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

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on May 19, 2021

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Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 1,588 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 514,690 since the pandemic began; 1,401 people are in hospital, 735 of them in intensive care, and 539 on ventilators. To date, 8,525 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 35 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 44 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 99 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,766 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 145,461 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 7,431,638 since December 2020. 6,518,070 people have received only one dose, and 456,784 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.
  • The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, David Williams, has rescinded Directive #2, which halted non-emergency procedures in the province's hospitals last month due to the surging number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario's intensive care units. With the directive rescinded hospitals are allowed to resume "non-urgent" procedures but a statement from the office of health minister Christine Elliott cautioned that not all parts of the province will see a resumption of non-urgent care immediately. 

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  • The Ontario government announced that it will be expanding inspections of manufacturing and food processing workplaces, warehouses, and distribution centres. According to a statement released yesterday, approximately 100 provincial offences officers are expected to visit about 1,500 workplaces in Toronto, Hamilton and regions of Durham, Halton, Peel, and York between May 10 and May 28 to uphold the encouraging results previous inspections have delivered.
  • A new report from the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital found fatal opioid overdoses were up more than 75 per cent after COVID-19 hit in 2020, compared to the year before, reports CP24
  • CTV News reports that the Ontario government will scrap the colour-coded framework for COVID-19 restrictions that it introduced in the fall and replace it with a new reopening plan that Health Minister Christine Elliott says will be released “very soon.”
  • Despite Ontario expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all residents 18-plus, residents of several health units say availability in their regions has been so low they have resorted to booking appointments in other cities, reports the Toronto Star

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of May 18, there are 442 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 162,311 since the pandemic began; 1,038 of them are in hospital (31 new). In total, 3,276 people have died (five new). 
  • Yesterday, the City of Toronto announced that 120,000 new vaccination appointments have now opened at City-operated immunization clinics to help meet the needs of the increased number of people who are now eligible. Appointments can be booked by eligible residents through the dark blue “Book a Vaccine” button on toronto.ca/covid-19 or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900.
  • The Toronto Star reports that Toronto and York Region are continuing with hot-spot strategies of their own, even though both will receive a much lower supply in vaccines now that the provincial hot-spot program is over. However, public health experts said they fear that the end of the provincial strategy will mean the efforts from community, cultural and religious organizations along with the public health units may not be enough now that the 50 per cent vaccine allocation to hot spots is over. “Two weeks of an equity-based approach is not enough to account for an entire pandemic that has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods, because of the fact that we have structural inequities,” said Amit Arya, a GTA-based palliative care physician.
  • CBC News reports on the toll COVID-19 has taken on essential workers in Brampton. There have been more than 500 outbreaks of COVID-19 in workplaces in Peel since the pandemic began early last year, fuelling more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases in the region west of Toronto. 
  • Nearly 5,000 residents were vaccinated during Peel Region’s 32-hour “Doses After Dark” COVID-19 vaccine pop-up clinic this past weekend, and Lawrence Loh, the region’s top doctor, says more similar events could be coming to Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, reports the Brampton Guardian. “This is a pilot. We’re really just trying to test the demand for late-evening, early morning and overnight hours. We’re going to take the data from this evaluation to help plan our current and future (vaccine) offerings,” he said.

  • The Hamilton Spectator reports Hamilton is planning family COVID-19 vaccination clinics for June to get eligible students their first COVID-19 shots in June and second doses in August. Also, the local vaccine rollout is moving away from resource-intensive mobile clinics and toward pharmacies and primary care, in conjunction with mass vaccination clinics. Public health also says 10 vaccine ambassadors will work with vulnerable populations to help prioritize at-risk populations.
  • The paper also reports that while 60 per cent of eligible Ontarians have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, just 50 per cent of Hamiltonians have.
  • CHCH News reports residents of the Village Apartments in Hamilton (where a COVID-19 outbreak is underway) will have a dedicated hour to get vaccines at a mass vaccination clinic this evening.
  • Thousands of educators in Ontario responded to a CBC News questionnaire about schooling during the pandemic. As CBC Hamilton reports, 92 per cent of 684 local educators said they agreed this year's challenges will have psychological impacts on at least some students they work with. The president of the Canadian Educational Researchers' Association says there were already many depression and anxiety issues among students before the pandemic; now it's worse.
  • Based on the same survey, CBC Hamilton reports most educators support mandatory vaccines for school staff, although some union leaders and school board directors do not. About 66 per cent of 684 local educators polled said they supported mandatory staff vaccinations, with 83 per cent saying they worried about catching COVID-19 at work. The chair of Hamilton's public school board says he would support mandatory vaccinations if the province provided guidance for that, adding he hopes that does not become necessary, and that he hopes educators can be fully vaccinated by the end of August. Most area union leaders said they would be concerns about any policy that might deny people who couldn't get vaccinated their livelihood.
  • Hamilton farmers say the city's vaccine rollout is leaving them unsure how they can protect workers, the Spectator reports. The Hamilton-Wentworth Federation of Agriculture, representing 545 farm families, says it wants a plan including dedicated vaccine clinics for its workers and the food-processing sector.
  • A Niagara nurse in an intensive care unit tells the St. Catharines Standard it's been disturbing to see younger patients getting sick during this surge of COVID-19. She adds that she often has to turn away to hide her tears when facilitating video calls between patients about to go on ventilators, and their loved ones.
  • The Niagara-on-the-Lake Advance reports mobility data shows an increase of people from the GTA coming to Niagara-on-the-Lake in recent weeks. Last weekend, the number of vehicles coming into the town was 10, 751, up 24 per cent from the week prior. Data appears to show about 35 per cent of visitors last weekend were from the GTA.
  • West Lincoln Mayor David Bylsma, who has been charged for speaking at a protest against public health measures, suggested COVID-19 vaccines are unnecessary and said orange juice can play a role in preventing the virus, is facing criticism for asking a woman if her COVID-19 vaccine affected her menstruation. The St. Catharines Standard reports Bylsma sent her a private message to ask. She shared the exchange publicly and says it was inappropriate to ask such an intimate question in that way.

Indigenous

  • As of May 17, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 2,053 cases on First Nations reserves in Ontario.
  • As of May 14, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 690 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 429,506 doses have been administered.
  • 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 Malvern Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, in Scarborough, is offering a vaccination clinic for first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine on May 20. Must be First Nation, Inuit or Metis to attend and over 16 years of age.

Northern

  • A person at the Garderie Soleil child care centre in North Bay tested positive for COVID-19, according to the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. The preschool senior cohort has been dismissed by the health unit, and high-risk contacts have been notified and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. At this time, the Health Unit has not declared an outbreak.
  • Eight new COVID cases were reported in the Porcupine Health Unit yesterday: five cases in Timmins and three in the James and Hudson Bay region. There are 218 active cases in the health unit's area, including 187 in Timmins and nine in James and Hudson Bay.
  • Another person in the Thunder Bay region has died from COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of deaths in the region from the virus to 63. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit reported one new COVID-19 case on Wednesday, for a total of 24 active cases in the region.

  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit administered over 9,000 vaccines last week, TBNewswatch reports. At least 54 per cent of the eligible population in the Thunder Bay district has received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Eastern

  • Ontario opened its vaccine eligibility to all Ontarians above the age of 18 at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, but in Kingston, some weren’t able to book appointments, CTV News reports. One 34-year-old resident got into the booking system around 8:02 a.m. but found that all slots in Kingston and neighboring regions appeared booked up. Kieran Moore, the Kingston region’s medical officer of health, confirmed there is a supply issue in the region.
  • The federal government has confirmed that Canadian residents are allowed to go to the U.S. for a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid quarantine upon their return, CTV News reports. The exemption is meant to assist people within driving range of border states in getting the shot, but only if they drive immediately to get their shot and return back without any stops.
  • With summer-like weather arriving, Gerald Evans, infectious disease specialist at Queen's University and member of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, told CBC News that the province should allow the reopening of certain sports currently banned. “We don't see a downside to [outdoor activities] and we see what really amounts to an upside to helping people with their mental health,” he said.
  • The COVID-19 outbreak at the Belleville General Hospital’s ICU was declared over, as of Tuesday. It was limited to three cases. An outbreak on a different unit at the hospital, Quinte 5, however, has continued and totalled 28 cases as of Tuesday, the Belleville Intelligencer reports.

Southwestern

  • The London Chamber of Commerce is offering free COVID-19 test kits to small and medium-sized businesses, reports the London Free Press
  • Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health added ten new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, just one of them in Wellington County, reports Blackburn News.

  • The Church of God in Aylmer has been charged again, this time for a 400-person outdoor Sunday service held two days after a judge ordered the doors locked to prevent indoor gatherings in contravention of Ontario's pandemic law, reports CBC London


For more information:

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