This article was last updated on Friday at 3:52 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.
- Per today's government report, there are 1,250 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 306,007 since the pandemic began; 643 people are in hospital, 280 of them in intensive care, and 183 on ventilators. To date, 7,046 people have died.
- According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 86 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 60 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 154 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,748 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
As of March 5, in publicly funded schools in Ontario, there are 82 new school-related student cases (for a total of 6,539) 13 new school-related staff cases (for a total of 1,466), and one new case in an "individual not identified" (for a total of 1,138); 703 schools have a reported case, and 29 school are currently closed.
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Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, 820,714total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.
Health Canada has approved the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, reports CBC.
The Ontario government announced that it is investing over $12.8 million to immediately expand and enhance culturally appropriate mental health and addictions services for Indigenous peoples, families and communities across the province. According to a statement released by the government, the funding is part of the $176 million being invested in the government's mental health and addictions plan, Roadmap to Wellness.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says that with the approval of a new COVID-19 vaccine in Canada and new guidelines for administering second doses, Ontario is “recalibrating” its timeline for rolling out vaccines and may be able to get more people their first dose sooner than initially thought, reports CP24.
Ontario’s second phase of the vaccination plan will focus on immunizing older residents and those in areas that have been hardest-hit with outbreaks, following previously-published advice from the province’s Science Table. Read the full plan on TVO.org
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
- According to data as of March 4, there are 420 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 98,861 since the pandemic began; 274 of them are in hospital (12 new). In total, 2,677 people have died (nine new).
A Brampton pediatrician was issued three cautions by Ontario's regulatory college for doctors after her tweets about the COVID-19 pandemic were found "inappropriate," “irresponsible” and "unprofessional," reports CP24.
- The province's COVID-19 Science Table says vaccine lotteries like Hamilton is using for seniors are not the way to go. Currently, the 250 people who can get shots at the West 5th Campus of St. Joseph’s Healthcare are chosen randomly. The Hamilton Spectator reports that a briefing on vaccine rollouts warns lotteries don't really lead to random results, with wealthier people typically coming first. The Science Table says about 18 per cent more hospital admissions and 10 per cent more deaths can be prevented if neighbourhoods and age are factors in determining vaccine priority. Hamilton public health did not answer questions as to why it chose a lottery, despite this advice.
- Last Friday, there were 37 presumed cases of COVID-19 variants in Hamilton. As of Thursday this week, that number is at 81, the Spectator reports. Health leaders say it is important to monitor the spread of these more contagious strains.
- As CBC Hamilton reports, Ontario is giving $500 million to municipalities, with about $18 million going to Hamilton. That's welcome and will go to maintaining municipal services in the face of pandemic-related financial difficulty, Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger says. Niagara Region and its municipalities will share from a pot of about $16 million.
- Looking for a bike in Hamilton? Good luck. CHCH News reports that bicycles are again a hot commodity, with some stores reporting shortages before ice has even melted.
Niagara Region announced it has identified 11 sites for COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The St. Catharines Standard reports no start date for the clinics was announced, but that acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji has said he expects them to open the week of March 22.
- As of March 4, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1,300 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. They are also reporting 245 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 1,300 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.
- The Thunder Bay District Health Unit reported another death from COVID-19 yesterday, as well as a record high of 61 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 29 people in hospital with the virus, including 10 in the ICU.
- Public Health Sudbury and Districts reports 98 new cases, 14 resolved cases and two deaths from February 26 to March 4. There are 112 active cases, and eight active outbreaks. Of the new cases, 94 were in Greater Sudbury and four in the Sudbury District. "This has been a very alarming week as we’ve seen COVID-19 cases rapidly increase in our area," says medical officer of health Penny Sutcliffe. "It’s also very worrisome to see a number of cases that have screened positive or been confirmed for variants of concern. The public health measures we’ve been following are critical now."
- Vaccination clinics for the first dose of the Moderna vaccine in Temagami First Nation have concluded, according to the Timiskaming Health Unit. The total doses given to-date in Timiskaming district is 868.
- There are now seven cases in the James Bay region, according to the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority. Currently, there are five cases in Moosonee, down from six cases, and two cases in Moose Factory, down from three.
- There are now 44 cases of COVID-19 at the Severn Court Student Residence in Peterborough, reports CP24. Officials said that 30 that have screened positive for variants of concern, and that there are another 40 “high-risk contacts” living at the residence who have not yet tested positive and 60 in the wider community.
- Ottawa's medical offficer of health, Vera Etches, told CBC today that it seems the city's third wave is coming, and is asking people to maintain physical distancing to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases.
- Kingston will be among three areas that will be administering vaccines in pharmacies starting next week, reports the Kingston Whig Standard.
- Perth County council is eying co-opting a new Huron-Perth inter-community bus transit system to get people to COVID-19 vaccination clinics, the Stratford-Beacon Herald reports.
- Southwestern Public Health has confirmed its first case of a COVID-19 variant in the Oxford and Elgin region, the Woodstock Sentinel Review reports.
- Ninety-three cases have now been linked to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Ontario Police College outside of Aylmer, CBC London reports.
- An advocate for people who are homeless in London says the need to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to this population is urgent, CTV London reports.
- Officials with Windsor Regional Hospital tell CTV Windsor they're hopeful they'll get through a current plateau in the number of patients with COVID-19, but also say it becomes worrisome if the number of virus-linked admissions spike again.
- A pilot of distributing COVID-19 vaccinations via pharmacies will begin next week in the Windsor-Essex region, the Windsor Star reports. The region is one of three that will host the pilot.
- A Windsor judge has denied a man interim custody of his children in part because of concern that the man's anti-mask beliefs meant he won't take the appropriate precautions to keep them safe from COVID-19, CBC Windsor reports.