COVID-19: What you need to know for January 4

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Jan 04, 2021

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This article was last updated on Monday at 4:30 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 3,270 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 194,232 since the pandemic began; 1190 people are in hospital, 333 of them in intensive care and 194 on ventilators. To date, 4,679 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 207 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 1,140 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 1,130 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 2,781confirmed resident deaths and eight confirmed staff deaths.

Jan 4 Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
Jan 4 Covid Graph 2
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 42,419 total does of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario. 

  • The first five healthcare workers to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario will get a second dose today, CP24 reports. Personal support worker Anita Quidangen and four of her colleagues at the The Rekai Centre on Sherbourne Street became the first people in the province to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 14.
  • As part of the provincial lockdown, students will return to school virtually this week. Global News reports that the measure ends for all students in northern Ontario and elementary students in southern Ontario after the first week back from winter break. While high schoolers in southern Ontario will continue online learning until January 25.
  • According to CTV News, health experts are warning that the current rise in COVID-19 cases across Canada will likely increase through January and February due to gatherings during the Christmas holidays and the new year. "We do know that there was a significant amount of transmission that occurred around Christmas time, and unfortunately with New Year's being just about a week [after], you're at your most infectious," said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, Infectious Diseases physician at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga. 

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 3, there are 974 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 63,946 since the pandemic began; 12 of them are in hospital. In total, nine people have died.
  • On Sunday, Hamilton reported 136 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths. As CBC Hamilton reports, public health reported 428 new cases between January 3 and New Year's Eve. Niagara reported 350 cases in the same period.
  • On December 30, a Hamilton personal support worker told CBC she had a severe allergic reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. While she still says people should get the vaccine, she feels the health-care system "failed" her after someone overlooked her allergies.
  • Hamilton police say they broke up one illegal New Year's Eve party in the city, which involved 19 people, CBC reports.
  • COVID-19 vaccinations began for paramedics in Halton on January 1, the Hamilton Spectator reports. This is after a push from unions and members of the public to get paramedics vaccinated quickly after Ontario's vaccine task force leader initially suggested they would need to wait until March. Some community paramedics in Hamilton are set to be vaccinated.

Indigenous

  • As of January 2, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 3,153 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 83 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 248 COVID-19 cases in total.
isc jan 4 update
(Indigenous Services Canada)
  • Six Nations of the Grand River’s most recent COVID-19 update confirms that the community has seven active cases, as of January 2.
  • Ontario Provincial Police will be taking over policing at the Walpole Island First Nation for two weeks following a potential COVID-19 outbreak in the local police department, reports Blackburn News. A release from the First Nation’s Director of Operations James Jenkins issued on December 28 noted that during that two-week period, officers with the Walpole Island Police Department will self-isolate and the police station will undergo a deep cleaning.
  • The Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s communications team has put together a series of questions and answers about the COVID-19 vaccine available in English, Oji-Cree, and Ojibway.

Northern

  • CBC Sudbury reports 82 active cases in northeastern Ontario: 20 in Public Health Sudbury and Districts, nine within the Porcupine Health Unit, 25 in the Timiskaming Health Unit's region, 19 in Algoma Public Health's area, and 9 within the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit. 
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts reported an outbreak at St. Joseph's Villa LTC in Sudbury on January 1 after one staff member tested positive.
  • A low-risk exposure in an Ontario Northland bus traveling December 21 has been announced by Public Health Sudbury and Districts. The bus left Toronto at 2 p.m. and arrived in Sudbury at 6:45 p.m. The health unit asks anyone on the bus to self-monitor for symptoms. If you experience symptoms, the health unit says to self-isolate and get tested.
  • A four-person outbreak in Moose Factory was resolved yesterday, according to the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority. A single case in Fort Albany remains, leaving only one active case in the James and Hudson Bays.
  • Over the holidays, five more residents at Southbridge Roseview, a long term care home in Thunder Bay, have died, bringing the total number of deaths at the facility to 19. As TBNewswatch reports, on December 30, an infected staff member reported to work at the facility. A spokesperson for Southbridge Roseview attributed the mistake to “human error.” The outbreak at the facility is ongoing, with 14 active COVID-19 cases, including ten residents and four staff members.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is reporting six new COVID-19 cases in the region, for a total of 63 active COVID-19 cases, including two people in hospital, one of which is in the ICU.
  • The Northwestern Health Unit reported its first COVID-19-related death on December 23. The Health Unit is reporting 19 active COVID-19 cases in its catchment area, including one resident at Rainycrest Long Term Care in Fort Frances.
  • The Northwestern Health Unit reported its first COVID-19-related death on December 23. The Health Unit is reporting 19 active COVID-19 cases in its catchment area, including one resident at Rainycrest Long Term Care in Fort Frances.
Eastern
  • The public health unit for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington reported six new cases of the virus on Saturday, including a boy under the age of ten, in addition to ten new cases reported on New Year’s Day, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports.
  • On Saturday, The Peterborough Examiner reflected on social issues in the city that have intensified in the context of COVID-19, including the removal of unhoused people from encampments and “tent cities”; access to water and washrooms; and housing affordability. Meanwhile, active cases in Peterborough reached 95 on Sunday, up from 70 on New Year’s Eve, the Examiner reported.
  • On Sunday, Ottawa Public Health reported 184 new cases of COVID-19, which marks a record for the highest number of new cases reported in a single day by the public health unit, CTV News reports.
  • Over the weekend, there were concerns over a perceived lack of social distancing and mask wearing at Ottawa’s City Hall skating rink, according to CTV News.

Southwestern

  • Parishioners of an Aylmer church that protest the use of masks to protect against COVID-19 became the object of a protest on Sunday when a local resident tried to disrupt their service because of concerns about anti-mask messaging, the London Free Press reports.
  • In Windsor and Essex County, local representatives of teachers' unions are criticizing the safety of Greater Essex County District School Board's decision to allow students with special needs to return to school this week, the Windsor Star reports.
  • Port Dover's annual Polar Bear Swim on New Year's might have been cancelled because of Ontario's pandemic preventative measures, but that didn't stop a handful of die-hards from taking the plunge, the Simcoe Reformer reports.
  • A church near St. Jacobs has been defying provincial orders on gathering, and now police have charged six members for gathering in groups that exceed ten people, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • Municipal officials in the areas of Stratford, Listowel, and Mitchell have announced more than 40 new emergency daycare spaces for the children of essential workers will be made available next week when kids in that area return to school, the Stratford Beacon Herald reports.
  • Southwestern public health officials are warning that COVID-19 cases in its region — an area that serves Woodstock, Oxford County, Elgin County, and St. Thomas — is reaching a tipping point. “Once we start to see daily increases approaching 100 per day, it becomes very difficult to conduct contact tracing within 24 hours to contain the virus,” said Dr. Joyce Lock, the region’s medical officer of health to the Woodstock-Sentinel Review.

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