COVID-19: What you need to know for January 7

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on Jan 07, 2021


X 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 Thursday at 4:45 p.m.


  • Per today's government report,there are 3,519 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 204,145 since the pandemic began; 1,472 people are in hospital, 363 of them in intensive care, and 242 on ventilators. To date, 4,856 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 218 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 1,258 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 1,230 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 2,909 confirmed resident deaths and ten confirmed staff deaths.

JAN 7 Chart
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
Chart Jan 7
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 72,631 total does of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario. 
  • Today, the Ontario government announced that they will be extending online learning until January 25, 2021 for elementary school students in the 27 Southern Ontario public health unit regions and extending the shutdown in Northern Ontario for another 14 days. "With the public health trends where they are across the province, our priority remains keeping students, teachers, school staff, and all Ontarians safe," said premier Ford in a statement.
  • Yesterday, the Ontario government announced a voluntary and free border testing pilot program at Toronto Pearson International Airport for for eligible international travellers returning to Ontario. Travellers will be able to pre-register for the program or proceed to get tested when they arrive at the airport, results will be reported into Ontario's Lab Information System within 48 hours, and local public health units will follow up on all positive tests
  • At a news conference yesterday, Premier Doug Ford said the province will decide in the coming days whether or not more stringent lockdown measures will be put in place to curb the province's rising COVID-19 cases, reports CBC. "We're doing everything we can, we're throwing everything at it," said premier Ford.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 6, there are 941 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 66,417since the pandemic began; 37 of them are in hospital. In total, 29 people have died.
  • Four employees working at Toronto's St. Lawrence Market have tested positive for COVID-19. One employee is a staff member of the City’s Facilities Management section and three employees work at three different merchant stores in the Market.

  • Toronto’s medical officer of health says that there was a “concerning” increase in people with COVID-19 who reported attending gatherings with individuals outside of their households over the holidays, reports CP24. Dr. Eileen de Villa said that nearly 32 per cent of respondents to Toronto Public Health’s online source of infection survey admitted to gathering with people outside of their households between December 22 and January 4 compared to about 21 per cent of respondents in “the weeks prior.”

  • The Hamilton Spectator reports over a quarter of residents in the city's Grace Villa long-term care home have died. The home is the site of Hamilton's largest and deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, with the virus having infected 231 people and killing 42 since the outbreak started November 25. Hamilton Health Sciences took over management of the home for 90 days on December 16. The second largest outbreak in the city is at the Shalom Village long-term care home, where the coronavirus has infected 184 people and killed 19 since December 9. The home recently announced new case reporting and contact tracing procedures.

  • The Spectator also reports that the owners of Hamilton's Rosslyn Retirement Residence are now facing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of residents. COVID-19 killed 16 people at the home in May, and homes owned by the same family, the Martinos, were condemned by sanctions, orders, licence revocations and evacuations. People also alleged poor living conditions in the homes.

  • Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff tweeted Wednesday that Niagara will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines next week. Niagara's acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji, who on Tuesday lamented the region not receiving vaccines, tweeted that Niagara will need even more to end the tragedy in long-term care homes.

  • After CBC reported Tuesday that the CEO of St. Joseph's Health System and Niagara Health, Dr. Tom Stewart, visited the Caribbean during a December vacation, Stewart resigned from his advisory board positions. On Wednesday night, a statement from Niagara Health's board of directors said Stewart would no longer be CEO. As CBC Hamilton reported, he was still CEO of St. Joseph's Health System as of Wednesday night. Earlier in the day, Premier Doug Ford opted not to weigh in on whether Stewart should step down or be asked to resign as CEO, saying only that the boards of directors at St. Joseph's Health System and Niagara Health would need to make a "tough decision." Stewart was one of the people advising the premier.


  • As of January 5, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 3,349 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 Jan 4
(Indigenous Services Canada)
  • The Thunder Bay District health unit has put out a warning that some passengers on two Air Canada Jazz flights from Toronto to Thunder Bay, on January 1 and January 2, are at a low risk of COVID-19 exposure. The flight and aisle numbers are: AC7932 rows 13-19 and AC392 rows rows 14-20.
  • Six Nations is hosting a virtual Bingo game Friday January 8 from 11am - noon.


  • A second inmate at the Thunder Bay District Jail has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the Thunder Bay District Health Unit to declare outbreaks at that facility and the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre, where the inmates are now in isolation, as TBNewswatch reports.
  • A staff member at Brain Injury Services of Northern Ontario has tested positive for COVID-19, TBNewswatch reports. The organization shares a building with McKellar Place Senior Living, a retirement home.
  • Lakehead Public Schools has announced its secondary students will now be taught in a hybrid model. Students will be taught by the same classroom teacher, whether they are in class or learning from home.
  • Yesterday, the Northwestern Health Unit announced 13 new COVID-19 cases in Kenora, an all-time high for the city, as Kenora Daily Miner & News reports. As of yesterday, there are 31 COVID-19 cases in the Northwestern Health Unit catchment area.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is reporting 9 new COVID-19 cases, for a total of 54 in the region.
  • Ten new cases reported in Sault Ste. Marie and area Wednesday, according to Algoma Public Health. Algoma Public Health also reports of an exposure risk on Air Canada flight AC 8325 from Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie on December 28 for passengers in rows 3-9 and for flight crews. There are a total of 39 active cases in Algoma Public Health's area.
  • An outbreak at Kirkland Lake Extendicare LTC was declared after one staff member tested positive, according to the Timiskaming Health Unit.
  • Long-term-care patients in the James Bay will be receiving COVID-vaccines Friday, CBC Sudbury reports. Widespread rollout of the vaccine to the region will occur throughout February.
  • North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit declares an outbreak at Lakeland LTC today in Parry Sound after one staff member tested positive.


  • An Ottawa woman is upset that a contact tracing call to say she may have been exposed to COVID-19 at a restaurant did not come until nearly two weeks after the possible exposure, CBC News reports.
  • There was a slight dip in new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa on Wednesday, Global News reports. The 87 new cases were the first time that new cases had risen by less than 100 per day in 2021.
  • Nine staff members and five residents have tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak at a Community Living home in Peterborough, Peterborough This Week reports. Six cases are considered resolved.
  • Peterborough’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra said on Wednesday that there had been a tripling of COVID-19 cases in Peterborough over the holidays, the Peterborough Examiner reports. “If we were not in the midst of this provincial shutdown, we would have gone from orange to potentially red this week,” she said.


  • The union that represents Canadian Border Service Agents in Windsor wants the federal government to introduce rapid testing for COVID-19 at the Windsor-Detroit border, Blackburn News reports.
  • Waterloo Region's medical officer of health says people continuing to work when they are sick because they lack paid sick leave may be a key factor in the increase of work-related outbreaks in the region, CBC reports.
  • In an effort to support their local retailers during the COVID-19 province-wide shutdown, Sarnia council is calling on the province to limit sales at big box stores to essential items, the Sarnia Observer reports.
  • Bluewater Health in Sarnia and Lambton County is growing concerned about staffing numbers as the number of COVID-19 cases in that region continue to grow, Blackburn News reports.
  • The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has postponed elective and non-urgent surgeries in an effort to create more critical-care capacity to deal with COVID-19, Chatham Daily News reports.
  • In the Windsor-Essex region where the per-capita rate of COVID-19 cases is one of the highest in Ontario, this local long term care facility has kept the virus at bay. The home's residents, however, are paying a high emotional price for the vigilance that has kept them safe, as CBC reports.
  • Funeral homes are feeling the brunt in London as the COVID-19 death toll mounts, and their struggle is causing a backlog at morgues, CTV reports.
  • Five members of the Stratford fire department have tested positive for COVID-19, the city has announced.

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