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

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on May 20, 2021




  • Per today's government report, there are 2,400 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 517,090 since the pandemic began; 1,320 people are in hospital, 721 of them in intensive care, and 493 on ventilators. To date, 8,552 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 37 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 52 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 101 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,767 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 144,986 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 7,576,624 since December 2020. 6,629,106 people have received only one dose, and 473,759 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.
  • Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday that the province will allow numerous outdoor amenities to reopen this weekend and laid out the current plan for reopening the rest of Ontario. It will occur in increments as vaccinations increase daily and the number of new COVID-19 cases declines. However, the government did not announce when Ontario public-school students may return to in-class instruction. Read more about Ontario's reopening plan on 

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    CP24 reports that by the end of the day nearly 49 per cent of all Canadians should have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, pushing slightly ahead of th.e U.S. at just over 48 per cent.  Almost 18 million Canadians have received at least one dose, with an average of about 330,000 new people joining the vaccinated group daily over the last week. Still, fewer than four per cent of Canadians are fully immunized.
  • The Toronto Star reports that as of last week, there were between 250,000 and 270,000 doses of AstraZeneca in Canada, according to then-head of the vaccine rollout, Major-General Dany Fortin. Those doses have a range of expiry dates, up to the end of next month, according to an email from Health Canada. The Star reports that some are pushing for people to be allowed to ask for AstraZeneca for a second shot or even for the doses to be sent overseas before they become unusable. “I do worry that we may get into a situation where we waste doses,” says  Tara Kiran, a family doctor at St. Michael’s Hospital and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of May 19, there are 751 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 163,041 since the pandemic began; 1,018 of them are in hospital (59 new). In total, 3,285 people have died (nine new). 
  • The city of Toronto announced that it has added seven new postal code areas for Sprint Strategy mobile and pop-up clinics. The postal codes are M1H, M3A, M5T, M6A, M6E, M6N, and M9R. According to a news release, vaccination coverage in Sprint has now surpassed vaccination coverage in other areas of Toronto. In the M3J postal code – which includes York University Heights and parts of Jane and Finch – more than 88 per cent of those age 18 to 24 have initiated vaccination, higher than any other age group in this area and the highest for this age group across all Team Toronto priority hot spots.
  • The city of Toronto announced that it will be hosting a Long Weekend Dose Drive this weekend to encourage thousands of residents to get vaccinated. According to a news release, the city is opening more than 19,000 new vaccination appointments over the Victoria Day long weekend at city-operated immunization clinics. More than 4,750 additional appointments are being added each day this coming Victoria Day Weekend, including Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The new appointments are spread across six of the city’s clinics, in addition to already scheduled appointments. The new appointments will be added to the provincial vaccine booking system at 4 p.m. today.
  • Mayors in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton area are calling for the province to reopen the region with a uniform set of restrictions, reports the Toronto Star. “To me, whatever the rules are, they should be applicable to the entire region,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said Wednesday. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said: “You can’t split up the GTA. We are too interconnected.”
  • Hamilton public health added 21,000 vaccine appointments Wednesday and announced a pop-up clinic this weekend, the Hamilton Spectator reports. Residents can book through the provincial system, which was out of Hamilton bookings very quickly, if not almost immediately after it opened to people 18 and up on Tuesday.

  • CBC Hamilton reports the city is soon to open submissions for a virtual memorial wall, which will exist on its website and pay tribute to people COVID-19 killed. The goal is to better help people who have been isolated or separated from their loved ones grieve.

  • The executive director of Hamilton charity the Empowerment Squad tells CBC Hamilton misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines is spreading in some racialized and newcomer communities faster than factual information. He says access to technology is one thing undermining vaccine confidence since it makes it harder for people to access reliable sources.

  • Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati tells the St. Catharines Standard he's reached out to mayors in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, N.Y., to see if it's possible for them to share extra vaccines with their Canadian border city counterparts. He says that could mean the United States sending vaccines to Canada, or allowing Canadians to get shots over the border. The mayor of Niagara Falls, N.Y., says he's open to the idea but the federal government will make the decision.

  • The Standard reports that since the pandemic began, 845 patients have been admitted to Niagara hospitals and 198 have died. The article takes readers inside an ICU and explains how people with COVID-19 are cared for.



  • Three COVID-19 patients from Manitoba have been transferred to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, as a spike in hospital admissions has put Manitoba’s ICU capacity at “significant risk,” CBC reports.
  • Researchers at Lakehead University’s School of Kinesiology in Thunder Bay will study how COVID-19 has impacted physical and mental health among post-secondary students, TBNewswatch reports.
  • Algoma Public Health is reporting four new COVID cases, all in the Sault Ste. Marie area. There are 31 cases in the health unit's area.

  • There are six new cases in Public Health Sudbury and Districts' area for a total of 48 active cases in the region, according to

  • The Porcupine Health Unit is reporting 20 new cases and 47 resolved cases for a total of 197 active cases within the health unit. Of those active cases, 166 are in Timmins.


  • Ottawa hospitals have received the go-ahead to begin gradually ramping up non-urgent surgeries and procedures as they work to clear a backlog of around 19,000 patients, CTV News reports.
  • Canadians looking to drive across the border for the sole purpose of getting a vaccine will not be exempt from the mandatory quarantine upon their arrival home, CBC News reports, citing a statement late Wednesday from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • Opioid-related deaths in Ottawa have doubled from 2019 to 2020 – a spike that harm-reduction workers in the city attribute to a toxic drug supply that has worsened because of the pandemic, CBC News reports.
  • In Peterborough, the number of new cases in the region is on the rise, Kawartha Now reports. The region’s medical officer of health, Rosana Salvaterra, pointed out that since April 1, the majority of new cases are “among 20 to 29-year-olds with indoor social gatherings and household spread playing a significant role in increasing the number of cases.”


  • The London area reported 62 new COVID-19 cases and one new death Wednesday, a woman in her 40s, reports the London Free Press. Nearly 40 of the new cases reported Wednesday are people younger than 40, and the 30-to-39 age group accounts for 15 of the cases, the most of any age group.
  • During an annual address to the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce, Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff said the number of people experiencing homelessness in Chatham-Kent has grown from about 100 to about 300 since the pandemic began, reports the Chatham Daily News.
  • Options for overnight summer camps in Southwestern Ontario are dwindling as organizations pull the plug for 2021 in light of the uncertainty cast by COVID-19, reports the London Free Press. 

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