This article was last updated on Thursday at 4:59 p.m.
- Per today's government report, there are 2,380 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 336,070 since the pandemic began; 894 people are in hospital, 332 of them in intensive care, and 212 on ventilators. To date, 7,280 people have died.
- According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 46 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 8 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 95 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,753 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
- As of March 25, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 135 new school-related student cases (for a total of 8,737) 39 new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,947), and no new case in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,156); 1,033 schools have a reported case, and 43 schools are currently closed.
Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 79,446 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 1,755,596 since December 2020. 1,146,825 people have received only one dose, and 304,386 people have received both doses.
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The Ontario government released the new budget yesterday. TVO.org's John Michael McGrath reports on the four things you need to know about Ontario's new budget.
Ontario families with children can expect to receive a new round of payments from the government aimed at relieving pressures related to the pandemic, reports CP24.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
- According to data as of March 24, there are 1,036 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 108,288 since the pandemic began; 276 of them are in hospital (21 new). In total, 2,761 people have died (five new).
- The City of Toronto is making an additional $3 million available to all shelters, 24-hour respites sites, temporary response programs and daytime drop-ins to support implementation of additional Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures. According to a statement, the measures respond to the emergence of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOCs), which create increased risk due to their potentially greater transmissibility.
- Yesterday, Mayor John Tory announced that the TTC’s Wheel-Trans service will be reaching out to 26,000 customers to provide COVID-19 vaccine registration information. According to a statement, Wheel-Trans will be providing rides to City-run mass vaccination sites for existing Wheel-Trans customers and for those who qualify for Wheel-Trans service. Wheel-Trans will be contacting its 26,000 existing customers via email, as well as through other channels, including newsletters, phone messages, and messages on its website and booking sites for those interested in booking a vaccine appointment.
- According to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Toronto's Pearson International Airport lost $383 million last year as the number of passengers plunged nearly 74 per cent from 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports CTV News.
- Hamilton's medical officer of health, Elizabeth Richardson, says the city could go into the stricter "grey" level of Ontario's pandemic restrictions this week, but she's not sure it's necessary. Richardson says rising cases alone could qualify Hamilton for tighter restrictions, but she thinks a regional lockdown would be the most effective way of limiting the third surge of COVID-19, the Hamilton Spectator reports. A public health physician told a BIA meeting this week he expects Hamilton to be in the grey zone by Friday.
- After not initially clarifying how Indigenous adults could sign up to receive vaccinations, Hamilton public health now says Indigenous community members 18 years and older can book an appointment through the city hotline. The Spectator has an updated guide on vaccination within the city.
- A city report found Hamilton staff experienced a 530 per cent hike in accessing mental health supports last year, and a 244 per cent spike in accessing stress management and resilience programs. That's 2,805 employees and 1,214 employees respectively. As the Spectator reports, the first year of the pandemic also saw a 2.7 per cent increase in overtime between 2019 and 2020, as well as the redeployment of many staff.
- As TVO.org's Nathaniel Basen reports, Hamilton will be a beneficiary of $1 billion in new transit spending in Ontario's second pandemic budget. Ontario's budget contains over $8 billion in transportation infrastructure spending in 2021 and 2022 alone.
- As of March 22, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1,136 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 273 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 1,531 COVID-19 cases.
As of March 23, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 610 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 226,790 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.
The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, in Ottawa, is hosting an Indigenous Family COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Wabano on April 8, 9, and 10.
As of March 24, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 11 active cases of COVID-19 in the community.
As of March 23, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is reporting 0 active cases of COVID. They have administered 1484 first doses of the COVID vaccine and an additional 189 members have had first and second doses completed.
The Mindimooyenh Vaccination Clinic invites Indigenous people over 16 years old (18 years old for some of the vaccines) to book an appointment to receive their vaccine in Thunder Bay. The registration line is now open Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
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.
Tungasuvvingat Inuit has put together a list of vaccination clinics happening for Inuit living in Ontario including ones in Ottawa, Kingston, Durham and Peel Regions.
- The Sault Area Hospital is facing a $9.3 million deficit due in part to COVID expenses, according to the Sault Star. The combined hospital sector net deficit for April to November 2020 was $521 million, inclusive of expenses, lost revenue, and balanced budget plans not implemented due to COVID-19 says the Ontario Hospital Association.
- Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas says Sudbury should be considered a COVID hotspot to receive more resources, according to the Sudbury Star. “Monday morning, hundreds of residents of the Northeast desperately called pharmacies, public health, my office, even the media asking where were the vaccines that the premier announced,” Gelinas said during Question Period at Queen's Park, noting that Sudbury has been under lockdown since March 12 and outbreaks have occurred in hospitals, shelters, apartment buildings and mines. “This caused unnecessary stress for residents and a waste of health providers’ time.”
- Five more people in the Thunder Bay region have died from COVID-19, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit reported yesterday.
- Leaders in Thunder Bay are still calling on the province to designate the region a COVID-19 hotspot. Yesterday, Judith Monteith-Farrell, NDP MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan, brought up the issues again during Question Period, to which Health Minister Christine Elliot said the province would send more vaccines to Thunder Bay if needed, TBNewswatch reports.
- In a statement issued Wednesday, Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro said his office has received a number of calls from residents who are having difficulty accessing the province’s online booking system as well as complaints about the lack of vaccine availability, TBNewswatch reports.
- Kieran Moore, the medical officer of health for the Kingston region, announced on Wednesday that a person positive for COVID-19 recently traveled on Kingston Transit. The person traveled on bus routes 502 and 4 on March 21, the Kinstonist reports.
- Moore says that April will be a “difficult month” for Kingston in regards to COVID-19, due to rising case counts throughout Ontario and in particular, the rising frequency of variants, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports. Asked about the role Queen’s students have played in spreading the virus, Moore responded, “I understand their anger, but the virus is where we should direct our anger. .. It is very nasty, it spreads easily.”
- At least eight employees at a Peterborough Walmart have contracted COVID-19, the Peterborough Examiner reports. The cases were contracted outside the store, which remains open.
- A surge of COVID-19 cases has been reported in Grenville, with cases increasing fivefold since last Friday, from six active cases to 30 active cases as of Wednesday, the Belleville Intelligencer reports.
- Several Ottawa-area schools have been forced to close temporarily after teachers were exposed to COVID-19 cases and went into isolation, with administrators not able to find their replacements quickly enough, the Ottawa Citizen reports. As of Wednesday, there were 146 active cases linked to Ottawa schools.
- Advocacy groups in southwestern Ontario are calling for a human rights inquiry into whether systemic ageism has been practiced in the regional healthcare system's response to COVID-19, CTV London reports.
- The Waterloo Region will remain in the orange zone of the provincial COVID-19 response framework for now, CTV Kitchener reports.
- The Waterloo Region has opened a second COVID-19 vaccination clinic for the area's Indigenous community, CTV Kitchener reports.
- London and area school boards have nixed voluntary standardized testing for high school students this year because of the pandemic and how safety protocols might affect test schedules, the London Free Press reports.
- A downtown London drop-in space for the city's homeless community has closed after having been linked to two cases of COVID-19, Blackburn News reports.
- A Western University professor has contributed to a global study that says giving surgery patients COVID-19 vaccinations before their operations could save as many as 60,000 patients around the world, CTV London reports.
- Sarnia's mayor says Ontario Premier Doug Ford has promised to send more COVID-19 vaccine to the area within two weeks, Blackburn News reports. Sarnia and Lambton County are currently in lockdown.
- Windsor and Essex County are among 10 regions in Ontario that will receive extra doses of COVID-19 vaccine because they have been identified as hot spots for the virus, CTV Windsor reports.
- Windsor Regional Hospital has shortened its opening hours at its Ouellette Campus assessment centre, Blackburn News reports.
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