Weekly COVID-19 Update – Jan 20th, 2021

Posted by: Ira Timothy
in: All News

Provincial Restrictions & Public Health Measures
Stay at Home Order and State of Emergency
On January 13th, 2021, the province declared an immediately effective state of emergency and implemented a province-wide stay at home order. This order requires everyone to remain at home, leaving for essential purposes only. Examples of essential purposes include:
• Going to the grocery store or pharmacy
• Accessing health care services
• Going to work (where the work cannot be done remotely)
• Exercise

Additional public health measures implemented with these orders include:
• Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings limited to a maximum of five people.
• Masks or face coverings are required in all indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open.
• All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, may only be open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
• Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction.
• All businesses must ensure that any employee able to work from home does so.

These public health measures are in addition to previous measures implemented under the lockdown that began on December 26th, 2020 and are to remain in place until at least February 11th, 2021. Non-compliance with public health restrictions can result in fines and other enforcement measures.

More information on the new state of emergency and stay at home order is available here: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59922/ontario-declares-second-provincial-emergency-toaddress-covid-19-crisis-and-save-lives

Education Update
COVID-19 Cases in Ontario’s Publicly Funded Schools
As of January 20th, 2021, there is at least one reported case of COVID-19 in seven of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools that are permitted to be open right now. The cumulative total of all school-related cases reported since September 5th, 2020, is 7,322 (this includes resolved cases). In the past 14 days, there have been reported COVID-19 cases in the following school boards:
1. Algoma District School Board (2 staff)
2. Conseil scolaire de district catholique du Nouvel-Ontario (3 individuals not identified)
3. Near North District School Board (2 students)
4. Lakehead District School Board (1 staff) 5. Sudbury Catholic District School Board (1 student & 1 staff)

Child Care Centres & Home Care Agencies
Child care centres are permitted to remain open but are prohibited from serving school-aged children. As of January 20th , the province reported 26 new cases within child care centres and homes, including 12 child-related cases and 14 staff-related cases. There are currently 224 child-care facilities in Ontario with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and 31 centres closed due to virus outbreaks. This brings the cumulative total of all COVID-19 cases reported in child care and home care since June 12th, 2020 to 1,958 (this includes resolved cases). Where elementary schools continue to be closed for in-person learning, before and after school programs continue to be closed and prohibited from charging parent fees.

A detailed list of the schools, licensed child care centres, and homecare agencies with COVID-19 cases can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-cases-schoolsand-child-care-centres

Complimentary to this list, is the COVID-19 School Dashboard that maps confirmed schoolrelated COVID-19 cases in publicly funded elementary and secondary schools across the province: http://covid19schooldashboard.com

Targeted Emergency Child Care (ECC) Program
Emergency child care for school-aged children is to be extended to support workers that require it at this time. For eligibility requirements, please refer to included memo entitled, “Memo to First Nations- Emergency Child Care for School Aged Children.”

Support for Learners Program
This program is intended to support learners financially through the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2020-21 school year. This is a one-time payment to support children and youth up to grade 12 (to receive $200) and children with special needs 21 and under (to receive $250). The deadline to apply is February 8th, 2021.

For more information and to apply go to: https://www.iaccess.gov.on.ca/SupportForLearnersWeb/public/index.xhtml

Confirmed Cases
First Nations in Ontario
As of Wednesday January 20th , there are 130 active cases of COVID-19 amongst First Nations communities in Ontario. There are 15 communities that currently have active cases including:
– Six Nations
– Akwesasne
– Aamjiwnaang
– Wauzhushk Onigum
– Kettle and Stony Point
– Oneida Nation of the Thames
– Chippewa Nation of the Thames
– Walpole Island
– Long Lake No. 58
– Aroland – Beausoleil
– Chippewas of Nawash
– Iskatewizaagegan No. 39
– Ginoogaming
– Constance Lake

43 out of 133 First Nation communities have had at least one case during the second wave of the pandemic with highest concentrations in the South West region and lower relative increases in Northeast and the Central region. Cases increases began throughout the month of October, with a strong spike throughout the month of December, another spike in cases began to occur. There was a slight decline in new cases this week in comparison to last week. There have been 488 cases in First Nations during the second wave, bringing the currently cumulative total of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 554. Of these cases, 364 have been resolved for a resolve rate of 66%. Eight of community cases have resulted in death. More information on case counts and increases in recent weeks is contained in attached memos from the Chiefs of Ontario called “First Nation Cases – COVID Testing Report 39a” and “20-01-21 Memo First Nation Community Cases.”


Ontario General
On Wednesday January 20th, 2021, Ontario reported 2,655 new cases of COVID-19. Of these cases, there were 925 in Toronto, 473 in Peel Region, 226 in York Region and 179 in Windsor Essex County. Other public health units with double- or triple-digit increases today include:

• Niagara Region: 129
• Waterloo Region: 101
• Ottawa: 86
• Hamilton: 75
• Simcoe Muskoka: 71
• Durham Region: 70
• Middlesex-London: 65
• Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 56
• Halton Region: 51
• Southwestern: 20
• Thunder Bay: 17
• Eastern Ontario: 16
• Haldimand-Norfolk: 16
• Porcupine: 14
• Chatham-Kent: 13
• Lambton: 12
• Huron-Perth: 11

The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 2,850, marking 10 consecutive days of decreases in daily case counts. As of January 19th, there were 26,467 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide. This number has been trending downward since January 11 when a record high of 30,632 cases were active in the province.

Ontario is processing an average of 59,000 tests daily. Test positivity across Ontario for Wednesday is 4.9%. The weekly average sits at 5.7% which is an improvement from last week’s positivity rate average of 7.2%.

As of yesterday, there were 1,598 people with COVID-19 in hospitals. This is down from the 1,674 hospitalized at this time last week. Of patients currently in hospital, 395 are being treated in intensive care and 296 require a ventilator to breathe. These numbers are up from the 385 and 276 reported respectively at this time last week. As of January 18th , 24 out of Ontario’s 34 Public Health Units are at 70% or more capacity for ICU beds with the Easter, Huron Perth, and York public health units are at 100%.

Modeling numbers from last week projected the numbers of deaths daily to double from 50 to 100 deaths per day by the end of February. Today, there were 89 deaths reported. The death toll in the province has reached 5,433. Over 3,240 deaths to date are residents of long-term care homes. Further detail on case numbers and demographics in the province is available here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/data

Vaccines
Federal Procurement and Approvals
Canada has reportedly secured a combined total of 132 million total doses of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. With two doses required per person, this would be more than 5 enough to immunize the entire population of Canada. In total, Canada has invested more than $1 billion to have access to up to 414 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from seven different manufacturers.

As of Tuesday, January 19th , more than 606,000 (or 1.6% of the population of Canada) has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A total of 765,100 doses of the vaccine has been distributed to the provinces and territories.

An outline vaccine distributions to the provinces is available here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirusinfection/prevention-risks/covid-19-vaccine-treatment/vaccine-rollout.html#a4

Provincial Vaccination Implementation
Ontario has received over 277,050 COVID-19 vaccine doses and administered over 144,000 doses across the province. Vaccines were provided to amongst health care workers in long term care and retirement homes, health care workers general, and long-term care and retirement home residents and staff. Administration of second doses began on January 5th with first doses administered as early as December 14th, 2020. Over 8,000 Ontarians are now fully vaccinated.

Ontario has developed a vaccine implementation plan in collaboration with the COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Task Force. A First Nations Vaccine Distribution Sub-Table, co-chaired by Ontario Regional Chief Roseanne Archibald and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Ontario Greg Rickford, has been established under this Task Force to inform the approach to vaccine distribution to Indigenous communities. More information on vaccine rollout for First Nations is contained in the attached power point from Indigenous Affairs Ontario called “First Nation Vaccine Rollout Update January 18th, 2021.”

First Nations are encouraged to make COVID-19 Vaccine Readiness plans. A “COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Operations Planning Checklist” has been developed by the Ministry of Health and has been attached here. A guideline document for engaging communities on vaccine implementation developed by the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council is also attached here.

Ontario has developed a three phase roll out plan for COVID-19 vaccines.

a. Phase 1 (starting December 15, 2020) The limited doses are being prioritized for health care workers in hospitals, longterm care homes, retirement homes, other congregate care settings, and remote Indigenous communities.

b. Phase 2 (starting winter 2020/21) Increased stock of vaccines will allow for expanded rollout to priority populations, including those listed in phase 1 plus: essential caregivers, long-term care home and 6 retirement home residents, home care patients with chronic conditions, First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit adults.

c. Phase 3 (when sufficient doses are available) When vaccines are be widely available across Ontario.

For more information on getting a COVID-19 Vaccine in Ontario is available here: https://covid19.ontario.ca/getting-covid-19-vaccine-ontario#phase-1

Federal Updates
Support for First Nations
On January 13th, 2021, the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada announced $1.2 billion in funding would be allocated to support COVID-19 response for Indigenous communities with an additional $380 million being allocated to the Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICSF). First Nations can expect ICSF funding phase III to be automatically deposited in the same manner and amount as ICSF phase II. There is a $233 million set aside for needs-based (proposal-based) support. This funding will be dedicated to remaining portions of previously submitted proposals that were not fully funded during phase II of the ICSF. Letters will go out to First Nations who can expect these balances. There will also be an opportunity through phase III for new proposals to be submitted to respond to outbreaks in communities. More information on regional allocations and First Nation access to this funding will be provided as it becomes available.

Border Closures & Travel Restrictions
Canada is continuing to advise against all non-essential travel. As of January 7, 2021, air travellers 5 years of age or older are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada. Upon entrance to Canada, it is mandatory to self-quarantine for 14-days.

The Canada-U.S. land border remains closed for non-essential travel. The closure is currently in place until at least January 21st, 2021 and will likely be extended further. The Prime Minister has indicated that extensions to the closure will continue until COVID-19 case counts in the U.S. decrease. Provinces and Territories across Canada have varying restrictions for entry from non-residents. It is recommended to research each region’s policies prior to any essential travel.

Confirmed Cases – First Nations Across Canada
There are now over 12,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst Indigenous peoples on reserve with less than 7,600 resolved. Rates of exposure amongst First Nations began to rapidly Page 7 of 7 accelerate in December 2020. More information on COVID-19 cases confirmed in Indigenous communities from Indigenous Services Canada is available here: https://www.sacisc.gc.ca/eng/1589895506010/1589895527965

Confirmed Cases – Canada
Canada now has confirmed 724,000 cases with 4,677 added on Wednesday. This is an improvement from the 6,294 additional cases reported at this time last week. Over 636,000 of cumulative cases have now recovered and over 18,000 have resulted in death. Monitor country-wide case counts and trends here: https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html

Additional Information & Resources
• Ontario COVID-19 website: https://covid-19.ontario.ca
• Canada COVID-19 website: https://www.canada.ca/en/publichealth/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
• Chiefs of Ontario COVID-19 webpage: https://chiefsofontario.wordpress.com/
• Generic email for Indigenous Services Canada COVID-19 information: sac.covid19fnihbontario.isc@canada.ca
• Red Cross Support 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CST), 7 days a week at: 1-833-937-1597.
• InfoPoint Health managers can call or email to ask specific questions. Toll free: 1-855-446- 2719 or Email: Infopoint@fnhma.ca

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