COVID-19: What you need to know for March 26

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Mar 26, 2020

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This article was last updated at 5:33 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

  • As of 5:30 p.m., there are 835 confirmed active positive cases. Eight cases have been resolved; 15 people have died.

  • In a teleconference for media, Public Health Ontario officials said they're hoping to have Ontario's current testing backlog eliminated by early next week. PHO says that it is partnering with hospital laboratories and privately owned labs and expects to be able to increase testing capacity to 18,900 tests per day by April 17. (As of 10:30 a.m. today, Ontario's backlog was nearly 11,000 people.)

  • At a press conference this afternoon, Premier Doug Ford said that there are now 72 COVID-19 assessment centres operating across the province. 

  • As of 10:30 a.m., there were 837 active confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, 170 more than yesterday. Eight cases have been resolved; 13 people have died. The total number of patients approved for testing grew to 38,550 — an increase of nearly 3,000 tests relative to yesterday. The number of pending results grew by only 476 relative to yesterday morning.
  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has announced looser rules for licensed restaurants and bars: they will temporarily be allowed to serve liquor to take-out customers during the state of emergency. Licensed establishments will also be allowed to sell liquor for delivery, including by third-party delivery services.

  • At a press conference this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated that those returning from international travel must self-isolate, saying, "A 14-day quarantine will be mandatory. We are implementing the Quarantine Act. You could face serious fines and even prison time."

Greater Toronto Area

  • As of this afternoon, Toronto has 339 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 31 more than yesterday. There are 22 patients in hospital; 10 are in intensive care. According to Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, roughly one-quarter of cases in the city are a result of community spread. "If people do not follow these protective measures," she said of the city's physical-distancing protocols, "then stronger ones will be put in place."

  • The City of Toronto has acquired hotels and motels to help with its response to the homelessness problem amid the COVID-19 pandemic, city councillor Joe Cressy tweeted Thursday afternoon. "Additional opportunities to acquire hotels and vacant residential buildings are actively underway. Our commitment is to work flat out to protect the most vulnerable."

  • An inmate at the Toronto South Detention Centre has tested positive for COVID-19. Advocates have warned that Ontario's prisons are likely to be a hotbed of infection for the virus, due to poor sanitation and overcrowding.
  • The Toronto District School Board has closed "all playgrounds and other amenities, including sports fields and basketball and tennis courts, on school board property until further notice." 

Indigenous

Northern

Eastern

  • According to an internal memo obtained by CTV News, Ottawa's largest hospital is rationing face masks for staff, limiting them to two masks per shift. “I am worried that the hospital is leaving us unprotected,” an unnamed nurse told CTV News Ottawa. 

  • The City of Kingston has declared a state of emergency. "Declaring a state of emergency is not something I take lightly,” Mayor Bryan Paterson said in a press release Thursday afternoon. “This is about making sure we’re taking every step possible to support our community during this challenging time. We need access to any and all resources available and this declaration provides more flexibility to take local action."

  • The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark area. A woman in her seventies, who recently travelled to the United States, is currently at home in self-isolation. 

  • The Peterborough Examiner reports that 11 employees at the Pincecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon have tested positive for COVID-19. Three residents have also tested positive, though cardiologist Jeremy Jones said earlier this week that as many as 20 of the nursing home's 65 residents could have the virus.

  • Renfrew County has confirmed its first case of COVID-19. The 90-year-old woman is a resident of a local retirement home and has no recent history of travel. 
  • Hastings and Prince Edward counties have both declared states of emergency due to COVID-19. PEC mayor Steve Ferguson says that the declaration will not change the services being provided by the county and will allow the municipality to respond to likely flooding as the spring thaw continues. 

Southwestern

  • There are at least 15 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in region, including several cases in each of the Lambton County and Middlesex-London public-health regions, according to the province's update on testing results.

  • Windsor will be suspending its transit services from March 30 to April 13. "The risks associated with COVID-19 outweigh the inconvenience this shutdown will cause," Drew Dilkins, the city's mayor, said in a press release issued today.

  • Toyota, which has now had two of its workers at its Cambridge plant confirmed with COVID-19, is pushing back the reopening of its facilities in Cambridge and Woodstock until April 20. The company had previously said it would reopen on April 6, according to the CBC.

  • Hospitals in the Waterloo Region are seeking donations. On a new fundraising website, the area's three hospitals — Grand River Hospital, St. Mary's General Hospital and Cambridge Memorial Hospital — say that they will use the money to buy equipment, beds, and supplies.

  • Essex County is switching to electronic meetings that will be streamed on the municipality's website. County council authorized the approach in a special meeting held today.

  • A Haldimand County emergency-services staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19 is self-isolating at home, a Haldimand County news release said on Wednesday

  • Nuclear power operator Bruce Power has reduced the number of onsite workers by two-thirds and is cutting activities on a major component-replacement project. The company said in a news release that the reductions won't interrupt the power supply it delivers to Ontario's electrical grid. 

  • While many rural communities want seasonal residents to stay home, Haldimand County is allowing seasonal trailer parks to open earlier than usual; travel trailers or mobile homes on residential properties can be opened so that people can self-isolate. “We were contacted by a number of residents stuck abroad and seasonal sites requesting flexibility under these exceptional circumstances,” said Ken Hewitt, the county's mayor, in a news release on Wednesday.

  • Bruce County has closed all trails until further notice.

  • Details about an out-of-province contract worker at a Shell Canada facility in Sarnia who tested positive for COVID-19 are unknown because the company failed to contact the local public-health unit, according to the Petrolia and Central Lambton Independent. The worker was at the refinery from March 11 to 13. The company alerted its employees about the positive test on March 23. Sudit Ranade, Lambton medical officer of health, says that if the company had called, Lambton Public Health would have been able to trace details that could have determined whether employees who had come into contact with the worker needed to self-isolate.

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