COVID-19: What you need to know for May 20

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on May 20, 2020

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This article was last updated at 3:47 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. 

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 23,774 cases in Ontario, an increase of 390; 991 people are in hospital, 160 of them in intensive care and 120 on ventilators. To date, 1,962 people have died. 
  • According to Public Health Ontario's daily epidemiologic summary, there are 219 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 4,518 confirmed cases in residents and 1,573 confirmed cases in staff. To date, there have been 1,224 confirmed resident deaths and four confirmed staff deaths. 
  • Barbara Yaffe, the associate chief medical officer of health, said today that 4,111 health-care workers have tested positive to date. She also reported that 65 retirement homes are in outbreak and that 181 residents have died.
covid chart
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • At a press conference today, Premier Doug Ford said that "if we see things going in the wrong direction, we will be fully prepared — we won't hesitate — to roll things back, if necessary. And I'm hopeful we won't go there. But we need to be ready for all possible scenarios." He also said that, per recommendations from the Ministry of Health, if people have to go out and are unable to maintain physical distancing, they should wear non-medical masks or face coverings. 

  • Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney said today that the government is recommending that anyone travelling on public transit — with the exception of children under two and those who have trouble breathing or would be unable to remove one without assistance — wear a face covering. She also said that health officials are recommending that all transit agencies put the following measures in place: admit fewer passengers, use physical markers between seats, ensure the availability alcohol-based hand sanitizer, implement engineering controls (such as plexiglass barriers), and enhance cleaning of high-touch areas. She noted that the government is working with the Ontario Public Transit Association and other stakeholders on a clear set of guidelines for transit agencies.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the government is creating the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program. This benefit will provide forgivable loans to landlords so that they can reduce by 75 per cent the rent for small-business tenants that have lost the majority of their revenue. The application portal will open on May 25. The federal government and the provinces and territories will cover 50 per cent of the rent; landlords will be asked to absorb 25 per cent, and tenants will be expected to cover the remainder. He also said that the government is working on a support for larger retailers.

  • The Ontario government has announced that it is working with Medical Innovation Xchange, an industry-led hub for med-tech start-ups, "to provide non-medical manufacturing companies free support as they retool to provide essential supplies and equipment to health care facilities during COVID-19."  

  • In an unprecedented joint letter, public-sector union CUPE and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario are urging immediate federal and provincial financial assistance for municipalities struggling to meet their costs during the pandemic. The letter also urges Ontario to consider longer-term reforms to municipal finance in Ontario.

  • The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show that the Consumer Price Index — the average cost of a basket of consumer goods — decreased 0.2 per cent year over year, the first year-over-year decline since September 2009.

  • Police officers have made nearly 2,200 home quarantine checks to make sure Canadians are self-isolating when they return from trips abroad, CBC News reports. That represents a small fraction of the more than 1 million travellers who have returned to the country since the start of the pandemic.

  • A new poll shows that most Canadians aren’t sure lifting restrictions provincewide is the best way to reopen the economy. The survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that only 35 per cent preferred easing restrictions across whole provinces, while 47 per cent thought such decisions should be applied on a region-by-region basis. Still, just over half of those polled said they trusted provincial governments to make the call on which businesses should reopen and when.

Greater Toronto Area

  • According to today's report, there are 9,129 cases in Toronto, 413 of them in hospital and 92 in intensive care. To date, there have been 137 institutional outbreaks. In total, 716 people have died. 
  • The City of Toronto has announced three major road closures for the coming weekend "to provide residents with more space to physically distance while outdoors and getting exercise, while helping stop the spread of COVID-19."
  • The City of Toronto will reopen 850 park amenities — including soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and basketball courts — this week. More than 600 tennis courts at 185 locations will begin to open this weekend. 

  • Lawrence Loh, Peel Region's medical officer of health, is voicing concerns about how the province’s reopening plans are affecting his community. "There is a pandemic picture in our community which we are starting to bring under control but also speaks to a continuing risk, and there is also a reopening picture as restrictions get loosened, and I am concerned that those two pictures are starting to look out of step for us in Brampton and here in Peel Region," he said during a briefing today at Brampton City Hall. "We have seen our new cases starting to plateau, but we have just not seen a decline in line with the province’s own framework for reopening at this point."
  • In a letter to Durham Regional Police, 41 families of residents at Orchard Villa long-term-care home in Pickering are asking for a criminal investigation into the facility. The home is the site of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country, with 70 deaths.

  • Hawthorne Place long-term-care home in North York is reporting that another resident has died,  bringing the death toll at the facility to 39.

  • Staff at a Hamilton retirement facility accidentally left a resident behind last Friday when the home was evacuated following a COVID-19 outbreak. The mistake at Rosslyn Retirement Residence was discovered onlyafter the man’s family repeatedly complained that he wasn’t at the hospital where other residents had been transferred. The man was found sleeping alone in his room on Saturday evening.

Indigenous

  • The Native Women's Association of Canada is offering toll-free support lines that provide support from Elders.

  • Today at 2 p.m., REDTalks Wisdom Keeper Series will feature Senator Murray Sinclair and author Lee Maracle discuss the pandemic from an Indigenous perspective.

  • The CBC interviews Kylie Bressette, 31, of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, and Stevie Jonathan, of Six Nations of the Grand River, about their experiences with COVID-19.

Northern

Eastern

  • Belleville's Canada Day festivities and the Waterfront Festival will both take place in July in revised formats, with changes that will aim to "capture the essence of each event."

  • Kingston public-health officials have confirmed the city's first new case in more than three weeks.

  • The City of Ottawa has opened outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields. Off-leash dog areas, benches, picnic areas, and shelters are also now open. "City crews will begin installing tennis nets and unlocking off-leash dog areas immediately," a press release states, "and the work will be completed over the next few weeks." 

Southwestern

  • The Windsor-Essex region has seen an increase in cases over the past few days. 

  • Cambridge has reopened some recreational amenities, including dog parks, picnic tables, and park benches.

  • An Oxford County survey of 543 businesses has found that less than 10 per cent have emerged unscathed from COVID-19 emergency measures and that nearly 30 per cent have temporarily closed. The survey also indicates that nearly 37 per cent of businesses are considering layoffs to mitigate the impact and that more than 20 per cent are considering a shutdown of operations. The survey (under item 10 in the linked Woodstock city-council agenda) took place between April 21 and May 5.

  • Stratford has opened tennis courts, off-leash dog park, sports fields, and municipal golf courses, but some recreational amenities, such as the Lions Pool and the artificial turf soccer field, remain closed.

  • While they can now open for curbside pickup and dropoff, many libraries in the Grey-Bruce region are staying shut until staff can be trained in safety procedures, tthe Owen Sound Sun Times reports.

  • Cambridge council has agreed to waive penalties and interest on property taxes and utility bills until the end of June, according to a news release.

  • As of today, Windsor has opened dog parks, some outdoor sports amenities, picnic sites, benches, and shelters in parks and recreational areas, according to a city news release.

  • If university courses go online for the fall or are a mixture of in-class and online, Western students are among a growing number of post-secondary students across the province who would like to see tuition fees dropped, the CBC reports.
  • As stores reopen and people begin to emerge from the COVID-19 emergency lockdown, London is looking at ways to create more room for social distancing in the city's downtown but has ruled out closing lanes, the London Free Press reports.

  • Windsor and Essex officials tell the Windsor Star that the federal decision to extend the shutdown of the Canadian-U.S. border until June 21 is "completely appropriate."

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