COVID-19: What you need to know for May 4

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on May 04, 2021

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This article was last updated on Tuesday at 5:15 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 2,791 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 476,692 since the pandemic began; 2,167 people are in hospital, 886 of them in intensive care, and 609 on ventilators. To date, 8,143 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 50 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 60 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 175 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,760 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 88,871 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 5,467,120 since December 2020. 4,710,950 people have received only one dose, and 378,085 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.
  • Ontario might shorten the length of time between COVID-19 vaccine doses and is looking into mixing and matching doses as it prepares to receive increased shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, reports CP24. The province expects to receive weekly shipments of more than 785,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech in May, and more than 938,000 doses per week next month.
  • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has updated its recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines. On Monday, NACI said that  Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are “preferred” and that Canadians should weigh the risks of waiting for one of them before deciding whether to take a more immediate shot of either of the other two approved for use in Canada, reports CP24.
  • CTV News reports that Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, is set to announce an $80 million fund for school boards to hire up to 1,000 additional mental health workers for the next two years.
  • CP24 reports that more than 130,000 appointments were booked by early afternoon after the province expanded eligibility to include anyone 18 or older in 114 designated areas Monday morning, the government said.

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Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of May 4, there are 1,051 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 152,215 since the pandemic began; 1,170 of them are in hospital (65 new). In total, 3,130 people have died (15 new).
  • The City of Toronto announced that its Sprint Strategy, which targets 13 postal code areas, has tripled the number of per-week doses available to the prioritized communities. Over the course of the week, vaccine coverage of adults age 18 and older in the 13 areas moved from approximately 12 per cent to more than 35 per cent. In the M1G and M1J postal codes, coverage moved from approximately 14 per cent to almost 45 per cent for those age 18 and older, surpassing the city-wide 36 per cent coverage for people age 18 and older during this time.This week, 96,000 doses of vaccine have been allocated to the Sprint Strategy.

  • On Friday, The City of Toronto announced that it is partnering with FCJ Refugee Centre and Access Alliance to help people without an Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card get the COVID-19 vaccine in Toronto. The Province of Ontario has clearly stated that if you do not have an Ontario health card at all, you are still eligible for the vaccine.

  • Toronto police laid more than 220 charges over the weekend under the province’s emergency orders, reports CP24.

  • Zain Manji and Ashish Yelekar built a text-messaging service that sends a list of your three closest vaccination sites directly to your phone, reports the Toronto Star. Those interested in using the service text 1-833-356-1683 with their postal code. Users then receive a nearly instantaneous response with the three closest vaccination sites, their phone numbers and addresses.

  • On Monday, Hamilton's COVID-19 hotline overloaded as many people in locally-identified hot spots called to book vaccinations for the first time. As CBC Hamilton reports, the hotline automatically hung up on callers. The director of Hamilton's emergency operations centre told reporters Monday that public health units were never set up to handle call centre volumes. People in the city's two provincially-identified hot spots can use Ontario's booking system.

  • CBC Hamilton also reports that as of today, workplaces with two or more COVID-19 cases in two weeks will need to contact Hamilton public health under an order of the Health Promotion and Protection Act. They will have to call again if they reach five or more infections. Public health will be able to close some workplaces for at least 10 business days.

  • In Niagara, more than three thousand migrant and local farm workers have received a COVID-19 vaccination. CBC Hamilton reports over 3,000 shots were administered the weekend of April 23 and 24 alone. About 20,000 temporary foreign workers are employed annually on Ontario farms. Last year, more than 1,780 tested positive for COVID-19 and three died from the coronavirus. In Haldimand-Norfolk, about 1,300 doses have been administered to migrant farm workers.

  • Port Colborne is limiting access to Cedar Bay Beach to locals, the Port Colborne Leader reports. This comes as multiple Niagara municipalities limited beach use this and last year, following busy summers in which many tourists drove to beaches, driving complaints about crowding, litter, and public urination.

Indigenous

  • As of April 30, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 684 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 317 COVID-19 related deaths in total across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, First Nations communities in Ontario have had a total of 1,900 COVID-19 cases.
  • As of April 30, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 661 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 369,497 doses have been administered. ISC reminds the urban Indigenous population that First Nations living off-reserve, Inuit, and Métis are or will receive COVID-19 vaccination through their provincial or territorial health services. ISC is aware of vaccinations already taking place in several urban centres, including Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Whitehorse.
  • 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.
  • Six Nation Health Services is offering one-hour webinars with vaccine educators so that community members can get their vaccine-related questions answered. Webinars are taking place today at 3 p.m. and tomorrow at 6 p.m.
  • COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available for Indigenous adults 16 years of age or older, living in Thunder Bay, through the Mindimooyenh Vaccination Clinic.
  • 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.
  • Today at 3 p.m. EST the First Nations Health Manager’s Association will be hosting a webinar on system anti-Indigenous racism in health care during COVID-19.
  • Six Nations of the Grand River is creating a vaccine appointment list for members that want to receive their vaccine but are physically unable to attend the vaccination clinic dates. Any community member who is bed-ridden and cannot come to the vaccine clinic are eligible to receive in-home vaccinations. Call to have your name added to the list.
  • Six Nations of the Grand River mourns the loss of the eleventh community member to COVID-19. Six Nations is currently in Alert Level Black, the highest of the pandemic response framework due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 variants of concern in surrounding areas and within the community, everyone is being urged to stay home.

Northern

  • The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority is reporting one case in Moose Factory. So far it is the only case in the region.
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts says people aged 50 and older are now eligible to book their vaccine appointments over the phone. To book an appointment, call 705-674-2299 or 1-844-782-2273. On Thursday online bookings for people 50 years old and up will be available through the province's booking system.
  • The vaccination rate in the Thunder Bay District dropped 14.6 per cent over the week before. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit administered 7,179 vaccines last week - 1,200 fewer than the week before, TBNewswatch reports. So far, nearly 62,000, or 45.1 per cent of eligible people have received their first dose.
  • Last week, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences centre received two patient transfers from Southern Ontario, and says they are prepared to potentially receive more, TBNewswatch reports. The hospital has boosted its Intensive Care Unit capacity, as requested by the province, and is currently operating at 76 per cent capacity overall.

Eastern

  • As of Monday, Ottawa residents 18 and older in Ontario's designated hot spots can book vaccination appointments, CBC News reports. There are 114 postal codes across the province in which adults are eligible to book. According to the full list, the postal codes in Ottawa are: K1T, K1V, and K2V. (There are no hot spots in Kingston or elsewhere in eastern Ontario).
  • Roxanne McDonald-Brown, the owner of a spa in Peterborough, spoke to the Peterborough Examiner about her experience applying for a small COVID-19 business grant – and being denied. While she was later able to submit a successful application, with the help of her local MPP, she questions whether ineffective communication and a cumbersome application process is holding back other small businesses. “It’s a full-time job trying to find what you qualify for and going through the process,” she explains.
  • Gordon Boyd, a physician with the Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s Intensive Care Unit, spoke to the Kingston Whig-Standard about his research on the after-effects of COVID-19: “People talk about this long-COVID syndrome and it’s actually great that COVID is starting to shine a light on the post-ICU syndrome, which is something we’ve known about for 25 years.”
  • In Hastings-Prince Edward, the number of active COVID-19 cases has dropped below 70 for the first time since March, hitting 68 on Monday, the Belleville Intelligencer reports. Active cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit also made a turn for the better on Monday, dropping by 47 to 221. “Our numbers are going in the right direction,” said the region’s medical officer of health, Paul Roumeliotis, to the Belleville Intelligencer. “When you look at the rolling average, the trend is in the right direction.” Similarly, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark hit a two-month low, recording 59 active cases as of Monday, according to the Recorder & Times.

Southwestern

  • COVID-19 vaccine shipments from Michigan will mean faster access for Windsor and area residents, the CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital tells the Windsor Star.
  • Windsor police are investigating complaints of a large number of people gathering for a service at a local church on Sunday, CTV Windsor reports.
  • As of Thursday, residents 18 years and over living in Windsor area hotspots will be able to book vaccination appointments at area mass vaccination sites, CTV Windsor reports.
  • Nineteen active and retired police officers from different police services across the province have launched a legal challenge against provincial and federal governments and others claiming that enforcing pandemic shutdown orders contradicts their oaths as police officers, CBC London reports.
  • Southwestern Public Health has lowered the age limit for COVID-19 vaccinations to 18 and over in the Aylmer area, home to many anti-mask protests and identified as a hot spot for COVID-19, CTV London reports.
  • An outbreak of COVID-19 at a Simcoe plant that supplies parts to Toyota has resulted in the auto manufacturer pausing production at its Woodstock and Cambridge facilities as well as other facilities across Canada, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • On Monday, Waterloo Region public health opened up COVID-19 vaccination pre-registration to people 18 and over living in local hot spots, CTV Kitchener reports.

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