COVID-19: What you need to know for September 28

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Sep 28, 2021

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Provincewide

  • Per today's government report, there are 466 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 585,007 since the pandemic began; 315 people are in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, while 180 are in intensive care who either previously tested positive or have currently tested positive, and 127 patients are on ventilators. To date, 9,715 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 17 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 52 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 37 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,817 confirmed resident deaths and 13 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government's report on the province's vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 31,855 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 21,704,159 since December 2020. 716,715 people have received only one dose, and 10,493,722 people have received both doses. 85.98 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received their first dose of vaccine and 80.48 per cent have received their second.
  • As of 2 p.m. yesterday, Ontario's publicly-funded schools were reporting 257 new school-related student cases (for a total of 1,605) 18 new staff cases (for a total of 210) and 5 new unspecified cases for a total of 52; 808 schools are reporting at least one case and 1 school have been closed. These numbers represent cases identified from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon, including the weekend.

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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.
JMM COVID Graph
Data from the Province of Ontario; visualizations by John Michael McGrath.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

  • According to September 27 data, Toronto reported 388 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 178,304 since the pandemic began; 64 of them are in hospital (5 new). In total, 3,650 people have died (2 new). Data as of September 27 includes cases and outcomes since September 24. 
  • School-aged children now account for the highest share of COVID-19 cases of any demographic in Toronto, reports CP24. However, Toronto's medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa says that most infections are still being tied back to household transmission and not classroom outbreaks.
  • Some Toronto elementary school parents have built their own rapid testing program from scratch, reports CBC News. Sam Kaufman, founder of the program, says he's frustrated at the Ontario government's refusal to spearhead rapid testing efforts in schools, especially as he sees outbreaks mount. The City of Toronto is reporting 11 schools are currently experiencing outbreaks and a Durham Region school has closed for at least two weeks with students going back to online learning.
  • Enforcement of Ontario's vaccine certificate program will fall on bylaw officers in both Missausaga and Brampton, reports the Brampton Guardian. As explained by media officer Constable Akhil Mooken, Peel Regional Police won’t be checking to see if people in areas where certification is required have the correct documentation. However, police will respond to potentially high-risk situations where they will “maintain the peace, safety and address any related criminal acts," according to a release issued by the force. 
  • Hamilton had Ontario's fourth-highest COVID-19 rate on Monday, with key metrics starting to climb after a near-month-long downward trend, the Hamilton Spectator reports. The age group with the most active cases Monday was children nine and younger, followed by those 10 to 19. Children born after 2009 cannot currently be vaccinated. Children and teens made up 38 per cent of active cases in the city, and 50 per cent were people 20 to 59. Thirteen per cent of cases are among people 60 and older. About 84 to 90 per cent of seniors are fully vaccinated in Hamilton. Sixty-four per cent of people age 25 to 29 are (the lowest rate in the city). In Ontario, 80 per cent of people are fully vaccinated. In Hamilton, 77 per cent of people are (the second-lowest rate in the province). That rate appears to have been climbing since Ontario's proof-of-vaccine system started.
  • The Spectator also reports that about 880 Hamilton Health Sciences staff have not reported their vaccination status and 910 are not fully vaccinated. Those who have not shared their status risk being fired or suspended without pay by the hospital network. Most Hamilton Street Railway bus drivers and maintenance workers have not disclosed their status, and their union is fighting the policy, the paper reports. All 7,000 city workers were supposed to disclose their vaccination status by Sept. 15, which two-thirds of workers did. Only about 17 per cent (117 of 687) HSR drivers and maintenance workers did.
  • Several local business owners tell CBC Hamilton they won't be enforcing Ontario's new vaccine credential program. The City of Hamilton and the Ministry of Labour say their enforcement approaches are focused on educating businesses about the policy. Businesses that do not comply with the Reopening Ontario Act can face a ticket of $1,000 or a penalty up to $10 million. The City notes it is already investigating more than 10 businesses for dismissing the new rules. Of those not enforcing the rules, two owners likened proving vaccination status to eat indoors to slavery or racial segregation. One feared losing income as a result of the rules.

Indigenous

  • As of September 21, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 769,750 doses have been administered, of that 341,234 were second doses in individuals 12 and older.
  • As of September 26, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 1,784 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 417 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 3,223 COVID-19 cases.
  • Indigenous Services Canada gave residents of Saugeen First Nation 71 expired doses of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 between August 9 and September 15, reports CP24. According to a statement from the Saugeen First Nation, nurses from the federal department administered doses based on the expiry date on the vials, not realizing the doses had already expired because they were not refrigerated.

Eastern

  • In Cornwall, vaccination rates are lagging behind the rest of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region, according to Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the EOHU. The city’s COVID-19 caseload is also outpacing other parts of the region and much of the province, CBC News reports.
  • Ottawa Public Health is reviewing options for a possible roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 5 to 11, reports CTV News.
  • A recent paper by the Ottawa Heart Institute on heart inflammation after an mRNA vaccination has been retracted after it was found to have made incorrect calculations, wildly overestimating the likelihood of inflammation, CTV News reports. The paper was shared widely among people who are against vaccines. “As we all know, this exploded on social media and that’s unfortunate because there was a significant error in this and a significant calculation mistake,” said infectious disease specialist Isaac Bogoch.

Northern

  • Ontario’s medical regulator has imposed a number of restrictions on Patrick Phillips, a family physician based in northeastern Ontario, accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19. The Toronto Star reports that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario says Phillips is now barred from providing medical exemptions regarding COVID-19 vaccines, masking requirements and testing. The regulator says Phillips is also prohibited from prescribing ivermectin -- an antiparasitic agent that Health Canada says should not be used for treating COVID-19 -- as well as fluvoxamine and atorvastatin in connection with the virus.

Southwestern

  • Scotlynn Growers, a farm in Vittoria where a massive COVID-19 outbreak claimed the life of a migrant worker and sickened scores more is facing prosecution for a raft of alleged workplace safety violations, reports the Toronto Star. Scotlynn Growers and proprietor Scott Biddle are charged with 20 offences that allegedly occurred last year, when about 200 migrant workers tested positive for the virus.
  • The London Free Press reports that after anti-vaccine protester Chris Sky posted on social media that Works Craft Burgers and Beer in London's downtown area was not mandating masks or checking vaccination records, Chris Mackie, medical officer of health for Middlesex-London, said the health unit followed up with the restaurant and the restaurant announced that they will comply with vaccine passport requirements.
  • On Monday, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit issued a letter of recommendation heightening vaccine requirements put in place by the provincial government earlier this month, reports the Windsor Star.  Although the province stated youth participating in community sports and fitness facilities would not need to be vaccinated, the health unit has decided otherwise.
  • Officials with the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) say they learned of four new positive COVID-19 cases on Monday, three of which are linked to a growing outbreak, reports Blackburn News.

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