COVID-19: What you need to know for May 5

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on May 05, 2020

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This article was last updated at 4:24 p.m.

TVO.org reporters and editors are tracking stories about the coronavirus pandemic in all regions of the province. Here's what Ontarians need to know. 

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 18,310 cases in Ontario, an increase of 387; 1,043
    people are in hospital, 223 of them in intensive care and 166 on ventilators. To date, 1,361 people have died.
  • According to today's report from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 175 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 2,740 confirmed cases in residents and 1,613 confirmed cases in staff. To date, there have been 1,003 confirmed resident deaths and three staff deaths.
  • Barbara Yaffe, the associate chief medical officer of health, said today that 2,892 health-care workers have tested positive to date. She also reported that 66 retirement homes are in outbreak and that 147 residents have died.
covid chart
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
  • Service Employees International Union, which represents 60,000 health-care workers in Ontario, "is calling for public inquiries and criminal investigations into COVID-19 related deaths in long-term care to keep people alive and determine accountability."
  • Premier Doug Ford announced today that the government will be expanding online and virtual mental-health supports. Michael Tibollo, associate minister of mental health and addictions, said that "in partnership with MindBeacon and Morneau Shepell, our government is significantly increasing access to internet-based cognitive-behavioural therapy programs for those experiencing heightened anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic." Tibollo also said that the province has established a mental-health and addictions COVID-19 response table chaired by the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence, within Ontario Health. 
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced more than $252 million in funding for the agrifood sector. More than $77 million of it will go to food processors so that they can purchase PPE for their workers, adapt to health protocols, support other social-distancing measures, and expand or adapt processing capacity; $125 million will go to a national initiative for beef and pork producers to help them adapt to market changes; and $50 million will support a Surplus Food Purchase Program. "The government will buy large quantities of certain products at risk of going to waste — say, potatoes or poultry," Trudeau said, "and redistribute them to organizations addressing food insecurity."
  • Ontario's chief medical officer of health, David Williams, said yesterday that, to date, 2,761 health-care workers have tested positive, and 66 retirement homes have reported outbreaks.

Greater Toronto Area

  • Toronto's medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, said today that there are 6,448 cases in the city, 394 of them in hospital and 105 in intensive care. To date, there have been 113 institutional outbreaks. In total, 469 people have died.
  • De Villa also said that, according to preliminary analysis by Toronto Public Health, "people living in areas that have the highest proportion of low-income earners or areas that have the highest proportion of recent immigrants and high unemployment rates had higher rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations." Her team will be adding socio-demographic questions to the case-management process. In the coming days, all people who test positive will be asked about their race, income, household size, Indigenous identity, and First Nations status. 
  • Canadian Music Week, originally scheduled to take place in Toronto in May and then rescheduled for September, has been cancelled.
  • Four COVID-19 outbreaks at Toronto Western General Hospital have resulted in 19 patients and 46 staff testing positive for the virus, the Toronto Star reports.

  • Home sales in the Toronto area plunged 67 per cent in April compared to the same time last year, according to the Globe and Mail.

  • The Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart is going virtual this year: "Join us (virtually) as we come together to ride, walk, run and move at a safe distance in support of critical heart disease and stroke research," its website says.

Indigenous

  • The Anishnawbe Business Professional Association will be launching its Roots in Resilience webinar series tomorrow at 1 p.m. "COVID-19 is devastating our First Nations communities and without access to stimulus funding we risk losing critical businesses that create jobs and help build opportunities in our Northern economy,” said ABPA president Jason Rasevych. "We are creating a series of information sessions online and by teleconference to help First Nation companies play on an even playing field and give them a chance to survive with the hope to prosper."
  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation reports that its crisis-response team worked with Weeneebayko Area Health Authority and Keewaytinook Okimakanak to dispense hand sanitizer to communities. It also says that 22 communities should be covered for food shipments by the end of this week.
  • As of May 5, Thunder Bay Transit will be resuming some Route 6 bus service to Fort William First Nation.

Northern

  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has announced one new confirmed case of COVID-19. Today's case raises the district total to 76 — 17 of which remain active.

  • "I have a sense of nervousness about the whole reopening," Janet DeMille, medical officer of health for the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, told the CBC yesterday. "Everything that we've held back with these very significant measures that we've had in place for the last month, or month and a half, as we start backing off on it ... we could very easily see broader community spread."

  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences will resume elective surgeries this week.

  • Lake of the Woods District Hospital president Ray Racette says that the facility will be better prepared to confront a second COVID-19 wave, as in-house tests that can return results in an hour are available.

  • Drive-thru testing conducted by Thunder Bay District Health Unit last month has resulted in two positive tests. Because one was associated with a person already known to be at higher risk, it has been excluded from the official count. 
  • Brian McLaren, an associate professor in natural-resources management at Lakehead University, tells Tbnewswatch that the provincial shutdown is creating benefits for wildlife: "Birds are returning to their breeding territories, turtles and other wildlife are making their nests to lay eggs or raise their young in, and the final snowmelt is sending surges into our streams that launch the new season for the aquatic ecosystem."
  • Cassellhome LTC in North Bay has declared an outbreak after a resident tested positive.

Eastern

Southwestern

  • Construction is resuming on the development of a Maple Leaf Foods poultry plant in London as COVID-19 emergency measures loosen, but it's going to be a while before work can resume on the development of a new casino, its owners tell the London Free Press.

  • The Waterloo Region has opened the first of two drop-in centres intended to give people who are homeless in Kitchener a chance to get food, use washrooms and shower, obtain harm-reduction supplies, and arrange for emergency shelter and housing. The second location will open in Cambridge, the region says in a news release.

  • Campgrounds under the authority of the St. Clair Conservation Authority, in Lambton County, won't reopen until the end of the month, Blackburn News reports. The authority had initially cancelled campling until mid-May.

  • Chatham-Kent police say events such as parades to recognize health workers and drive-by birthday celebrations contravene provincial emergency orders and wants them to stop, according to Blackburn News.

  • Windsor will face a more than $11 million deficit because of COVID-19, city staff told its council. Receiving financial help from other government levels, adjusting the operating budget, drawing on financial reserves, introducing a one-time tax levy in 20201, and deferring some capital-budget costs are some ways the impact could be mitigated, the city's chief financial officer said.

  • A pork-processing plant in Kitchener that closed after seven employees tested positive for COVID-19 has reopened, the CBC reports. The plant, Conestoga Meats, is one of only two federally regulated pork processors in Ontario.

  • This summer, a religious education centre in Paris will function as facility to help temporary foreign workers complete a 14-day quarantine, the CBC reports.

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