COVID-19: What you need to know for January 5

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Jan 05, 2021

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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. 

This article was last updated on Tuesday at 4:27 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 3,128 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 197,360 since the pandemic began; 1,347 people are in hospital, 352 of them in intensive care and 245 on ventilators. To date, 4,730 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 216 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 1,101 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 1,140 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 2,830 confirmed resident deaths and eight confirmed staff deaths.

Jan 5
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JAN 5
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 50,030 total does of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario. 

  • The Ontario Ministry of Long Term Care rejected a request for an extension from the province's Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission yesterday. The independent group is producing a final report on the province's handling of COVID-19 and has cited significant delays in obtaining government information central to their investigation as one reason for their extension request. In response, Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton urged the commission to meet the initial deadline of  April 30, 2021. "The urgency of our situation has not changed," wrote Minister Fullerton.

  • Yesterday the Ontario government announced support for home-based food businesses during COVID-19.This includes a guide on how to start a home-based food business, and an overview of public health requirements that need to be followed as a food operator. According to a press release by the government, home-based food businesses that prepare only low-risk foods are exempt from certain regulatory requirements, such as specified handwashing stations in food premises, compliance with commercial dishwashing requirements and food handling training certification.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 4, there are 832 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 64,725 since the pandemic began; 31 of them are in hospital. In total, 14 people have died.
  • Toronto Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, announced yesterday that the city will now publicly identify the location of some COVID-19 outbreaks in workplaces as it seeks to improve transparency amid a surge in infections, reports CP24. According to the data released yesterday, of the 302 workplace outbreaks reported during the pandemic, 132 fell into a category made up of offices, warehouses, shipping and distribution facilities, manufacturing facilities and construction sites.
  • Paul Johnson, director of the Hamilton's Emergency Operations Centre said Monday that the city received about 200 complaints of COVID-19 rule-breaking between Dec. 24 and this past weekend. These included gatherings at a bar, bakery and restaurant, the Hamilton Spectator reports.
  • The Toronto Star reported that Conservative MP for Flamborough-Glanbrook David Sweet travelled to the United States for leisure, a violation of Ontario's stay-at-home guidelines. He has since resigned from his role as House of Commons ethics committee chair and said will not seek re-election. Sweet joins the ranks of several politicians who have now been reprimanded or stepped down from their roles for travelling during the pandemic.
  • As CBC Hamilton reports, the first COVID-19 field hospital in Ontario started taking patients this week. It is located in Burlington on the grounds of the Joseph Brant Hospital. Four Niagara-area hospitals will be able to send patients there. As the St. Catharines Standard reports, Niagara Health president Lynn Guerriero says the need for the field hospital speaks to the intense pressure on Ontario's health system.

Indigenous

  • As of January 4, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 3,290 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 87 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 262 COVID-19 cases in total.
ISC Chart
(Indigenous Services Canada)
  • Algoma Public Health is advising the public of potential high-risk exposure to COVID-19 to anyone who attended a New Year’s Eve gathering at 66 Sage St. in Garden River, reports CTV News. Anyone who attended the gathering is advised to immediately self-isolate and contact Algoma Public Health.
  • All federal schools (IL Thomas, Oliver M Smith K, Emily C General Elementary and Jamieson/JC Hill) in Six Nations of the Grand River are scheduled to re-open February 1, 2021. This date is subject to change if the number of COVID-19 cases increases and as directed by public health.

Northern

  • Laurentian Ski Hill in North Bay is only accepting customers from northern Ontario until the southern Ontario lockdown ends, according to the North Bay Nugget. “If people are coming up to the window and we don’t know them we will be asking if they are a resident of Northern Ontario. If they say, ‘Yes,’ we will be asking them to provide us with some identification,” King says to The Nugget.
  • As of Monday, an estimated 600 health care workers have been vaccinated in Thunder Bay, TBNewswatch reports.
  • The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has launched a Virtual Emergency Department. Virtual appointments, 15 minutes in length, can be booked online.
  • Algoma Public Health announces 11 new cases in district, according to the Sault Star, for a total of 28 active cases.
Eastern
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit on Monday reported 255 additional cases of COVID-19 in the region since its previous update four days earlier. At an average of 63 new cases per day, that’s the largest daily increase since the start of the pandemic, the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder reports.
  • Ottawa is struggling with indoor social gatherings, the CBC reports, pointing out that the current uptick in cases corresponds with the first week of Christmas. “The city's bylaw department said that since mid-December, it received more than 540 complaints — including 100 over New Year's Eve and Day alone — “in regard to social gatherings and other activities,”” CBC writes. (On Monday, Ottawa reported more than 100 new cases per day for the fourth straight day, CTV News reports).
  • A Kingston-area politician, MPP Randy Hillier, is again garnering criticism for what many have seen as his dangerous attitude toward COVID-19, according to Global News. He posted a photo in late December that shows 14 people gathering for dinner without masks or any social distancing. He was previously the subject of a letter signed by dozens of doctors calling on him to stop promoting COVID-19 misinformation.
  • Since January 1, Loblaws has reported three COVID-19 cases among employees at three separate locations in eastern Ontario. One was in Hawkesbury and two were in the Ottawa area, CTV News reports.

Southwestern

  • Some of the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine in London went to health workers who weren't front line, a London Health Sciences Centre spokesperson tells the London Free Press. The spokesperson says they've since tightened the process of administering the vaccine to ensure prioritized front-line workers receive it first.
  • The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a legal advocacy group, has announced plans to defend church leaders in several southwestern Ontario communities who face charges under the Reopening Ontario Act for holding too-large public gatherings, the London Free Press reports.
  • There has been an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Guelph Police Service, CBC reports.
  • Windsor-Essex, one of the hardest-hit areas by the COVID-19 virus, has seen 2,000 cases emerge over 11 days and 38 deaths in less than a week, CBC reports.
  • The London-Middlesex region's largest morgue has reached its capacity because of the COVID-19 virus, and the London Health Sciences Centre has brought in a refrigeration trailer to deal with the overflow, CBC reports.
  • Employees at grocery stores in London and Sarnia have tested positive for COVID-19, CTV London reports.
  • As ICUs in Windsor begin to overflow, patients are being sent to Sarnia's Bluewater Health, the Petrolia and Central Lambton Independent reports.

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