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

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on May 19, 2020



This article was last updated at 3:37 p.m. 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 23,384 cases in Ontario, an increase of 427; 987
    people are in hospital, 167 of them in intensive care and 123 on ventilators. To date, 1,919 people have died. 
  • According to Public Health Ontario's daily epidemiologic summary, there are 220 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 4,235 confirmed cases in residents and 1,456 confirmed cases in staff. To date, there have been 1,115 confirmed resident deaths and three staff deaths. 
  • Minister of Health Christine Elliott's office says that today's release of public COVID-19 data shows an increase in LTC cases because the province has changed its definitions of who is counted, increasing the number of reported cases in long-term-care homes by about 1,000. This is solely a definition change and does not increase or decrease the overall reported state of the disease in Ontario.

  • Barbara Yaffe, the associate chief medical officer of health, said today that 4,043 health-care workers have tested positive to date. She also said that 64 retirement homes are in outbreak and that, in total, 181 residents have died. 
covid chart
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • At a press conference this afternoon, Premier Doug Ford said that "after careful consideration, after consulting with health experts, it is clear that we cannot open schools at this time. I'm just not going to risk it." At-home learning, though, will continue; students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will receive report cards. He also announced that overnight summer camps will remain closed. But, he said, as long as trends continue to improve, day camps will be able to open.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed today that Canada and the United States have agreed to extend by 30 days the measures currently in place along the border. He also announced that the government will be extending eligibility for the Canadian Emergency Business Account to sole-proprietor businesses and those that rely on independent contractors. Trudeau cited hair salons that rent chairs to stylists as an example of businesses that would now qualify under the program.

  • The Ontario government has renewed emergency orders, due to expire today, until May 29. The province has added one exemption from the rules limiting public gatherings to allow drive-in religious ceremonies.

  • The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation is looking at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting rural communities.

  • Minister of Long-Term Care Merilee Fullerton has announced that the provincial government will launch an independent commission into Ontario's long-term-care system in September.

Greater Toronto Area

  • According to today's report, there are 8,866 cases in Toronto, 416 of them in hospital and 90 in intensive care. To date, there have been 137 institutional outbreaks. In total, 690 people have died. 
  • Off-leash dog parks are now permitted to reopen in Toronto.
  • The City of Toronto announced today that it has reached an interim settlement on a motion for an injunction regarding its COVID-19 response for those experiencing homelessness. "The interim settlement confirms the City's commitment and on-going work since March to physical distancing in shelter and respite sites of at least two metres of lateral separation between beds or alternate sleeping arrangements, and no use of the upper bunks of bunk beds in any setting," a press release states. "The City is also ensuring that all alternative indoor space offered to anyone living outside meets physical distancing measures."
  • Vaughan's water-services team is undertaking water flushing in all business areas: "The initiative includes flushing in 22 blocks at more than 50 hydrants over the next week in anticipation of more businesses opening to the public." 
  • The City of Brampton reopened its outdoor tennis and pickleball courts today; the Peel Village Golf Course will reopen Friday.
  • Waste drop-off depots in Toronto are now partially reopening to the public.


  • Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation is buying whitefish and salmon from its fishermen and donating it to food banks, friendship centres, and other organizations within its area on the Bruce Peninsula, the Sun Times reports.

  • The Native Women's Association of Canada is offering a survey to help establish needed resources and supports. 
  • Carrie Bourassa, the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health and a member of a national immunity task force, says, "I would like to think that what these ... studies will do is change a lot of policies for Canadians and for Indigenous people. I hope that this will also raise the bar and help people to understand that equity has not been reached for Indigenous peoples in Canada."


  • Science North and Laurentian University have partnered to create a COVID-19 lecture series  featuring local researchers, who will answer questions from the public.
  • The Porcupine Health Unit has not reported a new case of COVID-19 since early last week.



  • Fanshawe College has announced that it has cancelled all in-class courses for its summer semester but is continuing classes online. In a news release, the college also announced plans to reopen its campus at the end of the summer and to introduce a blend of online and in-class programs for its fall semester. “Our commitment is to deliver classes in the safest learning environment possible,” said Peter Devlin, the college's president.

  • The University of Windsor has announced plans to conduct fall courses "primarily online."

  • The operator of the Ambassador Bridge that connects Windsor to Detroit has announced plans to waive tolls for essential workers beginning Thursday, Blackburn News reports.

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