COVID-19: What you need to know for March 16

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Mar 16, 2021

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This article was last updated on Tuesday at 4:14 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 1,074 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 320,448 since the pandemic began; 761 people are in hospital, 292 of them in intensive care, and 194 on ventilators. To date, 7,173 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 80 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 43 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 138 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,752 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
JMM COVID-19 Graph March 16
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM COVID-19 Graph March 16
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of March 16, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 301 new school-related student cases (for a total of 7,581) 66 new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,686), and no new cases in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,154); 893 schools have a reported case, and 27 schools are currently closed.

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  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 1,191,553 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

  • The Ontario government announced that it is investing $30 million to help the retirement home sector cover COVID-19 related costs such as hiring, training and testing additional staff, and sanitizing residences and purchasing supplies to prevent and contain the spread of infection. According to a statement from the government, this funding is in addition to the $30.9 million that the province provided retirement homes earlier in the pandemic.

  • According to the Ontario Hospital Association, the province is currently experiencing a third wave of the pandemic. In a tweet published on Monday, the Ontario Hospital Associationsaid that variants of concern are steeply rising and the number of patients in intensive care is trending upwards, reports CP24.

  • Some pharmacies in Ontario say they are already starting to run short on doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine less than a week after the province launched a pilot project to roll out the shots, reports CP24.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of March 15, there are 382 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 103,351 since the pandemic began; 284 of them are in hospital (four new). In total, 2,726 people have died (five new).
  • On Monday, the City of Toronto has announced the formation of a COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Working Group. According to a statement released by the City, the COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Working Group is implementing a multi-sectoral approach to boost vaccine confidence in Toronto, including among health care professionals and communities with historically low vaccination rates.
  • To date, 282,037 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Toronto, notes the most recent vaccination update. Starting Wednesday, March 17, the City will begin vaccinating residents born in 1941 and earlier at three of the City-operated mass immunization clinics: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto Congress Centre and Scarborough Town Centre. Vaccinations will also begin at the Malvern Community Recreation Centre and Mitchell Field Community Centre clinics on March 29 and at The Hangar clinic site on April 5.
  • The Toronto Star reports that for many residents across the GTA, their public health units are advising people to use locals systems to book vaccination appointments. Although this is not the case in Toronto, it is in regions like Peel, Durham, and Halton.
  • Three bus routes serving industrial areas of west Brampton will resume full service today, a week after they were diverted from the area or shut down entirely due to a COVID-19 outbreak investigation that eventually shut down an Amazon fulfillment centre, reports CP24.

  • In a briefing Monday, Hamilton's medical officer of health, Elizabeth Richardson, said she was "quite concerned" about the city's rising COVID-19 numbers. Infections are back up at early February levels and more-dangerous variants continue to spread, the Hamilton Spectator reports. The weekly rate of cases Is 77 per 100,000 people, up from 56 per 100,000 people last week. The reproduction number is 1.15, the highest since Jan. 7, and above 0.7, where it should be to control variants.

  • McMaster Children’s Hospital’s program for eating disorders reports having double the number of children on its patient list (300) than it typically does. As the Spectator reports, pediatrics departments across Canada say the pandemic has increased the prevalence and severity of eating disorders. Hospitalizations following a suicide attempt more than tripled between October and January compared to that time last year, with many youth reporting COVID-19-related social issues.

  • CBC Hamilton interviewed several centenarians about their experiences getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Most say they're eager to get back out doing the things they love.

  • As CHCH News reports, Hamilton's film industry is set to have its busiest first quarter ever, with productions coming to the city in favour of places with more COVID-19 cases, such as Toronto.

  • In Niagara, where the acting medical officer of health, Mustafa Hirji, has described COVID-19 vaccination as a race against time, about 58 per cent (or 15,000) of the region's over-80 population have, or are booked for their shot. The St. Catharines Standard reports that COVID-19 variants are spreading quickly, with 118 cases reported Monday, up from 64 last week. That means about 40 per cent of the region's 256 active coronavirus cases are variants.

Indigenous

  • As of March 15, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1,266 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 258 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 1,471 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of March 12, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 538 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 166,084 doses have been administered. ISC reminds the urban Indigenous population that First Nations living off reserve, Inuit and Métis are or will receive COVID-19 vaccination through their provincial or territorial health services. ISC is aware of vaccinations already taking place in several urban centres, including Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Whitehorse and clinics are being planned in several others, including Saskatoon and Regina.
  • Urban Indigenous COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be happening in Orillia, Midland, and Barrie on March 20, 26 and 30 respectively. The clinics are hosted by Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin and the Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle.
  • For the week of March 8 - 12 Wasauksing First Nation is reporting 0 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of March 15, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is reporting 1 active case of COVID. They have administered 1050 first doses of the COVID vaccine and an additional 22 members have had first and second doses completed.
  • Indigenous residents of Peel who are 18 years of age and older can now get the COVID-19 vaccine at clinics in Brampton, Caledon or Mississauga. Appointments must be booked in advance.
  • As of March 15, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 35 active cases of COVID-19. There were six new cases reported on Saturday and two new cases reported on Sunday.

Northern

  • Greater Sudbury's parademics are helping administer vaccines to homebound people 80 and up. The pilot project is designed to assist people who are unable to access the vaccination clinics, and the health unit says it is exploring opportunities to run similar projects with other paramedic services in its region. “This pilot project is an example of the invaluable partnership with the City of Greater Sudbury—we tip our hats to the paramedics for willingness to step up to offer vaccines to these most vulnerable members of our community," says Penny Sutcliffe medical officer of health.
  • Algoma Public Health reports five new cases and an outbreak at Central Algoma Secondary School in the town of Desbarat. At this time, Grades 9 to 12 have switched over to virtual learning as of Monday, but the school’s junior kindergarten to Grade 8 are open for in-person learning. There are 15 active cases in the health unit's region.
  • An outbreak at Kirkland Lake Gold's Macassa mine has been resolved according to the Timiskaming Health Unit.
  • Another person has died from COVID-19 in the Thunder Bay region. So far, in March, 8 people have died from the virus in the region, for a total of 38 people who’ve died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
  • The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is managing a COVID-19 outbreak in its 1A Medicine Unit that has infected four patients in the 24-bed unit. The hospital remains in lockdown, and so far, has “redirected five patients from the region who would typically come to Thunder Bay for ICE care to the east and south,” Dr. Peter Voros, COVID-19 incident management team lead at the hospital told TBNewswatch. As of yesterday, the hospital had 44 COVID-19 patients, including 11 in intensive care.
  • An outbreak has been declared at Ka-Na-Chi-Hih treatment centre in Thunder Bay after six individuals associated with the facility tested positive for COVID-19.

Eastern

  • Some people from the Ottawa area are travelling to the Kingston region to be vaccinated as part of the area’s pharmacy vaccination pilot project, CBC News reports. There is no stipulation that the pilot project only vaccinate residents of the Kingston area, though recipients must be aged 60-64. The Kingston region’s public health unit, however, recommends not travelling outside your own region.
  • As of Monday, out of 32 active COVID-19 cases in the Kingston area, 18 involved variants of concern, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports. This marks an increase in cases in the region and Kieran Moore, the region’s medical officer of health, said in a news conference Monday that the region is headed toward the yellow zone, which is a step more restrictive than its current green status. Twenty of the region’s cases have been linked to an outbreak at Queen’s University, Global News reports. The outbreak stemmed from a person who traveled to the Greater Toronto Area, according to Moore.
  • An outdoor concert featuring rapid COVID-19 testing is scheduled in Ottawa for later this month, CTV News reports. Organizers say it will be a first of its kind event and could serve as a “dry run” for reopening the country’s live music industry.
  • The head of the local vaccination task force in Ottawa says that he anticipates all those aged 80 years and older who wish to have the vaccine will be able to receive it by the first week of April, CTV News reports.

Southwestern

  • The medical officer of health for the Waterloo Region warns that local supply of COVID-19 vaccine is not enough to stop a third wave of the virus, CTV Kitichener reports.
  • As COVID-19 pandemic drags on, local museums are struggling to attract visitors and remain engaged with local audiences, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • The number of cases of COVID-19 linked to student off-campus parties in London has risen to 45, the London Free Press reports.
  • At least three Sarnia businesses are defying provincial lock-down orders to close, CTV London reports. The region was placed under the province's grey COVID-19 zone of control on Monday.
  • Windsor–Essex County Public Health is asking residents 80 years and older to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments through the local health unit rather than the newly launched provincial booking system, the Windsor Star reports.
  • The Windsor–Essex County Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the South West Detention Centre after four inmates at the Windsor jail tested positive for the virus, CTV Windsor reports.


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