing to adhere to the Reopening Ontario Act for hosting a gathering of 23 people, TBNewswatch reports.


  • The Kingston region reported five new cases on Wednesday, bringing the area’s total active case count to 19, Global News reports. Kingston’s medical officer of health said that as many as 400 people who had traveled outside the region sought testing after being asked to do so, even if asymptomatic. None tested positive.
  • In-person learning is set to resume in the Ottawa and Eastern Ontario health unit districts on Monday, CP24 reports.
  • Ottawa reported 81 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with the total active cases sitting at 703, Global News reports. Though case counts are down in Ottawa, hospitalization rates remain high, Global notes.


  • Windsor Regional Hospital has announced it's cutting back hours at its COVID-19 testing centre because the number of people seeking tests has dropped, according to CBC Windsor. On January 11, the facility saw 600 people seeking a test, but that number has dropped to 400 per day over the past week and a half, CBC reports.
  • A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared in the COVID-19 unit at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance after two people tested positive for the virus — a staff member and a patient who had a suspected case of the virus but had previously not tested positive, Blackburn News reports.
  • The Middlesex-London health unit has announced that it will open three more mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics, Blackburn News reports. Currently, the health unit currently has one such clinic in London. The health unit's vaccination plan also includes striking mobile clinics and involving primary care, and pharmacies in vaccine delivery.
  • Windsor-Essex County's medical officer of health plans to issue an order that will require people diagnosed with COVID-19 to self-isolate. Blackburn News reports that the new order comes into effect on Feb. 1 and will include provision of a fine up to $5,000 for people who don't comply. Dr. Wajid Ahmed tells Blackburn that the order sends a clear message and provides a tool to enforce it.
  • The number of COVID-19 cases linked to residence parties at the University of Guelph is now up to 60, and the university is considering a campus curfew, CTV Kitchener reports.

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