COVID-19: What you need to know for March 2

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Mar 02, 2021

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This article was last updated on Tuesday at 4:40 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 966 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 302,805 since the pandemic began; 677 people are in hospital, 284 of them in intensive care, and 189 on ventilators. To date, 6,997 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 97 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 71 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 162 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,746 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
JMM Covid Graph March 2
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM Covid Graph March 2
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of March 2, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 231 new school-related student cases (for a total of 6,262) 30 new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,417), and one new case in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,134); 640 schools have a reported case, and 23 school are currently closed.

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  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 727,021 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.
  • On Monday, the Ontario government announced that it is investing $14.3 million in 2020-21 to support nearly 300 Seniors Active Living Centres. According to a statement released by the government, these programs will deliver new virtual initiatives to help keep seniors safe and socially connected as they continue to self-isolate due to COVID-19.
  • The Ontario government announced that it will provide $150 million in additional funding to help municipal transit systems address the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a statement released by the government, this funding is in addition to the $2 billion previously committed by Ontario and the federal government through the Safe Restart Agreement to help municipalities continue to deliver critical transit services.
  • According weekly statistics provided by the Canada Border Services Agency,  international air travel during the pandemic is less than a 10th of what it was before COVID-19, reports CP24. Reports point to new policies that require all international air travellers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 tests before boarding their planes as one reason for the decrease.
  • NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Ontario's minister of long-term-care Merrilee Fullerton should have voiced her concerns about the risk of COVID-19 in long-term-care homes earlier, reports the Globe and Mail. Horwath said if Fullerton had spoken up about the situation she could have saved lives.
  • CP24 reports that Ontario may push back the administration of second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to four months in an attempt get more shots to residents. In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said that the province is “actively engaged” with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) regarding potential updated direction on second dose intervals with “the goal of pursuing a similar direction to British Columbia.” On Monday, British Columbia announced that it would push back the administration of second doses following new research suggesting that both vaccines offer protection of at least 90 per cent after just one shot.
  • Unions in Ontario want to know if their members will qualify as essential workers making them eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as part of Phase 2 of Ontario's vaccine rollout plan, reports CBC. "As of this time, we have not been able to get any clarification from the Ontario government as to who fits their front-line worker criteria for Phase 2," said Joel Thelosen, spokesperson for United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada Local 1006A

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of March 1, there are 295 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 97, 931 since the pandemic began; 300 of them are in hospital (eight new). In total, 2,660 people have died (one new).
  • Toronto Public Health has recommended the temporary dismissal of staff and students at Donwood Park Public School in Scarborough as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak. Six people within the school have tested positive for COVID-19, including four who have screened positive for a variant of concern.
  • There will be more than 350 different locations administering COVID-19 vaccines in Toronto once supply improves, reports CP24. At a briefing on Monday, Toronto Mayor John Tory provided information about the city's wider vaccination network, which will include the nine city-operated clinics as well as 49 sites operated by hospitals, 46 sites operated by community health centres and 249 sites operated by pharmacies.

  • Toronto residents over the age of 80 will not be able to start pre-registering for vaccines because of the size of Toronto's population, reports CBC. According to Toronto's medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, the city is "organizing a vaccination campaign in a much more complicated and wide-ranging landscape" than other public-health units in the province. 

  • The Toronto Star reports that on Monday, 2,250 front-line constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls “where medical assistance may be required” became eligible for a vaccination alongside other medical first responders.

  • A York Region public school with six current cases of COVID-19 will be closed for two weeks starting Tuesday due to “operational constraints,” reports CP24.

  • The Toronto Raptors game against the Detroit Pistons scheduled for today at Amalie Arena has been postponed and tentatively rescheduled for Wednesday, pending additional COVID-19 test results, reports CBC.

  • About 250 people aged 85 and older were vaccinated for COVID-19 in Hamilton at the city's first public vaccine clinic yesterday, CHCH News reports. In three weeks, they'll get their second shot. About 11,000 people are eligible for jabs right now and Hamilton's phone booking system can handle about 150 calls at once. The provincial online-booking system is not open yet.

  • Since Saturday, Hamilton's mobile vaccine clinic has been vaccinating people in shelters, with the help of shelter staff and people with the Shelter Health Network. CBC Hamilton reports shelter staff can receive vaccines too. COVID-19 outbreaks in shelters have increased in the New Year, and people in congregate living are at high-risk of catching the virus.

  • Despite vaccinations picking up steam, local health officials say they are keeping a close watch on case counts and the virus' reproduction rate to determine if they should use Ontario's proverbial emergency brake to tighten restrictions, the Hamilton Spectator reports.

  • The province announced funding for public transit in Hamilton Monday, with about $17 million going to Hamilton. The Public Record reports the Hamilton Street Railway lost nearly $12 million in the last nine months of 2020.

  • Instead of declining like they had been, COVID-19 case counts in Niagara are flattening. That's because COVID-19 variants, which are more contagious, are spreading in the region, acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji says. As the St. Catharines Standard reports, there were 33 suspected variant cases in Niagara as of Monday, with most linked to travel within the GTA, or outside Ontario.

Indigenous

Northern

  • Algoma Public Health reported its fourth COVID-related death in the region. Due to privacy concerns, the health unit is reporting no further details. "This loss of life affects all of us deeply,” said Jennifer Loo, medical officer of health. “On behalf of Algoma Public Health, we offer our most sincere condolences to this person’s loved ones.”
  • A third death has been reported at the Skyline-Lancelot apartment building's outbreak in North Bay, according to the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit. The individual had tested positive for a variant of concern. Of the 42 cases in the outbreak, 15 have been confirmed to have the South African COVID variant.
  • On Wednesday, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit will begin vaccinating people aged 85 years and over at its vaccination clinic at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition Coliseum building. The clinic was fully booked in a matter of hours, reports TBNewswatch. More than 500 people are expected to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week.
  • The return to lockdown in the Thunder Bay district has led to a number of closures for winter sport enthusiasts, including the closure of the Port Arthur Curling Club and the Kakabeka Falls Curling Club. The Superior International Junior Hockey League has also cancelled the remainder of their season.
  • Ontario has responded to the City of Thunder Bay’s request for support to help manage the city’s isolation facilities for high-risk individuals with COVID-19. According to TBNewswatch, the province will provide 10 to 20 personnel to assist in isolation facilities.
  • Last night, Marathon town council passed a resolution requesting to return to the red zone under the provincial COVID-19 framework, if the lockdown in the Thunder Bay district extends beyond March 15, 2021. Marathon currently has no active COVID-19 cases, and the town’s mayor, Rick Dumas, says the town shouldn’t be faced with the same restrictions, CBC Thunder Bay reports.

Eastern

  • The Kingston region is set to be one of six “soft launch” sites for the province’s vaccination booking system, known as COVaxOn, CTV News reports. Only those who are contacted by the health unit and are over the age of 80 will be able to book. A vaccination clinic opened in the city’s west end on Monday, the Belleville Intelligencer reports.
  • There were no new cases of COVID-19 reported in the Kingston region yesterday, with the total case count at nine, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports. A variant of concern was discovered in a February 26 test.
  • Ottawa has now administered more than 50,000 vaccine doses and plans to begin vaccinating those over 80 years old in certain neighborhoods on Friday, Global News reports. Ottawa Public Health reported 65 new COVID-19 cases on Monday for a total of 510 active cases. The Queensway Carleton Hospital is one of the Ottawa sites preparing to carry out vaccinations, when vaccine supply becomes more available, according to CTV News.
  • An employee of Greg’s No Frills in downtown Peterborough has tested positive for the virus, the Peterborough Examiner reports. The employee was last at work on February 25.

Southwestern

  • Norfolk and Haldimand's medical officer of health received a $160,000 top-up for COVID-19–related overtime worked in 2020, the Simcoe Reformer reports.
  • An outbreak of COVID-19 at Six Nations of the Grand River currently involves 116 confirmed cases, CBC Kitchener reports.
  • Librarians in the Waterloo Region tell the Cambridge Times that people are reading more books in different forms.
  • A market gardener near St. Marys is planning to donate produce he grows to help local families who have been struggling because of the pandemic, the Woodstock-Sentinel Review reports.
  • The Stratford Festival will hold performances outdoors this year to conform to public health guidelines concerning COVID-19 social distancing, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • Residents in the London area who are over 80 can begin booking appointments for COVID-19 vaccination today, Blackburn News reports. Indigenous adults over the age of 55 and an expanded list of healthcare workers are also able to book appointments this week, with healthcare workers advised to wait for notification from their employers.
  • An April parade to honour frontline workers in the pandemic will take to the skies over St. Thomas, CTV London reports.
  • More than 2,000 people received vaccines at a weekend clinic in Chatham-Kent, the Chatham-Kent Daily News reports.
  • A Windsor area grocery store has been identified as a potential exposure point for a variant of COVID-19, Blackburn News reports.
  • A Windsor MPP says his office has been deluged by calls from people who have encountered difficulties crossing the Canadian-U.S. border since new rules for COVID-19 screening have been introduced, CBC Windsor reports.
  • Onsite COVID-19 testing will begin on Thursday at two border crossings in Windsor, CTV Windsor reports.
  • Volunteers will help drive seniors in the Windsor and Essex County area to COVID-19 vaccination appointments, CTV Windsor reports.


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