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, 2021

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This article was last updated on Wednesday at 5:54 p.m.

Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 2,941 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 479,633 since the pandemic began; 2,075 people are in hospital, 882 of them in intensive care, and 620 on ventilators. To date, 8,187 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 52 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 60 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 180 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,761 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 132,603 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 5,599,723 since December 2020. 4,837,477 people have received only one dose, and 381,123 people have received both doses
JMM COVID Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.
JMM COVID
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.
  • The Ontario government announced that in response to high levels of COVID-19 vaccination in many long-term-care homes, it will make changes that will help homes safely resume communal dining and social activities. An updated directive from Ontario's chief medical officer of health sets out that long-term care homes can now safely resume activities such as communal dining and indoor events and gatherings, with precautions.
  • Yesterday, the Ontario government announced that it is providing more than $2 billion in new funding to advance and protect public education for the 2021-22 school year. According to a statement, the funding includes more than $1.6 billion in resources to respond to COVID-19 and an $85.5 million commitment to support learning recovery and renewal in response to the ongoing pandemic.
  • CBC News reports that hospitals may not have to use a triage protocol that would enable doctors to decide who gets life-saving care and who doesn't amid the third wave of the pandemic. In the letter to hospital CEOs dated May 2, Andrew Baker, incident commander of the Ontario Critical Care COVID-19 Command Centre, says projections from the province's science advisory table are "very concerning," although the estimated number of ICU patients due to COVID-19 is lower than estimated two weeks ago. "I also wanted to share with you and your teams that we are increasingly confident that we will not need to activate the Emergency Standard of Care, or recommend the use of the Triage Protocol," Baker writes.
  • Ontario's closure of outdoor recreational facilities will remain in place until COVID-19 cases decline significantly, the government said Tuesday. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province currently has no timeline for the reopening of facilities such as tennis courts and golf courses, reports CP24.

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  • CBC News reports that Ontario pharmacies, which can administer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people 40 and older, are forced to navigate a complicated administrative process largely because they are not allowed to schedule appointments through the provincial booking portal.


Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 

  • According to data as of May 5, there are 991 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 153,124 since the pandemic began; 1,162 of them are in hospital (36 new). In total, 3,138 people have died (nine new).
  • Toronto Public Health says that 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at a Toronto airport hotel where travellers are being required to quarantine after coming into the country, reports CP24.

  • CTV News reports that homebound seniors in Peel Region are expressing frustration due to vaccination delays. In response, Lawrence Loh, Peel Region’s medical officer of health says he understands the frustration, but adds that reaching homebound clients, “is the most resource intensive and, therefore, the slowest, least rapid part of our vaccination program.”
  • Hamilton public health officials say there are 28 active COVID-19 cases at a downtown apartment building. Since March, CBC Hamilton reports, public health has identified 55 cases at the 17-storey building and one death. There are 164 units in the building and the virus has spread between 17 units on 10 different floors. Officials say close contact and socializing between residents may have contributed to spread.
  • After Hamilton's vaccine booking hotline overloaded Monday, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath and Hamilton city councillor Nrinder Nann are calling for the province to let residents in Hamilton's locally identified "hot spot" postal codes (L8L, L8N or L9K) book on the province's system, CBC Hamilton reports. Currently, they cannot. As TVO.org has reported, the province identified two "hot spots" in Hamilton (L9C and L8W) without consulting local officials, using data local officials say does not represent the present needs of the city.
  • Cellphone location data suggests that the week after Ontario's current stay-at-home order came into effect, the number of Hamiltonians travelling more than 500 metres outside their home area dropped nearly 10 per cent. The Spectator reports people appeared to move even less in two of the city's "hot spot" postal codes. Public health experts and researchers tell the paper this is good since less mobility typically means less transmission of COVID-19, but they note more needs to be done to keep transmission down. Mobility data does not show whether someone is adhering to public health guidelines. For example, someone may go on a hike by themselves away from their home, or someone may stay home but have neighbours over.
  • Ontario's Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority is set to issue licences to re-open three Hamilton retirement homes, including the Rosslyn retirement home, which was evacuated on May 15, 2020 during a massive outbreak of COVID-19. As CBC Hamilton reports, COVID-19 infected 64 residents and 22 staff, and killed 16 residents at the home. Conditions of the licence renewals include former owners not having decision-making power over finances or operations.
  • The St. Catharines Standard reports Niagara's acting medical officer of health Mustafa Hirji says three quarters of Niagara's adult residents could be at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-June. Hirji says that portion of vaccination would likely be enough to control cases of the virus. About 43 per cent of Niagara adults currently have at least one dose.

Indigenous

  • As of May 3, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 761 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 318 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 1,917 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 has been offering one-hour webinars with vaccine educators so that community members can get their vaccine-related questions answered. The last one will take place today 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.
  • As of May 4, Six Nations of the Grand River is reporting 28 active cases in the community with over half of the current active cases screened positive for a variant of concern (15 active cases).

Northern

  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre says a COVID-19 outbreak in it’s 2B Medical Inpatient Unit, which began on March 30, is now over.
  • The Hymers Fall Fair in Thunder Bay, a century old event, is moving online again this year because of concerns about COVID-19, TBNewswatch reports.
  • An outbreak at Health Sciences North has been declared by Public Health Sudbury and Districts. The outbreak, which is in the South Tower and sixth floor of the Ramsey Lake Health Centre, is the second active outbreak in the hospital, and the fifth outbreak to happen since March 12

Eastern

  • The Kingston region is experiencing its largest workplace outbreak to date, with 32 cases as of Tuesday linked to a local construction site, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports. All 110 workers of the site have been tested and the public health unit is investigating 800 tradespeople who were at the site in the last few weeks. “I am fairly certain there will be more positive (cases) throughout the week,” said Kieran Moore, the region’s medical officer of health. “We are already seeing secondary spread to family members.”
  • Steve McArdle, a 62 year-old Ottawa resident, told CTV News that he is fighting to get his second COVID-19 vaccine within the time frame recommended by the manufacturers. He has had a liver transplant, making him eligible in Ontario to be exempt from the extended 16 week dosing interval, but so far, no one has been able to assist him in booking a sooner shot.
  • An outbreak at the Belleville General Hospital continues to grow, reaching 17 associated cases as of Tuesday, Global News reports. The outbreak started last week with several staff members.
  • On Tuesday, Ottawa Public Health reported 94 new COVID-19 infections, which was the first daily case count under 100 since March, according to Global News. Tuesday does, however, tend to be the lowest count of the week, as testing volumes fall over the weekend.

Southwestern

  • The Middlesex-London public health unit has confirmed one case of the B.1.617 COVID-19 variant that first emerged in India, CTV London reports.
  • Western University medical students want the Canadian government to help address the toll of the pandemic in India by persuading the World Health Organization to lift rules governing COVID-19 vaccines to ensure a more equitable distribution of the drugs throughout the world, CBC London reports.
  • Chatham-Kent public health will begin accepting COVID-19 vaccine bookings from people 50 years and older beginning Thursday, the Chatham Daily News reports.
  • A Tillsonburg golf course that had opened in defiance of provincial pandemic shutdown rules has closed. According to the Woodstock Sentinel Review, the business has been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act. According to CTV KItchener, the course will reopen once pandemic restrictions ease.
  • A shortage of AstraZeneca vaccine in the Waterloo Region is generating worry among some first dose recipients as to when they will receive their second shot, CTV Kitchener reports.
  • A COVID-19 testing site in Cambridge closed two days in a row following staff reports of feeling unwell, CTV Kitchener reports. The cause of the staff's symptoms remains unknown. The centre will remain closed until Thursday, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.

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