COVID-19: What you need to know this weekend

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By TVO.org staff - Published on Mar 21, 2020

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This article was last updated on March 22 at 3:11 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

  • Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced Sunday that the government will be re-opening some licensed child-care facilities for core front-line workers, including health-care workers and police. The services will be free for qualified employees.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed at a press conference on Sunday that Parliament will be recalled on Tuesday to approve the $82 billion spending package and other urgent measures.

  • The province has 47 new cases of COVID-19, according to data from Public Health Ontario released on Sunday morning. The number of cases under investigation (that is, people who've been tested but are still awaiting their results) has also grown, from 7,239 to 8,361. The number of "resolved" cases, in which a patient has tested negative for the disease twice more than 24 hours apart, has grown from six to eight. Ontario now has 424 confirmed cases of the virus.

  • On Saturday night, the Ontario government announced the latest use of its emergency powers to try and control the outbreak of COVID-19. It is now giving hospitals expanded powers to manage their labour force: hospitals will be allowed to redeploy any staff to different locations in a hospital or to different facilities altogether; change work assignments without regard to collective-bargaining units; change work schedules; and use volunteers, temporary workers, and part-time workers as needed. The province has noted that this measure is temporary and will expire when the state of emergency does.

  • Health Minister Christine Elliott announced on Saturday via Twitter that "Ontario has launched an enhanced and interactive #COVID19 self-assessment tool."

  • At a press conference on Saturday, Premier Doug Ford announced a new webpage, Ontario Together, to help businesses and their employees work with the provincial government to meet the needs of the public-health-care system in the COVID-19 crisis. The government needs ventilators, surgical masks, gowns, and more. “If you can retool your business to make these items, we need it right now,” Ford said, adding that government funding would be available to help businesses retool.

  • The Ontario Real Estate Association is calling on all realtors across the province to cease any open houses during the COVID-19 state of emergency. “If a client has an urgent need to sell or buy a home during the COVID-19 crisis, there are other real estate tools that Realtors can use for showing a property including virtual tours,” said OREA president Sean Morrison. “Let’s put our clients and communities first and focus on protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians.”
  • On Friday evening, the Ontario government announced that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario. ETFO is the largest teachers' union in the province, and this tentative agreement follows a previous one with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association. The tentative agreements with both ETFO and OECTA still need to be ratified by their memberships.

Greater Toronto Area

  • Toronto recorded its first coronavirus-related death on Sunday. According to a news release, the patient was in his seventies and had recently travelled to the United Kingdom.

  • Toronto Public Health has stated that at least 13 health-care workers in the city have tested positive for COVID-19.

  • A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Baycrest hospital; the patient is now in isolation. Baycrest states that it is "actively working with [Toronto Public Health] and our lab partners to investigate this matter, prevent further spread to others, and to ensure the strictest outbreak control protocols are in place."

  • Hamilton Public Health Services has declared an outbreak at a long-term-care home in Stoney Creek, as two cases have now been confirmed at the facility; the first was an 80-year-old female resident; the second, a 55-year-old female resident who lived on the same floor.

  • Petro-Canada confirmed last night on Twitter that it had become aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at a Tim Hortons/Petro-Canada location in Brampton.

  • As of 1 p.m., there were 193 confirmed cases in Toronto, and 10 people were hospitalized.
  • A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at a long-term-care home in Markham.

Indigenous

Northern

  • Ontario Northland has announced that, effective March 25, it will be reducing service on some of its bus routes. “All communities currently served by Ontario Northland will continue to receive bus service,” the agency stated in a press release. “However, the frequency will be reduced on routes where we currently service more than once per day.”
  • The Dryden Food Bank, which previously was to be shut down until April 1, will instead be back up and running as of March 25.

Eastern

  • On Sunday morning, a new case of COVID-19 was reported in Ottawa, bringing the city's total to 21 confirmed cases. The patient is a woman in her twenties; it is not clear how the virus was transmitted.
  • A second Ottawa Senators player has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • A man in his thirties has become Ottawa’s 20th confirmed case of COVID-19, the Ottawa Citizen reports. The patient “contracted the novel coronavirus through close contact” and is now self-isolating.
  • The region's first rural testing station will open in Hawkesbury on Monday.
  • Kingston’s Memorial Centre, a 3,300-seat arena, has been converted into an assessment centre for the novel coronavirus. Global News reports that “the new assessment centre will not only test those who just got back into the county but now any residents who are experiencing symptoms of the virus.”

Southwestern

  • There has been a third death in Ontario related to COVID-19. The patient, who was being treated at Barrie’s Royal Victoria hospital, was in his seventies. CTV reports that “health officials said he was a close contact of the first COVID-19 related death in Ontario,” a 77-year-old man who died at the same hospital.

  • London and Middlesex has reported one new case, bringing the local total to 12.
  • The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Windsor-Essex. The patient, a man in his sixties who recently returned to Canada from a Caribbean cruise, has mild symptoms and is in self-isolation.

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