COVID-19: What you need to know for January 8

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on Jan 08, 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 Friday at 4:30 p.m.


  • Per today's government report, there are 4,249 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 208,394 since the pandemic began; 1,446 people are in hospital, 369 of them in intensive care, and 250 on ventilators. To date, 4,882 people have died. Today's count for new cases includes approximately 450 cases from January 5 and 6 that were not properly entered on those days
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 224 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 1,350 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 1,269 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 2,929 confirmed resident deaths and ten confirmed staff deaths.

Jan 8
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
Jan 8
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 87,563 total does of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario. 

  • According to a memo obtained by CBC, Ontario is telling hospitals to prepare for transferring dozens and potentially hundreds of patients across and even out of regions, as the number of people sick with COVID-19 fill the province's beds. "We need to work as a provincial system at a level never required before," wrote president and CEO of Ontario Health, Matthew Anderson

  • Ontario is stepping up genomic surveillance in areas where coronavirus infections are trending upward faster than average, reports The Globe and Mail. According to Vanessa Allen, chief of microbiology and laboratory science at Public Health Ontario, the increased out of concern that new variants could be accelerating the spread of COVID-19.The regions include Windsor-Essex, Hamilton, Durham, Peel, York and Toronto.
  • Ontario's former deputy minister of health and long-term care, Bob Bell, told the Long-Term-Care independent commission that Ontario faced a shortage of personal protective equipment at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in part, because it did not replenish its stockpiles over the previous years, reports CP24. According to Bell, the province's supply of personal protective equipment should have been refilled around 2017 or 2018, under the previous and current provincial regimes.
  • Yesterday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, David Williams, said that implementing a provincewide curfew to prevent increased COVID-19 transmission is on the table, reports CP24. "That’s one of the things we will consider,” said Williams.
  • Ontario dentists on the frontline want early access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ontario Dental Association is calling on the province to include dentists among other healthcare professionals on the priority list for vaccinations.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of January 7, there are 1,442 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 67,840 since the pandemic began; 71 of them are in hospital. In total, 2 people have died. Today's numbers includes an increase in case counts reported today of approximately 450 cases. According to Toronto Public Health, this is a result of a backlog in data entry that has now been addressed.
  • Dr. Kevin Smith, President and CEO of the University Health Network says its hospitals will be out of the COVID-19 vaccine today, reports CP24. In a tweet sent out on Thursday night, Smith said that UHN has 3,000 people booked per day between Saturday and Monday, and ugently needs vaccines.
  • An outbreak at Tendercare Living Centre, a long-term-care home in Scarborough, has become the deadliest in the province since the start of the pandemic with 73 resident deaths, reports CP24.
  • Yesterday, Toronto marked 2,000 deaths since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. " “We mourn all the innocent lives lost to COVID-19 with their families, friends, colleagues, and neighbours. This grim milestone of more than 2,000 deaths in our city over the last year should remind us all that this is a deadly virus and we must take precautions to protect ourselves and our families and continue to follow the public health advice," said Mayor John Tory in a statement.
  • As Ontario nurses warn of "brutal" weeks to come, Hamilton hospitals are preparing for significantly more COVID-19 cases, the Hamilton Spectator reports. About one in ten intensive-care patients in Hamilton have the coronavirus. According to the Spectator, over 20 per cent of all Hamilton's COVID-19 hospitalizations have occurred in the past two weeks, and 50 per cent since the start of December. Hospital's preparations include performing more surgeries in the day to reduce overnight stays, and opening a field hospital.
  • Hamilton Health Sciences had opened a pop-up hospital downtown to better meet capacity and care for people moving between hospital and community care. That site is now dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak with seven people infected, including five patients and two staff, the Spectator reports.
  • The head of a Hamilton hospital has either resigned or been fired after vacationing in the Caribbean in December, in defiance of public health guidelines. Dr. Thomas Stewart, who was removed as CEO at Niagara Health on Wednesday and stepped down from a number of advisory boards on Tuesday, will no longer lead St. Joseph's Health System, the board said Thursday. As CBC Hamilton reports, the hospital would not say if he left voluntarily or not. An internal memo for staff acknowledged frustration within the hospital. As of yet, it is unclear who approved Stewart's vacation, or if he will receive the $1 million golden parachute that is part of his contract (dependent on the conditions of his termination).
  • Niagara public health is considering identifying workplace outbreaks, which have accounted for about 10 per sent of the region's cases, but not been made public for the most part. Acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji told the St. Catharines Standard he's looking at Toronto's plan to do so and thinking about how it might work in Niagara. He said publicizing such outbreaks could risk the privacy of individuals infected in small workplaces.


  • As of January 7, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 3,288 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 95 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 290 COVID-19 cases in total.
(Indigenous Services Canada)


  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts reports 29 new cases between December 31 and January 7, along with 14 resolved cases, bringing the total active number in the 32 cases: 24 within Greater Sudbury and five within Manitoulin District.
  • An outbreak was declared at Great Northern Retirement Home in Sault Ste. Marie after a staff member tested positive, according to Algoma Public Health.
  • The Porcupine Health Unit declared an outbreak at Extendicare long-term-care in Kapuskasing after a resident tested positive.
  • North Bay police fine three men for lockdown violations at a social gathering in the city following an argument between a tenant and landlord, according to CBC Sudbury. Police say they had used an educational approach to lockdown regulations, but will now enforce the law.
  • A staff member at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Thunder Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. It’s unclear when the staff member tested positive for the virus, TBNewswatch reports. As a result of the incident, the hospital is reviewing visitor restrictions at the facility.
  • Riverside Health Care in Fort Frances has opened a COVID-19 assessment centre behind LaVerendrye General Hospital that is by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling the Assessment Centre at (807)274-3261 ext. 4913.
  • Yesterday, the province announced northern Ontario will remain in lockdown for another two weeks, until at least January 23. Meanwhile, students in northern Ontario will return to school on Monday, January 11.


  • There were 68 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Ottawa on Thursday, according to Ottawa Public Health. As a part of an order to limit the size of outdoor recreational activities to 25 people, Ottawa has also banned the playing of ice hockey, Global News reports.
  • During the pandemic, Ottawa has been a national leader in wastewater testing for the presence of COVID-19 and is now racing to be able to identify the new strain of the virus in wastewater. Researchers expect they may succeed in a few weeks, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a major drop in tax revenue related to tourism in Kingston, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports, with the municipal accommodation tax bringing in $2 million less in 2020 than the year before.
  • Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, is asking students to consider getting a COVID-19 test before they return to in-person school later this month, the Kingstonist reports. “Have you travelled outside Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A)? If you have, your risk for acquiring COVID is much higher,” he said.


  • Windsor Regional Hospital tells CBC that it will have to stall its COVID-19 vaccination program for three weeks if the province doesn't up its allotment of vaccine.
  • A gym in Arthur near Guelph is defying provincial shutdown orders, and protesters from Toronto have joined the owner's fight to remain open, the Wellington Advertiser reports.
  • Elementary schools in Six Nations are still on track for reopening on February 1, but, as Two Row Times reports, the community — Canada's largest Indigenous community — lacks a vaccine supply, despite the adjacent Brant County having received an allocation and the province announcing that it has begun to fly in vaccines to remote First Nations in northern Ontario. According to Blackburn News, vaccines have yet to arrive in southwestern Ontario rural areas, such as Huron and Perth Counties and Chatham-Kent.
  • Nova Chemicals in Sarnia is accepting workers back to work after two outbreaks at the plant, the Sarnia Journal reports. The plant has screened 2,000 workers for COVID-19 as part of the return to work strategy.
  • Chatham hospitals are nearly full, but there are no plans in place (so far) to put a field hospital into effect, Blackburn News reports.
  • London Health Sciences Centre is planning to take non-critical care patients from Windsor Regional Hospital to help create more capacity at the Windsor facility, Blackburn News reports. The hospital currently is dealing with 57 COVID-19, a third of which are in ICU, and projects it could have 130 COVID patients by Feb. 24, a spokesperson tells the Windsor Star.
  • London COVID-19 assessment centres will no longer test people needing a COVID-19 test to travel outside of Canada as of January 15, Blackburn News reports.
  • As cases of COVID-19 surge in the London area, the Middlesex-London Health Unit is advising that people diagnosed with the virus will have to be the first to alert their close contacts, the London Free Press reports. Previously, the health unit alerted people who had been in contact with a confirmed case. Dr. Alex Summers, of the health unit, tells reporter Jennifer Bieman that they will follow up with those who have been contacted but, because of the surge, are backlogged.

For more information:

Ontario Hubs are made possible by the Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust & Goldie Feldman.

Thinking of your experience with, how likely are you to recommend to a friend or colleague?
Not at all Likely
Extremely Likely

Most recent in Coronavirus