COVID-19: What you need to know for March 31

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Mar 31, 2021

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This article was last updated on Wednesday at 3:28 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 2,333 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 349,903 since the pandemic began; 1,111 people are in hospital, 396 of them in intensive care, and 252 on ventilators. To date, 7,366 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 43 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 10 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 101 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,753 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
  • As of March 31, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 282 new school-related student cases (for a total of 9,749) 50 new staff cases (for a total of 2,147) and no new unspecified cases for a total of 1,164; 1,199 schools are reporting at least one case and 63 schools have been closed.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 89,873 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 2,192,253 since December 2020. 1,560,614 people have received only one dose, and 315,820 people have received both doses.

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JMM COVID Graph March 31
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM COVID Graph March 31
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM COVID Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • At a press conference in Toronto yesterday, Premier Doug Ford warned Ontarians, "Don’t make plans for Easter." CP24 reports that the Premier and his cabinet will soon discuss what new public health restrictions may need to be implemented to combat rising COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations.
  • CTV News has obtained a report noting the total number of people battling COVID-19 in Ontario intensive care units has reached a record-breaking high never seen before in the province. The latest Critical Care Services Ontario report, obtained by CTV News Toronto on Wednesday morning, shows there are currently 421 patients in intensive care units across the province with COVID-19.
  • On Tuesday, Ontario education minister, Stephen Lecce, said spring break for Ontario's schools will go ahead as planned next month, at least for now, reports CP24. Lecce said the government will let families know if recommendations from the province's top doctor necessitate a change to the break scheduled for the week of April 12.
  • CTV News reports that more than 225,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine expected to arrive in Ontario this week will be delayed until April. The province was supposed to receive 323,200 doses of the vaccine on the week of March 22. About 97,600 doses arrived and then a second shipment of 225,400 doses was expected on the week of March 29.
  • Residents of Ontario's long-term care homes begged on Tuesday to be allowed outside, saying anti-pandemic restrictions that have confined them indoors for more than a year make no sense given almost all have now been vaccinated, reports CP24. “We did nothing wrong; we're not guilty of any crime,” said one resident. “If vaccinations don't end the rules, if no one having COVID doesn't end the restrictions, then what does it take before this comes to an end?”

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of March 30, there are 883 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 112,862 since the pandemic began; 330 of them are in hospital (29 new). In total, 2,796 people have died (seven new).
  • Today, the City of Toronto announced that more than half a million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. To date, 512,484 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Toronto. The City is the first health region in the Province of Ontario to administer more than 500,000 doses.

  • The City of Toronto vaccine clinics will be open throughout the Easter weekend to continue to vaccinate all people age 70 and older against COVID-19. Five City-operated clinics for eligible residents are up and running, with a sixth City-operated clinic at The Hangar opening on Monday, April 5.

  • The Toronto Star reports that the vaccine rollout has expanded to refugee homes in the city, with mobile hospital teams operating several pop-up clinics in recent days.
  • Nathan Stall, a member of Ontario’s science advisory table tells the Toronto Star that the Toronto area is almost certainly heading back into a tight lockdown. “I’d be shocked if we were not in lockdown shortly before or after this weekend,” said Stall.
  • On Tuesday, Hamilton logged its largest single-day jump in cases since the start of the pandemic: 162. The previous record, 161, was set December 17, CBC Hamilton reports.
  • Zain Chagla, who is St. Joseph's Health Care Hamilton's co-medical director of infection control and an infectious diseases physician, said Tuesday he expects this to be the last major surge of COVID-19 cases. CBC Hamilton reports that using data from Israel, he told a staff town hall meeting that once 27 per cent of people there were vaccinated, case growth started to slow.
  • Hamilton's public school board says students should bring their belongings home from school in case the Ministry of Education orders a return to remote learning before the weekend, the Hamilton Spectator reports.
  • The St. Catharines Standard reports that mobility tracking data in Niagara shows residents and visitors are moving around as they were in the fall, when restrictions were looser. Acting medical officer of health Mustafa Hirji said it's likely greater restrictions are needed to reduce spread and allow time for vaccinations to occur.

Indigenous

  • As of March 29, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 931 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 280 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 1,612 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of March 25, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 610 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 235,175 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.
  • As of March 30, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting five active cases of COVID-19. Two cases have been identified with a Variant of Concern.

Northern

  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts reports one new death, bringing the total count to 20 since the pandemic started.
  • Starting today, vaccination clinics for Algoma Public Health will accept bookings for adults aged 70 and older. Bookings are also available to Indigenous adults 18 and older along with their household members, healthcare workers and essential caregivers in longterm care and retirement. homes. Appointments can be scheduled online or by calling 705-541-2332.
  • The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has issued COVID-realted orders to Vale after it received complaints from workers at the Coleman mine in Sudbury, according to the Sudbury Star. According to the Star, 16 workers have tested positive in the outbreak.
  • Five more people have died of COVID-19 in the Thunder Bay region. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit announced four deaths yesterday, and another one today, for a total of 52 deaths since the pandemic began.
  • One outbreak at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has resolved, but a new one has emerged. An outbreak in the hospital’s 1A Medicine Unit that began on March 12 was declared resolved yesterday, TBNewswatch reports, but the hospital has reported another outbreak in it’s 2B Medical Unit. It’s unclear how many people have caught the virus as a result of that outbreak or whether they’re patients or staff members. The hospital says no patients will be admitted to 2B until further notice.
  • Three Thunder Bay pharmacies will be included in the province’s expansion of its vaccine pilot program, Justin Bates, chief executive officer of Ontario Pharmacists Association told TBNewswatch. The program is open to residents between 60 and 64, who will receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Bates didn’t say what pharmacies will be participating, and while the pharmacies are expected to be added to the program later this week, it’s unclear when the program will be up and running.

Eastern

  • The Ottawa Citizen reports that cases of COVID-19 in Ontario schools are at the highest levels since last fall, according to provincial data. The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board reported 99 active cases on Tuesday, with 186 active cases across all four Ottawa-based school boards.
  • On Monday, vaccination appointments in Ottawa opened up to those aged 70 years and older, but the move prompted frustration when all slots were booked within a matter of hours, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
  • Ottawa-area restaurants tell the Ottawa Citizen that it is difficult, if not impossible, to enforce the red-zone restriction of ensuring that only those who live in the same household eat at the same table, with restaurant owners expressing that patrons may simply lie to sit together.
  • Mounting pressure on ICUs in the Toronto-area is prompting some patients to be sent to other regions, with Scarborough Health Network arranging transfer of 10 ICU patients to Peterborough and Kingston hospitals, the Toronto Star reports.

Southwestern

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada has announced it will give $17.8 million to keep a Windsor-based COVID-19 isolation and recovery centre that serves migrant farm workers in the Windsor-Essex open for the next 12 months. "The City of Windsor identified a need for a voluntary isolation site for agri-workers under the Safe Voluntary Isolation Site Program based on the epidemiology trends of COVID-19 community transmission in the region," a Health Canada spokesperson tells TVO by email. "These workers tend to live in close accommodations and work in congregate settings, which makes it difficult to self-isolate if required. The City of Windsor site, with the assistance of the Canadian Red Cross, supports agri-workers who have been identified as needing to self-isolate."
  • Moving into the second summer of the pandemic, advocates say more is needed to keep migrant workers safe during COVID-19, TVO reports.
  • Gatherings related to three funerals are behind 30 new cases of COVID-19 in Windsor, CTV Windsor reports.
  • In five days there have been four outbreaks of COVID-19 among Western University students, the London Free Press reports. According to CBC London, the cases account for 20 per cent of the region's current case load.
  • A Woodstock public school has become the third school to close in the city this month because of COVID-19, CBC London reports.
  • Waterloo Region Public Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak in all University of Waterloo residences after 21 cases of the virus are confirmed, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.


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