covid-19 vaccine news

Ontario just reported the lowest number of COVID-19 cases since October

Ontario reported 847 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday — a drop from the 904 cases reported on Tuesday and 964 cases reported on Monday. It is also the lowest number of cases reported since October. The new cases break down to 257 in Toronto, 170 in Peel, and 131 in York Region (although according to Public Health Ontario, case counts may fluctuate as Toronto Public Health migrates to CCM).

The province also reported 10 deaths (four were residents of long-term care homes) and 1,456 resolved cases (an increase from the 1,012 resolved cases recorded in the previous report).

To date, a total of 288,583 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the province, with 270,869 resolved cases, 14,528 hospitalizations (five per cent of cases), and 6,729 deaths (2.3 per cent of cases).

Provincial Health Minister Christine Elliot noted that as of 8 p.m. yesterday, 489,484 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 195,366 people fully vaccinated.

 

 

Immediate priority groups for the vaccine continue to include residents, staff, essential caregivers (including family caregivers) and other employees in congregate living settings for seniors who have not received their first dose of the vaccine; alternative level of care patients in hospitals who have confirmed admission to congregate care homes; health care workers (including hospital employees, staff who work or study in hospitals and health care personnel); Indigenous adults in higher-risk communities.

Additionally, the provincial government announced in a memo on Sunday the next target groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (when supply increases) as part of Ontario’ Phase One rollout plan:

  • Adults aged 80 and over
  • Seniors and caregivers in long-term care/congregate care settings
  • Adult recipients of chronic home care
  • All Indigenous adults

Retired General Rick Hillier, head of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, noted in the memo that the provincial target of providing a first dose offer of the vaccine to residents of all long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes is arriving at completion.

This despite repeated delays and reductions of vaccine shipments.

“It is critically important to vaccinate, and provide an extra layer of protection, for the residents in our long-term care homes and those who care for them,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement last week. “But due to a shortage of supply and unpredictable deliveries, meeting our goals has been a challenge. Thanks to the well-oiled machine here in Ontario, led by General Hillier and his team, we have made incredible progress in our vaccine rollout, offering our seniors and their families’ peace of mind during this difficult period.”

Meanwhile, the City of Toronto is preparing nine city-operated COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The target date for opening the clinics will be in early April, but the ultimate date of opening will be based on the vaccine supplies secured by the federal government and when the province provides direction to do so.

“We are readying these sites and letting you know where they are as part of what is one of the largest, if not the largest, for sure, vaccination mobilization efforts in the history of the city,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said at a press briefing last Wednesday, adding that it’s a “team effort” to get everyone vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s emergency stay-at-home order lifted for 27 more public health units on Tuesday. All regions in Ontario have returned to the province’s colour-coded reopening framework — except for COVID hot spots Toronto, Peel, York Region, and North Bay, which will remain under the stay-at-home order until (at least) Feb. 22.

In an interview with CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday, Ford noted that those regions would be in the grey zone (the most restrictive measures) when they move out of the stay-at-home order.

“Based on the chief medical officer’s advice they’ll continue being in the grey lockdown area and we’re taking this very slowly and cautiously,” Ford said.

More measures are also being taken in schools.

As more schools reopen for in-person classes, Ontario is calling for Toronto, York, and Peel Region school boards to offer targeted COVID-19 testing, on a weekly basis,  in at least five per cent of their elementary and secondary schools, reaching two per cent of their student populations, to begin Feb. 22.

 

 

“A stronger and proactive asymptomatic testing presence in Ontario schools will help keep them safe and open,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce tweeted on Tuesday.

Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario updates.

Article exclusive to TRNTO