- Per today's government report, there are 326 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 597,841 since the pandemic began; 163 people are in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, while 138 are in intensive care who either previously tested positive or have currently tested positive, and 94 patients are on ventilators. To date, 9,846 people have died.
- Per the government's report on the province's vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 9,697 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 22,394,887 since December 2020. 519,477 people have received only one dose, and 10,937,705 people have received both doses. 87.87 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received their first dose of vaccine and 83.89 per cent have received their second.
As of 2 p.m. yesterday, Ontario's publicly-funded schools were reporting 74 new school-related student cases (for a total of 3,650) 13 new staff cases (for a total of 422) and 1 new unspecified cases for a total of 69; 582 schools are reporting at least one case and 2 schools have been closed.
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On Friday, the Ontario government released a Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Term, which outlines the province’s gradual approach to lifting remaining public health and workplace safety measures by March 2022. Starting today, Ontario will lift capacity limits in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination are required, such as restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments; indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities such as gyms and where personal physical fitness trainers provide instruction; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and indoor meeting and event spaces. Limits will also be lifted in certain outdoor settings. The government will also allow other settings to lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they choose to require proof of vaccination, including personal care services like hair salons, and indoor areas of museums and galleries.
Employees at 45 of Ontario’s largest school boards have presented medical exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine at a rate 42 times higher on average than the exemption rate the province’s top doctor says would be expected in the general population, reports the Toronto Star.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
- According to October 22 data, Toronto reported 60 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 180,485 since the pandemic began; 37 of them are in hospital (3 new). In total, 3,691 people have died (three new).
- The City of Toronto announced today that every public school in Toronto will have a supply of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test kits available for use by end of the week. According to a news release, take-home testing kits can be used if and when a student presents with symptoms of COVID-19 or after another student or staff member in their class has tested positive for COVID-19.
Ahead of Halloween this coming Sunday, provincial and local health officials gave the go-ahead for trick-or-treating, providing safety guidelines. Hamilton residents are encouraged to stay outdoors, include face coverings with their costumes, and not sing or shout, among other things, the Hamilton Spectator reports.
Ontario's plan to lift all COVID-19 restrictions by march has Niagara's acting medical officer of health concerned, the St. Catharines Standard reports. Dr. Mustafa Hirji says he worries the provincial government will try to meet an arbitrary deadline rather than focus on important metrics. He added that he'd also have preferred if leaders waited a bit longer before lifting capacity limits on several types of indoor spaces today. He also worries that announcing a tentative end-date for the proof-of-vaccination system means people will be tempted to wait it out rather than get their jabs.
- As of October 19, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 804,613 doses have been administered, of that 358,363 were second doses in individuals 12 and older.
- As of October 22, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1,753 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 469 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 3,371 COVID-19 cases.
- Ottawa business owners are excited to welcome more customers today as capacity limits have been lifted, but some are worried that the vaccine passport is planned to go away soon, CBC Ottawa reports. "If in January all of a sudden that vaccination requirement goes away, I believe people might start to lose that confidence," says Rod Castro, a local business owner. Meanwhile, some health experts are warning against opening too quickly. "We need to be optimistic, but we have to have some caution here," says Hugues Loemba, a virologist at the University of Ottawa.
- Police presence was heavier at a second weekend of partying at Queen's University, Global Kingston reports. One party was declared an 'aggravated nuisance' party, and there was at least one injury, but overall, crowds were 'more manageable,' police say.
- The North Bay Regional Health Centre is expecting up to 12 COVID patients from Saskatchewan over the next week as the province's hospitals are overwhelmed, reports the North Bay Nugget. "I do anticipate there may be more requests and depending upon the capacity of the hospital, that would be for them to determine whether they have the ability to accept patients," says medical officer of health Jim Chirico. "They’ve done an amazing job to help out when they’ve been called upon.”
- Public Health Sudbury and Districts is hosting a vaccination clinic for pregnant and breastfeeding people tomorrow at the main library at 74 Mackenzie Street from 9 a.m. to noon.
- There were 30 new COVID-19 cases reported in Middlesex-London over the weekend, according to local media reports. The Middlesex-London Health unit recorded 11 cases on Saturday and 19 cases on Sunday. No COVID-19-related deaths have been reported in the area since October 21.
- Region of Waterloo Public Health has declared an outbreak at Breslau Public School, near Kitchener, after a previously known student case was linked to an earlier one, CTV News Kitchener reports. Waterloo Region District School Board says the outbreak is limited to the two cases, both in the Room 22 cohort. “It is not a school-wide outbreak,” reads a WRDSB news release.
- The Windsor-Essex region has seen 43 new COVID-19 cases in the past three days, according to the local public-health unit, CTV News Windsor reports. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is also reporting one new death.
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