COVID-19: What you need to know for March 30

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Mar 30, 2020

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This article was last updated at 6:12 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

  • The government has released a summary of COVID-19 cases in Ontario from January 15, 2020 to March 29:  There are 1,706 cases; 431 have been resolved. At a press conference this afternoon, Barbara Yaffe, the associate chief medical officer of health, indicated that there have now been 33 deaths and that 100 patients are in intensive care, 61 of them on ventilators. The government also now states: "All persons over 70 years of age and individuals who are immunocompromised are advised to self-isolate for a period of 14 days."

  • The government of Ontario has issued a new directive for health and safety standards for nurses in provincial hospitals, in consultation with the Ontario Nurses' Association and the Ontario Hospital Association. The directive lists the measures that nurses and hospitals need to take in interactions with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 cases. Nurses and their organizations have criticized hospitals for limiting the use of some personal-protective equipment, and the new directive says, in part, that employers "will not unreasonably deny access to the appropriate PPE."

  • At a press conference this afternoon, Premier Doug Ford urged Ontarians to stay at home and make every effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, warning that, despite the government's efforts to procure new supplies for the health-care system, a surge of sick people could strain the province's hospitals. Ford called it "unacceptable" that he and other MPPs had seen so many people outside over the weekend. Ford said that the government would be extending the province's state of emergency (originally declared on March 17) for another two weeks, starting on April 1.

  • Ontario's chief medical officer of health, David Williams, released a statement today recommending that people stay home except when they need to access health services, buy groceries, and walk their pets. He also strongly recommended that people over 70 self-isolate. 

  • At a press conference this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the 75 per cent wage subsidy announced last week will now be available to any business whose revenues have been reduced by at least 30 per cent. Eligibility will not be determined by the number of employees or the size of the business. (Last week, the government had said that the subsidy would be directed primarily at small and medium-sized employers.)

  • The new federal domestic travel restrictions, announced last week, came into effect at noon.

  • According to CBC News, more than 430 Ontario patients in ICU beds have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are suspected of having it. This is a higher number than has been revealed publicly and would mean that one in every four ICU cases would be COVID-19 related.

  • Over the weekend, the Ontario Court of Justice imposed new rules on access to provincial courts, deferring non-urgent matters until after the state of emergency has been lifted and requiring that urgent cases be heard via teleconference or phone unless otherwise ordered by a judicial official. Any matters that need to be conducted in-person will be done with strictly enforced physical-distancing rules inside the province's courtrooms, according to an order issued by OCJ chief justice Lise Maisonneuve.

  • The province has ordered hospitals and other health-care providers, including long-term-care homes, to supply daily inventories of personal-protection equipment. "There is a critical need to optimize the availability of PPE to protect Ontario's front-line healthcare providers against exposure to COVID-19 and, to this end, to maintain a centralizedrepository of information respecting the availability of PPE supplies across the province," says the order, signed by Christine Elliott, the province's health minister, and dated Friday March 27.

Greater Toronto Area

  • At a press conference this afternoon, Toronto's medical officer of health, Eileen De Villa, said that, as of 1 p.m. there were 591 confirmed cases in Toronto, up 50 from yesterday; there are 67 cases in hospital, 30 in intensive care. Approximately 12 physicians, 13 nurses, and six other health-care staff have tested positive. To date, there have been six deaths. Eight Toronto Public Health staff have tested positive and are self-isolating.

  • Ontario Power Generation is donating 17,500 Tyvek suits to provincial hospitals. The Tyvek suits were originally procured by OPG, the provincial electricity-generating utility, for workers in its nuclear plants at Pickering and Darlington. The Ontario government has struggled to get Tyvek personal-protection equipment from its usual U.S. suppliers.

  • Toronto Fire Services has confirmed that six firefighters have tested positive.
  • There's more information about Toronto's plan to use unused hotels and residential buildings as a part of its homelessness strategy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Councilor Joe Cressy says that five hotels have been acquired and that five more are in the process of being acquired. Cressy went on to say that the city is set to acquire two vacant rental buildings and has identified 50 permanent-housing units.

Indigenous

  • Grassy Narrows First Nation chief Rudy Turtle says his community is running out of food.

  • Two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Six Nations of the Grand River (the first cases on the territory).

  • The Oneida Nation of the Thames is prohibiting public access. In a memo, the nation says access points will be temporarily blocked with four staffed locations to allow in-and-out traffic of residents, employees, emergency personnel, and deliveries. The nation has also introduced limited store hours and will permit only Oneida citizens and community residents to buy from them. 

  • All non-essential flights into Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug are shut down, with the exception of one airline, Wasaya Airlines. 

  • Marten Falls is locking down borders and restricting air travel in and out of the community. 

  • Jennifer Robson, an ssociate professor at Carleton University, has created a plain-language guide to getting government aid related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northern

  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts is reporting 10 cases; North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, six cases; Timiskaming Health Unit, one case; Algoma Public Health, four cases; Porcupine Health Unit, 10 cases. 
  • A Detour Lake Gold Mine worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Sudbury playgrounds and park amenities have been closed.

Eastern

Southwestern

  • The Huron Perth region now has nine cases, according to the local public-health unit. One is located in Hillside Manor, a long-term-care home in Sebringville. The health unit also today reported the area's first death, a man in his sixties.

  • Waterloo Region now has 103 positive and presumptive cases of COVID-19, of which 19 are hospitalized and 11 are resolved.

  • Several southwestern Ontario educational institutions have postponed convocation ceremonies, including Fanshawe College in London (announced today via news release), as well as Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, in Kitchener-Waterloo.

  • Two area businesses have stepped forward to provide a place to stay for front-line workers at Windsor Regional Hospital. The businesses, WFCU Credit Union and Farhi Business Corporation, have agreed to foot the bill for up to three months of accommodation at a local hotel for the workers, according to the CBC.

  • Sarnia-Lambton public health reported today that there are now 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region and that there have been four deaths. The health unit has confirmed that six of the cases and three of the deaths were at the same retirement facility, Landmark Village in Sarnia. “We’re doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of both our staff and our residents,” John Scotland, CEO of Steeves and Rozema, the facility's owner, told the Sarnia Observer today.

  • Nurses at a regional cancer clinic in London and at a local assessment centre have refused work. They say they haven't been given the right protective equipment to do their jobs, according to the CBC.

  • London is postponing spring recreation programs until further notice and has cancelled special events and bus trips for seniors' centres during the month of April and all facility rentals until May 3.

  • There are now 44 confirmed cases in Windsor and Essex County, according to the Windsor-Essex County public-health unit's Monday 9 a.m. update. The update says there are now 21 confirmed cases and two deaths in Sarnia-Lambton, six cases in Chatham-Kent, and 31 cases and one death in London-Middlesex.

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