This article was last updated at 5:44 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.
As of 5:30 p.m., according to the government's website, there are 967 confirmed active positive cases in the province. In total, eight have been resolved, and 18 people have died.
According to the afternoon media conference at Queen's Park with the chief medical officer of health, Ontario can expect the number of "resolved" cases to increase substantially in the coming days; more than 200 people are expected to no longer be testing positive for COVID-19. Sixty people are currently in hospital, and 32 are currently on ventilators in intensive care.
Ontario's health ministry has given hospitals approval to fast-track capacity expansion to house patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this morning that a previously announced wage subsidy for small and medium businesses — intended to help keep people employed as businesses are idle — is being increased from 10 per cent to 75 per cent. Trudeau says he hopes that this measure, and others, will allow businesses that have had to lay off workers to rehire them.
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The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is cutting its overnight interest-rate target to 0.25 per cent. This marks the third rate cut in just over three weeks. The bank is also announcing new programs to ensure liquidity for businesses and purchasing government debt.
Hydro One has temporarily suspended late-payment fees for all customers.
The federal Parliamentary Budget Officer has released an economic analysis of the fallout from COVID-19 and the substantial fall in oil prices. The information is not a formal forecast or prediction, but rather an outline to "help parliamentarians gauge potential economic and fiscal implications of the COVID-19 pandemic." The PBO lays out a scenario in which Canada's real GDP declines by 5 per cent through the coming fiscal year, making it the weakest year of economic growth since 1962.
The federal Conservative party has suspended its leadership race.
All Service Canada Centres have been closed to the public.
In a press release issued late Thursday night, OPSEU president Warren "Smokey" Thomas said that the LCBO will be installing plexiglass barriers at checkout counters. Thomas also said that the union has requested the elimination of cash transactions, the issuing of masks to employees, and further clarification on how Monday closures will impact staff.
A spokesperson for Jill Dunlop, the associate minister of children and women’s issues, said, "We have officially filed a regulation so that throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, no youth in care or former youth in care in Ontario will age out of the supports and services they are currently receiving.”
Greater Toronto Area
As of 1 p.m. today, there are 457 confirmed cases in Toronto, up 118 from yesterday. Twenty-nine people are in hospital, 15 in intensive care. Approximately 25 per cent of cases can be attributed to community spread. Eighteen people have recovered. As of noon today, there were four confirmed cases in the shelter system.
The City of Toronto says that it has opened 10 new sites for the homeless population, each of which is designed to promote proper physical distancing. Of the 10, two are isolation centres, and one of those has medical supports.
The Toronto Transit Commission is reporting that a third worker — a Wheel-Trans operator — has tested positive for COVID-19. The TTC reports that Toronto Public Health's judgment is that there is no risk of exposure to any Wheel-Trans passengers or other employees. The worker in question is recovering at home.
The City of Toronto is urging landlords and condo boards to adopt new sanitation measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Suggested measures for building operators include: placing bottles of sanitizer at all entrances and common areas, routinely cleaning high-traffic areas, and closing any non-essential facilities, such as playroom or gyms.
- As food banks close and patients are expected to isolate themselves at home, volunteer organizations are suggesting that questions about food insecurity be added to patient screening in hospitals. "There should be questions asked right then and there about how they are getting their food, are they OK for food or OK for emergency funds, because if you're sending them home in self isolation, how are they being supported?" said Suman Roy, a member of the board of directors for Food Share Toronto.
To help lengthen the time between trips, the Daily Bread Food Bank, in Toronto, is now preparing a week's worth of supplies.
Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald is urging First Nations to close their borders and introduce “shelter in place” orders to keep people at home.
Robin Buckland, chief nursing officer at Indigenous Services Canada, is sharing information about COVID-19 testing and care and what to do if you are in a First Nations community.
- Six Nations of the Grand River is looking for personal-support workers, nurses, respiratory therapists, paramedics, physicians, and cleaners.
The Matawa Board of Directors has extended the closure of its offices and education centre until April 17.
Temiskaming paramedics have put out a call for face masks, hand sanitizer, face shields, and surgical gowns.
Canada Post has suspended deliveries in North Bay until Monday after an employee tested presumptive positive.
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has reported its first local COVID-19 case, a man in his sixties who recently returned from Florida.
- The City of Greater Sudbury has closed landfills to the public until further notice and increased the residential garbage-bag limit to four bags.
Utilities Kingston is exempting residential water customers from its high-usage rate, which usually applies to water consumption of more than 25 cubic metres per month. If a resident uses more than that, they will pay a conservation rate. The public utility says it intends to keep the new rate in place until June 15.
- The Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Board of Health is calling on Ottawa to implement a guaranteed basic income.
Waterloo Region public health is reporting 69 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19; at least 11 people are in hospital.
London, in partnership with the local police service and regional health unit, has opened an email and telephone line for people to report people and businesses not following COVID-19 orders.
In Windsor, three more people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the local case count to nine, according to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
Three people — two men in their twenties and one woman in her thirties — are the latest to test positive for COVID-19 in the Middlesex-London region, bringing the total number of confirmed to 23, according to the local health unit.
One hundred staff members at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and 17 area physicians are now in self-isolation after having returned from trips outside of Canada. Lori Marshall, president and CEO of the hospital, tells Chatham Voice that the number represents a small proportion of the alliance's 1,400 staff and the municipality's 250 physicians.
The Region of Waterloo is developing free, round-the-clock emergency child care for COVID-19 front-line workers. The service will begin later next week.
- Guelph's mayor declared a state of emergency on Thursday after the region's chief medical officer of health declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at the city's hospital. The municipality has closed all public facilities and cancelled all meetings, including council, until April 30. At the hospital, four health-care workers have tested positive for the virus.
Western University announced yesterday plans to postpone spring convocation. Degrees will still be conferred.
Students in Fanshawe College's respiratory-therapy program are getting an early start in their careers. In a news release on Thursday, the college announced that students in the final year of the program will be allowed to work in the field immediately and will complete the final weeks of the course online.
The blood of COVID-19 patients at London Health Sciences Centre is being studied by researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University to better understand how our immune system responds to the virus.
Chatham-Kent is closing all playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, picnic areas, and outdoor exercise equipment.
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