COVID-19: What you need to know for May 17

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on May 17, 2021




  • Per today's government report, there are 2,170 new cases in Ontario, for a total of  511,486 since the pandemic began; 1,320 people are in hospital, 779 of them in intensive care, and 536 on ventilators. To date, 8,489 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 34 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 47 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 110 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,765 confirmed resident deaths and 13 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 112,330 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 7,177,145 since December 2020. 6,311,625 people have received only one dose, and 432,760 people have received both doses.
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • The Ontario government announced today that it is extending booking eligibility at mass immunization clinics to individuals aged 18 and over. As of 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, individuals aged 18 and over in 2021 across Ontario will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, or directly through public health units that use their own booking system.
  • Over the weekend, the Ontario government announced that it will be donating 2,000 e700 transport ventilators to India, manufactured by O-Two Medical Technologies in Brampton, to help meet the country’s continued urgent medical needs. According to a statement, the ventilators will be distributed to various states across India based on the needs on the ground and in consultation with the Indian Red Cross and the Consul General of India to Toronto, Apoorva Srivastava.
  • You can now buy a rapid COVID-19 test at some Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Ontario, reports CP24. In a news release, Shoppers Drug Mart said that starting today, customers who are not exhibiting symptoms and who have not been in contact with someone that is COVID-19 positive can purchase a test for $40.

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Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of May 14, there are 835 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 160,146 since the pandemic began; 1,042 of them are in hospital (36 new). In total, 3,248 people have died (10 new).
  • A vaccination clinic in East York reached a milestone Sunday evening, administering more than 10,000 doses in less than 24 hours, reports CP24. The East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), who hosted the clinic at the Thorncliffe Park Community Hub at East York Town Centre, said the vaccine achievement is a Canadian first.

  • Police issued tickets for violations of the emergency stay-at-home order after as many as 25 people were found partying inside a restaurant in Toronto’s King West neighbourhood on Sunday evening, reports CP24.

  • After on-site testing Thursday, Hamilton public health reported more cases of COVID-19 in the outbreak at the Village Apartments, bringing the total to 65 cases, up from 34 cases the day before. The CEO of the company that manages the building said that represents nearly 30 per cent of the population there, CBC Hamilton reports. She continues to call for a vaccination clinic in the building, which public health says it won't do due to limited resources.

  • Three of Hamilton's current five worst COVID-19 outbreaks are in a postal code with the second-lowest rate of vaccination coverage, including the Rebecca Towers, Wellington Place and Village Apartments outbreaks, the Hamilton Spectator reports. All are in the L8R forward sortation area, where the vaccination rate is 26.9 per cent. Only the L8H postal code has a worse rate, at 24.6 per cent. The average vaccination rate in local FSAs was 33.8 per cent as of May 9.

  • A Brock University survey of 211 people who are Arab and/or racialized found respondents stress increased during the pandemic. About 81 per cent of people of colour who responded said they were more stressed, as did 77 per cent of Arabs, CBC Hamilton reports. Nearly 20 per cent of respondents were essential workers and one third worked outside the home, Brock president Gervan Fearon said.

  • Niagara residents are travelling more than they have been, despite the stay-at-home order, the St. Catharines Standard reports. Niagara's medical officer of health, Mustafa Hirji, says public health encourages people to limit contacts to reduce spread of COVID-19.

  • The Standard also reports Niagara pharmacies are now distributing Pfizer and Moderna vaccines after not distributing any jabs when AstraZeneca was paused.

  • CBC News conducted a survey of nearly 10,000 educators to get their thoughts on learning during the pandemic. In Hamilton, Halton, Niagara and Brantford, CBC Hamilton reports, some 70 per cent of staff said they don't think students will catch up academically. About 77 per cent said they weren't on track to finish teaching the curriculum, with 61 per cent saying fewer students were meeting learning needs in comparison to previous years.


  • As of May 13, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 2,036 cases on First Nations reserves in Ontario.
  • As of May 12, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 690 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 416,106 doses have been administered.
  • As of May 13, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is reporting 0 active cases of COVID. They have administered 2406 first doses of the COVID vaccine and 1808 members have had first and second doses completed.
  • All Indigenous adults age 16 and older, and members of their household, who live in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Hastings Prince Edward County or Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington County can now book their COVID-19 vaccine appointment through Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.
  • COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available for Indigenous adults 16 years of age or older, living in Thunder Bay, through the Mindimooyenh Vaccination Clinic.
  • Appointments are available for both first and second doses at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Six Nations of the Grand River. Call to book.
  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis community members who are age 16+, as well as their spouses and family household members, can book an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the St. Laurent Complex, in Ottawa.
  • Tungasuvvingat Inuit has put together a list of vaccination clinics happening for Inuit living in Ontario including ones in Ottawa, Kingston, Durham and Peel Regions.


  • The Porcupine Health Unit reported 33 new cases over the weekend for a total of 194 active cases in its area.
  • The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) is reporting an exposure risk at the Weeneebayko General Hospital in Moose Factory on May 12, 13 and 15. WAHA has contacted all those who are considered at risk for exposure, but anyone who visited the hospital is asked to self-monitor for symptoms.
  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit reported four cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, for a total of 32 active cases, including four people hospitalized with the virus and one person in ICU.
  • The Northwestern Health Unit reported three cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, for a total of 53 active cases, including three people in hospital with the virus. As cases in the district remain steady, on Friday, Kit Young Hoon, the health unit’s medical officer of health, said there is no evidence to suggest moving to a regional reopening in the area would be beneficial, TBNewswatch reports.
  • Passengers on five Thunder Bay flights arriving or departing on May 4 and 5 could have been exposed to COVID-19, TBNewswatch reports.
  • Business owners in Thunder Bay are frustrated that the province has extended the stay-at-home order for another two weeks. One business owner said they plan to reopen on May 20, the date that the stay-at-home order was originally scheduled to end, TBNewswatch reports.
  • Nurses across northern Ontario have been struggling during the pandemic. According to surveys conducted by two unions representing nursing staff in northern Ontario, 43 per cent of registered practical nurses have been infected with or exposed to COVID-19, and half of respondents said their morale is low, TBNewswatch reports.


  • As another business loss of the pandemic, laundromats around Ottawa are reporting a steep decline in revenue, CBC News reports, with some deciding to close up for good. “Small businesses are fighting for their survival. It's very hard,” one owner told the outlet. “But we're optimists. If we live through this pandemic, we will come back to normal. We can get through it.”
  • On Friday, Premier Doug Ford’s office confirmed that Ontario would not see a colour-coded reopening plan, the Brockville Recorder & Times reports. It isn’t good news for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, the publication notes, because with 26 active cases, the region would have been in the relatively open yellow category under the colour-coded framework.
  • On Sunday, the city of Ottawa announced that 50 per cent of residents 18 and older had received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which it called a “significant milestone,” according to CTV News. Nearby Gatineau is emerging from a 45-day lockdown, with some non-essential businesses allowed to reopen.
  • Some tourism operators in Kingston are eager to see revenue from the tourism industry return, Global News reports. Some operators are starting to ramp up, as they look toward the possible end of the current COVID-19 restrictions on June 2.


  • On Sunday, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported 47 COVID-19 new cases, reports Blackburn News. This marks a week straight of daily-digit case counts in the region, after multiple weeks of triple-digit increases.
  • The Windsor Essex County Health Unit has issued a possible COVID-19 exposure notice for Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens in Kingsville, reports Blackburn News. The health unit is asking anyone who went to the garden centre located on 1550 Road 3 East between May 11 and 12 to self-monitor symptoms for 14 days.

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