COVID-19: What you need to know for May 23-24

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on May 23, 2020



This article was last updated at Sunday at 3:18 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 25,500 cases in Ontario, an increase of 460; 878 people are in hospital, 148 of them in intensive care and 104 on ventilators. To date, 2,073 people have died. 
  • According to Public Health Ontario's daily epidemiologic summary, there are 207 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 4,834 confirmed cases in residents and 1,668 confirmed cases in staff. To date, there have been 1,300 confirmed resident deaths.
covid chart
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • Premier Doug Ford urged Ontarians who have COVID-19 symptoms or have come into contact with someone who is or has been infected to report to an assessment centre and get tested for the virus. "You will not be turned away," Ford said at Queen’s Park on Sunday morning. "Let me reassure you: even if you or your family do not have symptoms, if you feel you need a test, you will be able to get a test." Ford also warned Ontarians not to become complacent and responded to photos of Trinity Bellwoods Park, in Toronto, from Saturday. "We just can’t have that right now," Ford said. "Because there is still a deadly virus among us. And if we allow it … it will spread like wildfire."

  • Although Ontario hospitals are allowed to perform elective surgeries again, many of them are unable to, because they are too full or don’t have sufficient PPE, CBC News reports.

  • The federal Liberal, Conservative, New Democratic, and Green parties have all applied for the federal wage subsidy to avoid laying off staff as their donations dry up during the pandemic.

  • More than 1,000 health-care researchers have written to the federal government asking for $28 million a month in funding, saying their work has been jeopardized as traditional fundraising efforts have been severely affected by COVID-19.

  • The head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association says Premier Doug Ford is wrong to say that any business can refuse to serve individuals not wearing face masks. Michael Bryant says the Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits retailers from discriminating against any customers.

Greater Toronto Area

  • According to today's report, there are 10,035 cases in Toronto, 377 of them in hospital and 93 in intensive care. To date, there have been 140 institutional outbreaks. In total, 759 people have died. 
  • The City of Toronto issued a press release yesterday regarding crowds in Trinity Bellwoods Park. "Images today of thousands of people gathered in Trinity Bellwoods Park were unacceptable. Gatherings like this, where people aren’t keeping their distance from others, run the risk of setting Toronto back significantly in its efforts to stop the transmission of COVID-19," it states. "Tomorrow morning, bylaw enforcement officers and police will have a visible presence in Trinity Bellwoods Park to ensure there are no repeats of the crowds witnessed today."
  • The City of Toronto is reporting that it received 167 complaints related to parks use and physical distancing on Friday. "Officers from the City’s coordinated COVID-19 Enforcement Team also observed crowding in many hot-spot parks, often encountering public intoxication and unruly behaviour," a press release states. "Off-leash dogs in non-designated areas also continue to be a problem in many parks. Additional officers have been deployed to problematic parks, including Trinity Bellwoods." 
  • Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti has announced that various outdoor spaces and amenities — such as outdoor tennis courts, sports fields, and off-leash dog parks — will reopen on May 28.

  • The Downsview Long-Term Care Home, in Toronto, is confirming that at least 52 of its residents have died of COVID-19.


  • Matawa First Nations is reporting that two positive cases in Matawa have been cleared and that there are currently no other positive cases.
  • Akwesasne Career & Employment Support Services is offering assistance to post-secondary students and graduates interested in applying for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit


  • Public Health Ontario's Thunder Bay lab was expected to begin processing tests from across the region by May 15. The agency now projects it will start doing so within two to three weeks.

  • Thunder Bay mayor Bill Mauro is proposing that the city adopt a grant program that would waive planning fees and support revitalization. Councill will debate the matter on Monday,


  • The City of Ottawa is reporting that a fourth resident of the Peter D. Clark long-term-care home has died; one staff membed has also died of COVID-19.

  • As of Friday, Ottawa's Gatineau Park became accessible for broader public use and most parking lots opened.

  • The Education Foundation of Ottawa will be delivering school supplies to 700 children learning at home.
  • The Kingston Buskers Rendezvous, originally scheduled for the second week of July, has been postponed until 2021.
  • Peterborough Public Health is reporting two new cases, bringing the total number of local cases to 79; to date, two people have died.


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