COVID-19: What you need to know for May 21

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on May 21, 2020



This article was last updated at 4:19 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 24,187 cases in Ontario, an increase of 413; 984 people are in hospital, 155 of them in intensive care and 117 on ventilators. To date, 1,993 people have died. 
  • According to Public Health Ontario's daily epidemiologic summary, there are 216 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 4,656 confirmed cases in residents and 1,601 confirmed cases in staff. To date, there have been 1,242 confirmed resident deaths. 
  • Ontario's chief medical officer of health, David Williams, said today that 64 retirement homes are in outbreak and that 184 residents have died.
covid chart
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces is reporting that, as of May 20, 12 of its members working at long-term-care facilities in Ontario have tested positive.

  • Premier Doug Ford announced today that Ontario is funding 15 research proposals to try to develop a number of new ways to fight COVID-19, including through testing, therapy, and vaccinations.

  • Ottawa-based e-commerce firm Shopify has announced that it will be closing its offices until 2021. Employees have been working from home since March. “Office centricity is over,” company CEO Tobi Lütke said in a tweet.

  • The president of the Canadian Medical Association told the Senate on Wednesday that the country’s health-care system is “breaking down” amid PPE shortages and physician fatigue and is unprepared for the second wave of COVID-19 cases that many expect will come in the fall.

  • A survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has found that 26 per cent of Ontario businesses are now fully open.

  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation predicts that housing prices could fall as much as 18 per cent over the next 12 months. Bank economists who spoke to the Globe and Mail said that CMHC’s projection was a worst-case scenario and that their own analyses indicate a much smaller drop in prices.

  • The province is now urging people with mild or unusual symptoms of COVID-19 (such as pink eye or a loss of smell and taste) to go to assessment centres for testing. 

Greater Toronto Area

  • According to today's report, there are 9,357 cases in Toronto, 411 of them in hospital and 96 in intensive care. To date, there have been 137 institutional outbreaks. In total, 732 people have died. 
  • Toronto's Fiesta Farms grocery store will be closed until Saturday after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.


  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced $75 million in new funding for organizations that address the critical needs of the more than 1 million Indigenous people living in urban centres and off-reserve.

  • Moose Cree First Nation and Ontario Northland have extended the passenger-train suspension until further notice. 

  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation has posted a First Nations travel checklist; NAN has also posted information for those at Sioux Lookout Airport who are attempting to return to a northern community and "cannot board their flight because they failed the screening process defined by Transport Canada."


  • Yesterday, the Northwestern Health Unit reported a new COVID-19 case in Fort Frances — there are now a total of 4 active cases in NWHU catchment, including a woman in her fifties in Sioux Lookout, a person in the Dryden area, and a person in St. Catherines (who is assigned to NWHU because of an outdated address).

  • Meals on Wheels Sudbury is now offering grocery delivery to the elderly, disabled, and immunocompromised and anyone who cannot leave their home.

  • The Finlandia Association, which manages Thunder Bay’s 110-year-old Finnish Labour Temple and Hoito restaurant, is being liquidated after missing a loan payment to the Royal Bank of Canada. A release from the board states that the missed payment was due to COVID-19 economic conditions.


  • Queen's University's Faculty of Arts and Science has announced that "as we are committed to protecting the health of all members of our Faculty, and to providing equitable access to learning for all of our students, we have decided to deliver our undergraduate program remotely for the fall term."

  • The Town of Cobourg has resumed issuing marriage licences: they will be issued curbside, in accordance with physical-distancing guidelines.

  • A personal support worker at Ottawa's Peter D. Clark long-term-care home has died after contracting COVID-19.

  • Outdoor sports fields and courts, off-leash dog parks, and outdoor picnic sites are among the public facilities now open in Prince Edward County


  • London has announced that it is reopening outdoor recreational facilities, such as sports fields for non-team sports. Picnic tables, benches, and park shelters are now open for use, according to a city news release.

  • Chris Mackie, Middlesex-London's medical officer of health, has announced his approval for reopening plans for London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph's Health Care London, and the Middlesex Hospital Alliance.

  • Lambton Public Health has launched a telephone survey to gauge the impact of COVID-19 emergency measures on area residents. The survey asks about mental health, job loss, social isolation, and challenges in looking after loved ones. 

  • There are now 101 confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to workers at a greenhouse operation in Chatham-Kent, and the municipality's chief medical officer of health is calling on all levels of government to have a closer look at health standards governing congregate living. David Colby tells the Chatham Daily News that the bunkhouses where many of the offshore workers were staying and where the virus has spread are of good quality "but not designed to prevent a pandemic." He adds: " “I think that all kinds of aggregate housing, from university and college dormitories to migrant worker housing, is going to need a re-look with regard to standards."

  • Sarnia's per capita rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 (37.4 for every 100,000 people) is second only to Toronto's (38.2 per 100,000 people), the Sarnia Observer reports.

  • There are now 33 cases of COVID-19 and four deaths linked to the Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia, Lambton Public Health reports. It's the largest of three institutional outbreaks that have happened in the city, Mike Bradley, the city's mayor, tells CTV.

  • The Dresden Raceway will open in June 7 regardless of whether the province will allow fans of the track's harness racing events to watch from the stands, the Chatham Daily News reports.

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