COVID-19: What you need to know for March 4

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Mar 04, 2021

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This article was last updated on Thursday at 3:45 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

  • Per today's government report, there are 994 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 304,757 since the pandemic began; 649 people are in hospital, 281 of them in intensive care, and 183 on ventilators. To date, 7,024 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 94 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 62 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.
JMM COVID Graph March 4
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM COVID Graph March 4
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • As of March 4, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 77 new school-related student cases (for a total of 6,455) 21 new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,456), and three new cases in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,138); 683 schools have a reported case, and 26 school are currently closed.

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  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 754,419 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

  • The Ontario government has announced that it is providing an additional $500 million to help the province's 444 municipalities address ongoing COVID-19 operating costs. According to a statement released by the government, the new financial relief will help ensure the delivery of critical services and keep capital projects on track.

  • CTV reports that Ontario wasted 1,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during its three-month long inoculation campaign. According to data provided by the Ministry of Health, approximately 1,100 of 871,800 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (0.1 per cent) and 400 of 220,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine (0.2 per cent) went to waste between December 14 and March 2, which means an average of 19 doses per day were wasted over the 78-day campaign.

  • The Ontario government and the Ontario Pharmacists Association have reached a deal that will allow the administration of vaccines in 4,600 pharmacy locations across the province, reports CP24.

  • Ontario will use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people between the ages of 60 and 64 and will rely on “different pathways” such as pharmacists and health care practitioners to deliver the doses before they expire in early April, reports CTV

  • The Toronto Star reports that in the worst-case scenario, Ontario could see as many as 5,000 cases per day by early April, mostly made up of new variants, according to modelling by Scarsin Corporation, a Markham based company specializing in disease forecasting.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of March 3, there are 329 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 98,497 since the pandemic began; 286 of them are in hospital (15 new). In total, 2,668 people have died (three new).
  • Yesterday, Toronto's medical officer of health, Elieen de Villa implemented Section 22 Class Order for workplaces as Ontario considers moving Toronto into the grey zone of the provincial colour-coded COVID-19 response framework, which would allow non-essential retail stores to reopen while keeping most other businesses closed, reports CP24. Peel’s medical officer of health Lawrence Loh confirmed that he would also be advocating for his region to be placed under the grey lockdown category in the province’s framework.
  • The Toronto Star reports that Canada Post failed to accurately report a massive COVID-19 outbreak at its Mississauga plant that saw more than 300 workers test positive for the virus.
  • Hamilton-area Conservative MP David Sweet is calling for all Ontario regions to move into the province's "green" stage of COVID-19 restrictions. This flies in the face of multiple sources of public health advice from around the province. As the Hamilton Spectator reports, Sweet joined independent MPP Roman Baber to advocate this, saying lockdowns don't work, and hurt people. Baber was expelled from the Progressive Conservative caucus for taking this position. Sweet travelled outside the country during the second surge of COVID-19, and announced he would not seek re-election when the travel was discovered.
  • Hamilton's 2021 operating budget was approved by Council's general issues committee yesterday, and is set to go to Council at large for ratification on March 31. The budget includes a 2.1 per cent tax hike for 2021, down from a projected 4 per cent-increase in December. The Spectator reports the city expects pandemic-related costs to be about $60 million in 2021. Last year, it cost the city about $93 million.
  • CBC Hamilton reports the city's medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, says public shaming makes fighting COVID-19 harder. Richardson says people afraid of judgement may not be fully candid with staff or withhold information.
  • Niagara Falls city council approved a temporary bylaw to allow restaurants and bards to open or expand outdoor patios and more safely accommodate patrons during the pandemic. As the Niagara Falls Review reports, the regulations will stay in place until the end of 2022.

Indigenous

  • As of March 2, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1,356 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 239 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 1,256 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of February 25, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 480 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 113,179 doses have been administered. In Ontario: almost 70 per cent of northern First Nations community members received a first dose.
  • This Friday, March 5, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation is hosting a COVID-19 vaccine Q+A for youth, who are encouraged to send questions in ahead of time. The Q+A will be held on Zoom from 5-6 p.m.
  • As of March 3 at 1:30p.m., Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 119 active cases of COVID-19 in the community.
  • A COVID-19 vaccination clinic has been set up on March 5 and 6 for the urban Indigenous population in Sudbury. Indigenous adults age 55+ can call to make an appointment.
  • The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, in Ottawa, is now accepting Indigenous adults 50 years and older for vaccinations at their “Urban Indigenous COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic” starting March 5. To book an appointment, contact them by phone; the clinic runs 7 days a week.
  • More than 170 Matawa First Nations members are expected to get their first COVID-19 vaccine doses in the coming days as the organization holds a vaccination clinic in Thunder Bay for vulnerable members, reports CBC. “The first clinic is running Wednesday and Thursday at the CLE's Heritage Building; a second clinic will also run over two days next week, said Frances Wesley, executive director of the Matawa Health Co-operative.”

Northern

  • A resident from the Thunder Bay region died from COVID-19 yesterday. A total of 31 people in the region have died from the virus since the pandemic began.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has declared an outbreak at Hogarth Riverview Manor after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, outbreaks at Musselwhite Mine, St. Joseph’s Care Group’s Bethammi Nursing Home, and Southbridge Pinewood long term care home have been resolved.
  • Researchers from the University of Windsor say there are “easily measurable” amounts of COVID-19 genetic material in Thunder Bay’s raw sewage, TBNewswatch reports. Last month, the city began taking sewage samples and sending them to Windsor for analysis, as part of a larger research project using sewage to monitor the spread of COVID-19.
  • Algoma Public Health is moving forward with its vaccination rollout by administering second vaccine doses to residents of long-term-care homes and First Nations' elder care lodges and providing first doses to long-term-care workers, caregivers, and high priority health care workers. In the coming weeks, the health unit says immunization will be offered to adults 80 years old and up and Indigenous adults on and off reserve.
  • An outbreak at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School in Sudbury has triggered a school-wide dismissal by Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD). The outbreak, which was declared on March 2, had initially caused the dismissal of specific classes, but PHSD says a widespread outbreak is possible after additional cases were reported this week.
  • An outbreak at Kirkland Gold was declared on March 2 after four cases were confirmed by the Timiskaming Health Unit.
  • The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority is reporting nine cases in its area. Currently, there are six cases in Moosonee and and three in Moose Factory.
  • Four schoolboards in the Sudbury area have begun scheduling COVID testing clinics for asymptomatic people, reports CBC Sudbury. Each school board has posted clinic schedules on their respective websites, of where and when testing is happening.

Eastern

  • The Kingston region will be one of three regions in Ontario to pilot a vaccination program delivered through pharmacies, CTV News reports.
  • The Kingston region’s medical officer of health is reminding residents to not call the health unit’s phone lines to ask about vaccination appointments, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports. A news release Wednesday said that as of March 15, appointments will be available to members of the public 80 years of age and older and Indigenous adults 55 and older.
  • Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, is again reminding that Ottawa is headed toward red zone status, with possible new restrictions on gatherings and businesses, CTV News reports.
  • The medical officer of health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Paul Roumeliotis, says that all residents of the region can expect their first dose of the vaccine within the next two to three months, CTV News reports.

Southwestern

  • An advocate for people living with disabilities wonder why this community is not being prioritized as COVID-19 vaccination programs roll out across the province, CBC Windsor reports.
  • The chief of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation is advising residents to take extra precautions after 20 cases of COVID-19 in the community were confirmed on Wednesday, CTV London reports.
  • A variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in one case in Lambton County, Blackburn News reports.
  • Huron Perth Public Health is gearing up to offer vaccination clinics to people 80 years old and older, Blackburn News reports.
  • There have been 11 outbreaks of COVID-19 at group homes in the London area, but none of them have been publicly reported, CBC London reports.
  • Thousands of masks donated to a resource centre in London are intended to help Londoners who are struggling to pay for them, CTV London reports.
  • The chair of the board of health for the Middlesex-London region defends a pay boost of $100,000 over 2020 to the region's medical officer of health to help cover the costs of 611 hours of overtime related to the pandemic, CTV London reports.
  • COVID-19 vaccination clinics in St. Thomas and Woodstock will open the week of March 15, Blackburn News reports.

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