COVID-19: What you need to know for May 12

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on May 12, 2021

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Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 2,320 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 499,412 since the pandemic began; 1,673 people are in hospital, 776 of them in intensive care, and 559 on ventilators. To date, 8,374 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 43 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 65 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 157 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,764 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 140,785 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 6,491,666 since December 2020. 5,687,150 people have received only one dose, and 402,258 people have received both doses.
JMM COVID Graph
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.
JMM COVID Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • Yesterday, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, David Williams, announced that the province would pause the rollout and administration of first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at this time. According to a statement released by the Province, the decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to an observed increase in the rare blood clotting condition, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. As of May 8, 651,012 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were administered with a rate of VITT of 0.9 per 100,000 doses administered.
  • The Toronto Star has released an explainer detailing what Ontarians who have taken the AstraZeneca vaccine should know since the province's decision to pause the rollout and administration of first doses.
  • The Ontario government announced that it has launched a new rapid testing portal to make it easier for all essential businesses to access free rapid testing to help keep employees and their families safe. According to a statement released by the province, businesses are encouraged to participate in the program by registering at ontario.ca/testingonsite. It provides free rapid antigen screening kits to help screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 that might otherwise be missed.
  • Ontario could safely reopen many outdoor recreational facilities even if it extends a stay-at-home order next week, the province's science advisers said Tuesday. Peter Juni, the scientific director of Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said outdoor activities like golf, tennis and beach volleyball are low-risk and with some additional instruction, the province could allow people to once again participate in the sports, reports CP24.

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  • The federal government says it has not received a formal request from Ontario to add further restrictions on international travellers, despite three letters sent by the Ford government in April calling for more measures at the border, reports CP24.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to data as of May 12, there are 814 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 158,702 since the pandemic began; 1,081 of them are in hospital (66 new). In total, 3,244 people have died (20 new).
  • Yesterday, the City of Toronto announced that 1,531,418 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Toronto. According to a news release, Toronto is the first local health region in Canada to reach this important milestone of administering more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine.
  • CP24 has rounded up a list of pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Toronto where eligible residents can receive vaccines today.
  • Peel Region's medical officer of health, Lawrence Loh, told CTV News Toronto that when the current COVID-19 vaccine roll out brings us to the point where life return to normal inside Canada, protecting progress may mean a much longer stay in a quarantine hotel. "The reality is that once we get community transmission under control, then you start to get concerns about the boarder introductions particularity of new variants in places that don't have this under control,” Loh said.
  • A recent poll of 2,600 registered practical nurses, 750 of whom were from Hamilton, found 52 per cent of respondents reported having poor mental health. As CBC Hamilton reports, one in three also said they had or might consider leaving their job. When asked if workload went up, 96 per cent of respondents said theirs had, and 88 per cent said so too did the potential for medical errors. Of those considering leaving nursing, 82 per cent said they would stay for more pay. Union leaders tell CBC many nurses might leave the field and that they want the right to bargain for wages, mental health support, self-isolation pay and full access to personal protective equipment.
  • Local hospitals tell the Hamilton Spectator they are not using pandemic-era powers to move patients into long-term care without their consent. Hamilton Health Sciences says even if hospitals reach a point that they have to use the power to free up hospital resources, its use would be sparing. Currently, homes in Hamilton do have space to take in long-term care patients from hospitals, but some patients waiting to transfer don't want to leave until they can get into the home of their choice.
  • Niagara Region is investing $585,000 to keep its emergency isolation shelter running until December 31, the St. Catharines Standard reports. That will ensure people without a home can isolate somewhere safe if they are exposed to COVID-19. The isolation facility opened in March 2020 and over $1.5 million will have been spent by year's end if it operates the whole time. The Region rents 65 rooms at a location it does not share. An approved $250,000 contingency fund will allow it to pay for more rooms if necessary as experts and advocates worry homelessness could increase because of the pandemic.
  • The Standard also reports thousands of residents of St. Catharines have applied for free beach parking passes, which will be needed to access beaches without paying $3/hour for parking to a maximum of three hours. People without passes like out-of-towners will have to pay that rate.

Indigenous

  • As of May 7, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 841 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 320 COVID-19 related deaths in total across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, First Nations communities in Ontario have had a total of 1,989 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of May 6, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 394,801 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, and Whitehorse.

Northern

  • The Porcupine Heath Unit has opened up vaccine eligibility for anyone 18 and older to book their first dose. Appointments can be booked online or by calling 1-800-461-1818.
  • Kirkland Lake OPP has charged 36 people for violating COVID gathering restrictions, according to the Timmins Daily Press. The biggest event was a 23-person party on Sunday, but have also charged eight people at an anti-lockdown protest on May 1.
  • There were six new cases in Public Health Sudbury and District's area yesterday, leading a total of 79 active cases in the region.
  • On Tuesday, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit reported zero new cases of COVID-19, for the first time since November 5, TBNewswatch reports. Today the health unit reported eight new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 31 active COVID-19 cases plus four people hospitalized with the virus, including one person in ICU.
  • Vaccination rates continue to drop in Thunder Bay - something Janet DeMille, the medical officer of health at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, was expecting as the province reroutes vaccines to provincial hotspots, TBNewswatch reports. The health unit administered 5,755 vaccines this week - down almost 1,500 from last week - for a total of 48.8 per cent of the eligible population that has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Cases are declining in the Northwestern Health Unit, which reported seven new COVID-19 cases, for a total of 53 active cases, with the majority of cases, 32, in the Sioux Lookout region.

Eastern

  • Following a resolution by the Cambridge city council, calling for Premier Doug Ford to take further action on paid sick days, Belleville council decided to add their endorsement, the Belleville Intelligencer reports. “In the United States, the introduction of a temporary paid sick leave was associated with an estimated 50 per cent reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases per state per day,” Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table wrote in late April.
  • On Tuesday, Ottawa Public Health reported the death of a woman in her 20s from COVID-19, who became the youngest city resident to die of the virus, CTV News reports. “We mourn all those who have died of COVID-19. Every death is [a] tragedy. This is a sad day and a reminder of the impacts on the family and friends of the people who have died during the pandemic,” the health unit said in a statement.
  • After hosting an illegal gathering of people who don’t agree with public health measures meant to contain the spread of COVID-19, a Kemptville restaurant is shutting down, CTV News reports. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario suspended the restaurant’s liquor license two days after the gathering, with plans to revoke it fully.
  • A representative of Hastings Prince Edward Public Health said on Tuesday that COVID-19 activity in the region remains relatively high, though there are some encouraging signs, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports. The representative said that if not for the provincial lockdown, the region would likely be at the orange level, but throughout April would have been in red. He stressed that with the highly-contagious variants, it’s difficult to predict what’s ahead.
  • In Peterborough, three of the people who died recently of COVID-19 had already received their first dose of the vaccine, Peterborough this Week reports. One victim had received the vaccine about four weeks ago and the other two about a week before. Peterborough’s Medical Officer of Health says it’s an indication that it takes time to build immunity after a first dose and also that people are not fully protected after one dose. “I do hope that people having one dose of the vaccine is not giving people a false sense of security so that they are letting their guard down too soon,” Rosana Salvaterra said.

Southwestern

  • Three Ontario churches that are protesting provincial pandemic laws that limit public gatherings will argue their case in court in September, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.
  • Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 in its Chatham campus, CTV Windsor reports.
  • Some London pharmacies are telling CTV London that their COVID-19 vaccine supply is drying up as vaccines are redirected to hotspots elsewhere in the province.
  • Home improvement companies say they have been booming during the pandemic, CTV London reports.
  • Waterloo Regional Council has affirmed that its face covering bylaw, which requires people to wear coverings on transit and in indoor public spaces, will remain in effect for as long as the Reopening Ontario Act requires people to wear masks, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.
  • Police in Leamington have laid charges against three people under the Reopening Ontario Act, CBC Windsor reports. The charges follow complaints of large gatherings over the weekend at different locations in the municipality.
  • Windsor Regional Hospital is asking Michigan for help in obtaining 75,000 COVID-19 vaccines, CBC Windsor reports.

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