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

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on May 21, 2021

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Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 1,890 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 518,980 since the pandemic began; 1,265 people are in hospital, 715 of them in intensive care, and 510 on ventilators. To date, 8,579 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 34 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 53 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 101 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,768 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 158,524 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 7,735,148 since December 2020. 6,743,634 people have received only one dose, and 495,757 people have received both doses.473,759 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.
  •  In an online news conference Friday morning, Ontario's chief medical officer David Williams confirmed that Ontario will begin administering second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people who received that vaccine as a first dose between March 10 and March 19, 2021. Williams told reporters that administering the doses on this interval is safe and will provide effective protection against COVID-19 while ensuring that the province's existing stockpile of vaccines is not wasted.

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  • Yesterday, the Ontario government announced a three-step plan to reopen the province and lift public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators. The government also announced that Ontario will allow more outdoor recreational amenities to reopen, with restrictions in place, effective May 22, 2021. Read more details about the reopening plan on TVO.org
  • Ontario's latest COVID-19 modelling indicates that reopening schools is associated with a 6 to 11 per cent increase in new cases, which the province’s science advisory table says "may be manageable." According to the presentation delivered Thursday at Queen’s Park by the University of Toronto’s Adalsteinn Brown, schools are the one indoor activity that the science table endorses — and it's warning people to continue to stick to outdoor activities with reasonable physical-distancing precautions. Read more about Ontario’s updated COVID-19 modelling TVO.org

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of May 20, there are 555 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 163,569  since the pandemic began; 998 of them are in hospital (29 new). In total, 3,297 people have died (12 new). 
  • Yesterday, the City of Toronto announced that the total appointments for its Long Weekend Dose Drive are now 73 per cent booked. And there are still more than 15,115 appointments are available. 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 city of Toronto says that more than 7,100 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to people experiencing homelessness, people who are precariously housed, as well as people working in the homelessness and housing sector through on-site clinics in the shelters or mobile clinics in the community.
  • The city of Toronto announced that beginning Saturday, outdoor recreational amenities will reopen with restrictions in place, such as the need to maintain physical distancing. These amenities include but are not limited to golf courses and driving ranges, soccer and other sports fields, tennis and basketball courts and skate parks. Golf courses will be open for use effective Saturday, May 22. Team sports cannot be played or practiced, and recreational classes are not permitted.
  • Hamilton's medical officer of health Elizabeth Richardson says people in the city are passing up on vaccine appointments when they're offered Moderna, opting instead for Pfizer-Biotech shots, CBC Hamilton reports. Both these vaccines use the same technology and are rated as safe and effective. She says people should take the first shot they can get. Zain Chagla, the co-medical director of infection control and an infectious diseases physician at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton say the difference between vaccines is the difference between Coke and Pepsi (that is: negligible).

  • Canada Post stopped regular delivery to Rebecca Towers, the site of Hamilton's biggest apartment building outbreak, on May 5, CBC Hamilton reports. They say residents were notified Tuesday that they could collect mail at a Canada Post depot for the time being. That means for 13 days, people in the building had no access to their mail and the cheques, documents and sometimes essential goods that come through Canada Post.

  • The St. Catharines Standard reports the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce had is preparing to distribute rapid-screening kits for small- and medium-sized businesses. The kits are free for businesses (the costs are covered by the provincial and federal government ), and the goal is to help quickly identify employees with COVID-19 to prevent spread. Mustafa Hirji, Niagara’s acting medical officer of health, notes that the test is not highly accurate and safety precautions must still be followed.

Indigenous

  • As of May 19, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 2,057 cases on First Nations reserves in Ontario.
  • As of May 18, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 452, 043 doses have been administered.
  • As of May 20, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 2 active cases in the community.

  • 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.

  • In preparation for Indigenous youth vaccinations, the Mindimooyenh vaccination clinic, in Thunder Bay, is taking registration for youth 12 years of age and older.

  • 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.

  • Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald says that First Nations in Canada are “getting close to 100% for first dose vaccinations” and that the weekly COVID-19 cases show “a steep decline.” Stating that cases are down 54% from last week.

Northern

  • Between May 13 and May 20, Public Health Sudbury and Districts reported 29 new cases, one death, and 64 resolved cases. As of May 20, there are 45 active cases in the region.
  • The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority reported 11 new cases in the James and Hudson Bay, for an active total of 28 cases. There are 25cases in Moosonee, two in Attawapiskat, and one in Kashechewan.
  • The Porcupine Health Unit is reporting 50 new cases in the area. There are 225 active cases in the area, of which 183 are in Timmins.
  • On Thursday, the owner of Sew Flippin’ Creations in Thunder Bay defied provincial stay-at-home orders and opened her store, TBNewswatch reports. The owner, who said she opened her business in protest because she wanted to raise a discussion, complied with an order from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit to close her store to in-person shopping.
  • The vaccine supply is expected to increase in Thunder Bay with additional pharmacies poised to receive shipments of Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks, says Janet DeMille, the medical officer of health at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, TBNewswatch reports.

  • As the strain on Manitoba’s ICU capacity continues, hospitals in northern Ontario could receive up to 20 patients from Manitoba TBNewswatch reports. Three patients have already been transferred to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and the hospital says two more patients could be coming within the next few days.

Eastern

  • Several business owners in Ottawa that are not scheduled to reopen until the third phase of the province’s reopening plan told CBC News that they are disappointed about the further delay, but not necessarily surprised. Indoor businesses like gyms and casinos are slated to reopen in stage three, which could be in August or later.
  • An ICU doctor in Ottawa spoke to CBC News about the reopening plan, which has zero references to students or schools. “To think that ... you might golf before you can get kids back at school, to me is troubling,” said  Kwadwo Kyeremanteng. “This is where I was extremely disappointed [in the plan].” Summer camps are set to open in stage two, the earliest date for which would be July. One summer camp director said the plan comes too late to save the summer season.
  • Ottawa researchers, from UOttawa and the CHEO Research Institute, have begun a study following the health outcomes of mothers and babies during the pandemic, comparing the health outcomes of those who received a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy and those who didn’t, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
  • Kingston’s mayor, Bryan Paterson, is asking the Ontario government to consider a regional reopening of schools as the province begins lifting lockdown measures, Global News reports. “With COVID cases declining and vaccination rates continuing to rise, I believe now is the right time for the province to look at reopening schools here in Kingston,” he said in a YouTube video.

Southwestern

  • A mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic will open May 28 and 29 in Dorchester to give shots to up to 400 people, reports the London Free Press
  • By the end of this week, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, David Colby hopes to have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine into 50 per cent of Chatham-Kent residents older than 16, reports Chatham Daily News


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