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.
- Per today's government report, there are 958 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 303,763 since the pandemic began; 668 people are in hospital, 274 of them in intensive care, and 188 on ventilators. To date, 7,014 people have died.
- According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 98 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 65 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 163 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,745 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
- As of March 3, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 138 new school-related student cases (for a total of 6,379) 21 new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,438), and one new case in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,135); 672 schools have a reported case, and 24 school are currently closed.
Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 727,021 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.
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The Ontario government announced that it is supporting the arts sector with a one-time investment of $25 million to help artists and arts organizations survive the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a statement released by the government, $24 million will be provided to 140 art organizations and the additional $1 million will directly support artists and creators from across the province.
Ontario plans to follow federal recommendations to only administer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people under the age of 65, reports CP24. Under the current phase of the province’s vaccination program, only members of the general population who are over the age of 80 are being prioritized for a COVID-19 vaccine and the province says it will still have to figure out who to administer AstraZeneca shots to when the new shipments arrive.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
- According to data as of March 2, there are 290 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 98,192 since the pandemic began; 285 of them are in hospital (six new). In total, 2,665 people have died (five new).
- Two City employees working at Alexandra Park Early Learning & Child Care Centre (ELCCC) in Toronto have recently tested positive for COVID-19. A statement from the the City noted that due to operational factors, the City-operated child care centre will be temporarily closed while staff members self-isolate to monitor for symptoms and the children isolate at home and monitor for symptoms as a precaution
- Toronto will not begin a mass registration of its seniors for COVID-19 vaccination until March 15 because it is waiting for a centrally-run registration program set up by the province to come online, reports CP24.
- But some seniors aged 80 and up, as well as Indigenous adults, can preregister for vaccines in certain Toronto neighbourhoods, reports the Toronto Star. Online registration for seniors aged 80 up and Indigenous adults are available in East Toronto through East Toronto Health Partners. Similar registration is also available through North York General and North York Toronto Health Partners, and Sunnybook hospital through the North Toronto Ontario Health Team.
- Yesterday, seniors started lining up at a mass vaccination centre in Richmond Hill to receive their vaccines, reports CP24. According to the report, those seniors were allowed to start booking and receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in York and some other Ontario regions on Monday.
- A local infectious disease specialist tells CBC Hamilton it's more important to worry about COVID-19 hospitalizations than case counts. She says reporting on severe cases will become increasingly important as people get vaccinated.
- On the vaccination front, Hamilton public health is starting pop-up vaccination clinics in five locations today, CHCH News reports. People over 85 can book appointments.
- Two rescue zoos in Hamilton and Ottawa may have to close and relocate about 9,000 animals if pandemic restrictions continue past June. As CBC Hamilton reports, the owner of Little Ray's Nature Centres said he's borrowed about $1 million during the pandemic and cannot make ends meet much longer.
- The St. Catharines Standard reports that Niagara public health is finalizing leases to open about 10 vaccine clinics to issue doses to people aged 80 and older late this month.
- As of March 1, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1,425 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 230 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 1,007 COVID-19 cases.
- This week, the Ornge vaccination teams are in Neskantaga, Webequie, Slate Falls, Muskrat Dam, Fort Severn, Kashechewan, and Sandy Lake First Nations for second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The team will also be able to provide initial doses for those that have not yet been vaccinated.
- The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, in Ottawa, started their “Urban Indigenous COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic” for adults 55 and older on March 1. To book an appointment, contact them by phone; the clinic runs seven days a week.
- As of March 2 at 1:30pm, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 116 active cases of COVID-19 in the community.
- Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) reports a surge of cases after recording 85 new cases in the past week, in an addition to 12 new cases and a death on Tuesday. "We all need to heed the alarm that this news is sounding,” says Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of Health for PHSD. “With this surge in cases, our community is also experiencing outbreaks in schools and in settings where people are vulnerable." Sutcliffe notes that, while vaccinations are underway, "we are not out of the woods yet – we must act now to reverse this very troubling trend.”
- Two instances of the U.K. COVID variant were confirmed in the Parry Sound district, according to the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit (NBPSHU). "We now have confirmation of two different strains of COVID-19 Variants of Concern in our Health Unit district. This is very concerning as we are seeing community spread,” says Jim Chirico, medical officer of health with NBPSHU.
- An outbreak at the Pepco in Hearst has been confirmed by the Porcupine Health Unit after four employees tested positive so far. The Health Unit says the cases are related to one another and that close contacts have been reached. There are 13 active cases in the region.
- The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has issued a Class order under Section 22 of the provincial Health Protection and Promotion Act, allowing the health unit to enforce self-isolation requirements for individuals with a confirmed case of COVID-19, those with COVID-19 symptoms, or close contacts of people with COVID-19. Failure to comply may result in a fine of $880 to a maximum of $5,000.
- Marcus Powlowski, MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River, wants the province to allow medical officers of health to use Section 25 of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act to confine people who fail to self-isolate, CBC Thunder Bay reports.
- A group of small business owners who work in the personal care industry in Thunder Bay are protesting the new lockdown rules, which allow many non-essential businesses to continue operating at a 25 per cent capacity limit - but not personal care services. The group would like the province to either allow only essential businesses to operate, or to relax restrictions around personal care services and allow them to operate, TBNewswatch reports.
- Thunder Bay Transit drivers would like a mandatory mask requirement on city buses, reports TBNewswatch. Currently, there is only a recommendation from the local health unit to wear masks on city buses, with exemptions allowed for people with medical conditions.
- Starting Friday, anyone going out to eat a meal in Peterborough will be asked to sign an attestation that they have arrived only with members of their own household, the Peterborough Examiner reports.
- The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has detected a “significant increase” in cases, with 20 people testing positive in the last four days around Pakenham, Almonte, and Carleton Place, according to an alert on the health unit’s website. “The COVID-19 infections started with exposure to the COVID-19 virus in a social gathering. It has now spread into businesses, recreational sports teams, families and childcare – both within and outside of our region,” the release details. The release named the Thirsty Moose Pub and Eatery in Carleton Place as a site of exposure on February 21, 23, 25, and 26.
- Ottawa Public Health has released a list of the next neighborhoods in line to receive COVID-19 vaccinations for residents 80 years of age and above, CTV News reports. Vaccines will be issued at temporary, pop-up clinics, the city has said. Ottawa is also set to begin vaccinating people experiencing homelessness on Thursday, amid six ongoing outbreaks at Ottawa-area shelters, according to CTV News.
- Charges may be laid after a gathering at a privately-owned student residence has led to the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in the Peterborough area yet, the Peterborough Examiner reports. It led to 34 confirmed cases, as of Tuesday. Two hundred people living in the building are now in isolation, with local paramedics coming to conduct COVID-19 tests. The party involved students in the trades, as well as in the healthcare field, which the region’s medical officer of health called “very disappointing.”
- People who work in Michigan but are currently working from home on this side of the border because of the pandemic worry they might get hung with big-ticket income tax payments in Canada, too, the Windsor Star reports.
- A Windsor high school student's survey on the mental health of his peers during the pandemic ended up snagging 400 responses across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. Of those respondents, 93 per cent reported worsening mental health, CTV Windsor reports.
- COVID-19 testing will begin on Thursday at the Blue Water Bridge land border crossing in Sarnia, Blackburn News reports.
- A phone line set up to take bookings for COVID-19 vaccinations in London went live yesterday and, within the first few hours of operation received 200,000 calls, the London Free Press reports. Line operators made 5,000 appointments with people who fit the current targets for mass vaccination, primarily seniors over 80 years old.
- There has been another COVID-19 outbreak in a Western University student residence, CTV London reports.
- A miscommunication led to Kitchener 93-year-old senior missing her appointment to get her COVID-19 vaccination, the Waterloo Record reports. The communication had advised that the woman would have to climb several flights of stairs to access the clinic, which wasn't correct, a spokesperson with the region's vaccine distribution task force told the Record