Ontario reports less than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases on anniversary of first infection

Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the first reported case of the novel coronavirus in Canada, in a man who was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital after returning from Wuhan, China (where the first cases of the virus were reported). Since then, Canada has recorded 747,383 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 664,621 recoveries (88.9 per cent) and 19,094 deaths (2.5 per cent).

The majority of cases (67.9 per cent) and deaths (79.9 per cent) in the country have been reported by Ontario and Quebec. To date, Ontario has logged 256,960 cases of COVID-19, with 227,494 resolved cases and 5,846 deaths. On Monday, however, Ontario reported 1,958 new cases of COVID-19 — the lowest number of new infections recorded in nearly a week, and a major decrease from the peak high of 3,555 infections logged for the province on Jan. 11.

From Monday’s numbers, three regions recorded triple-digits: 727 new cases were reported in Toronto, 365 in Peel, and 157 in York Region. Sixteen other public health units saw double-digit numbers, including Windsor-Essex (85 cases), Niagara Region (82 cases), and Durham Region (62 cases).



Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliot tweeted that, as of 8 p.m. Sunday, 286,110 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Yet, in a press conference on Monday afternoon, premiere Doug Ford stated that on Friday, he was notified by the federal government that Ontario would receive no deliveries of Pfizer vaccine doses this week, and were told to expect a smaller amount the following week.

In response, Ford says that the government will use “every single vaccine” they can to protect the most vulnerable, by accelerating vaccinations for the most vulnerable seniors and the people who take care of them.

“I’ve asked General Hillier, and the team, to complete all long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes, province-wide, by February 5 instead of February 15,” Ford said, referring to retired General Rick Hillier, who is overseeing Ontario’s vaccine rollout. “As we speed up vaccines for the most vulnerable, we have to ensure we’re able to deliver their second dose.”

Ford added that delivery delays are forcing the province to be “careful and cautious” as they plan to ensure they’re able to offer second doses. That means, Ford noted, reserving second doses of vaccines for frail and vulnerable long-term care home residents so they receive both doses within 21 to 27 days.

“As soon as there’s certainty in deliveries, as soon as we can start receiving regular shipments of vaccines from the federal government, it’ll be full steam ahead,” Ford added, noting that the province has the capacity to vaccinate nearly 40,000 people per day, and that they are working to triple that capacity pending federal government supply.

“It is our hope that, by the summer, everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get a vaccine,” Ford said, reminding the public to stay home and continue following the public health guidelines until a vaccine is widely available.

Ontario is currently under a Stay-At-Home Order and lockdown restrictions likely won’t ease until new COVID numbers drop to around the 1,000 mark.

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Article exclusive to TRNTO