This article was last updated at 4:15 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.
- Per today's government report, there are 19,121 cases in Ontario, an increase of 399; 1,033
people are in hospital, 220 of them in intensive care and 155 on ventilators. To date, 1,477 people have died.
- According to today's report from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 174 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 2,831 confirmed cases in residents and 1,671 confirmed cases in staff. To date, there have been 1,111 confirmed resident deaths.
- Ontario's chief medical officer of health, David Williams, said today that 3,131 health-care workers have tested positive to date and that 70 retirement homes are in outbreak.
During a briefing by government officials today, Ontario unveiled its guidelines for restarting elective (or "scheduled") hospital medicine. The province will allow hospitals to resume non-emergency procedures on a regional basis when certain key factors are met — most important, a declining or stable level of COVID-19 infections and a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment. (Hospitals have never stopped delivering urgent care.) It was not clear Thursday how many Ontario hospitals or regions, if any, currently meet those criteria. Government officials acknowledged the possibility that Toronto hospitals may resume later than those in other parts of the province, given the prevalence of COVID-19 in the GTA. That could have implications far beyond the GTA, as many patients travel to Toronto from all over the province for specialist care. Health Minister Christine Elliott said today that it will still be several weeks before surgeries can resume.
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VIA Rail has announced that it will be cancelling some of its routes until November.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that Ottawa has concluded a deal with all provinces and territories to provide a wage top-up for essential workers. Some details still need to be finalized. Provincial governments and territories will determine who qualifies for the wage increase. "If you're risking your health to keep this country moving, and you're making minimum wage, you deserve a raise," he said. Richard Southern is reporting that, in Ontario, the federal top-up will go to health-care workers and workers in the long-term care and retirement sectors only.
Minister of Long-Term Care Merilee Fullerton says there will be a review of the province's long-term-care system after the present emergency has passed.
In a statement this morning, Premier Doug Ford tells seasonal residents going to cottage country to practice physical distancing and asks tourists and visitors to stay away altogether: "Cottage country residents are known for their hospitality and normally they would be welcoming tourists with open arms right now," he said. "This year, however, they are asking visitors to help them fight the spread of COVID-19 and hold off travelling to these regions until it is safe to do so."
Greyhound Canada says that, starting May 12, it will temporarily shut down all its bus routes due to a plunge in demand. The company says its ridership has dropped 95 per cent in recent weeks.
Bombardier has announced a gradual resumption of its rail and aircraft manufacturing operations.
Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca has written a letter to Premier Doug Ford asking for the government to allow Queen's Park to resume sitting with a mix of in-person and virtual business, matching the current practice in the House of Commons in Ottawa. Queen's Park is currently scheduled to return on May 12, when it will have a question period and a vote to extend the current state of emergency.
Greater Toronto Area
- According to today 's report, there are 6,914 cases in Toronto, 397 of them in hospital and 102 in intensive care. To date, there have been 117 institutional outbreaks. In total, 522 people have died.
- Toronto fire chief Matthew Pegg said today that all workers at the city's seven emergency child-care centres are in the process of being tested. He reported that, at the Jesse Ketchum Early Learning and Child Care Centre, 13 staff have tested positive, 34 are negative, and 19 are awaiting results; seven children have tested positive, 20 are negative, and approximately 30 are awaiting results. At the Falstaff site, one staff member has tested positive and five are awaiting results; no children there are showing symptoms.
- Toronto mayor John Tory said today that a three-month lockdown and a six-month recovery period could cost the city $1.5 billion. "We are calling for decisive national leadership to help cities during these unprecedented times," he said. "Without emergency funding, we're out of acceptable options — and time."
- A spokesperson for Mount Pleasant Cemetery says that the grounds will reopen from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They will be closed on Mother’s Day but reopen Monday.
- The Camilla Care Community, in Mississauga, has confirmed that, to date, 43 of its residents have died.
- Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, said yesterday that 11 staff members and four children at Jesse Ketchum Early Learning and Child Care Centre have tested positive.
- According to a presentation prepared by the Chief of Ontario, a lower rate of positive test results (relative to Ontario) "suggests that efforts to reduce spread in First Nations might be working so far." However, it notes that an increase in positive test results "suggests that it might be too early for First Nations to open up, even if the rest of Ontario is ready."
- As of May 6, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 41 cases on First Nations reserves in Ontario.
- The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has posted a video message providing an update on the long-term-care facilities in the community.
Greg Rickford, Ontario's minister of energy, northern development, mines and Indigenous affairs, has confirmed that the province will not allow businesses in northern Ontario to open earlier than those in the rest of the province.
The Canadian Lakehead Exhibition, originally scheduled for August 5 to 9, has officially been cancelled. Midway operator Select Shows confirmed on Facebook that it won’t be hitting the road this year. Events in Thunder Bay, Kenora, Dryden, Red Lake, Emo, and Sioux Lookout will be affected.
The Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society has cancelled the Emo Fall Fair, held annually in August.
The Lakehead School Board has formally suspended graduation ceremonies, dances, and socials for its graduating classes.
- An outbreak has been declared at Extendicare LTC in Sault Ste. Marie after three asymptomatic residents tested positive.
City of Greater Sudbury has banned the use of fireworks, including on Victoria Day and Canada Day.
The Algoma Central Railway has announced that the Agawa Canyon train tour has been cancelled until September 1.
Former AIDS Thunder Bay head, Michael Sobota, reflects on the similarities between the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.
An employee at the Madonna Care Community long-term-care home, in Orléans, has died after contracting COVID-19; to date, 30 residents have died.
- Researchers and physicians at the Ottawa Hospital are investigating the link between blood clots and COVID-19.
- Fairmont Château Laurier, in Ottawa, will be reopening on Canada Day.
- The Lakefield Farmers' Market will start its season on May 21. There will be one customer entry point, and only one family member will be allowed to shop.
On Friday, London will lift an open-air fire ban that has been in place since March. “The ban was a safety measure for our employees and for citizens during this time of uncertainty,” Lori Hamer, the city's police chief, said in a news release.
- Dialysis is being used by a London research institute to treat patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. According to a news release, the Lawson Health Research Institute is the first in the world to use the the approach, which it is testing on 40 patients at the London Health Sciences Centre.
A London company has developed a series of immunoassay blood tests to detect the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. According to the London Free Press, they can be done for less than $5 and produce results within two hours. The company is waiting for approval from Health Canada before marketing the kits.
As Ontario's auto-manufacturing industry prepares to ramp up production again, the biggest challenge may be finding personal protective equipment, the Windsor Star reports.
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