COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario

COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationOntario, Canada
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseSunnybrook Hospital, Toronto
Arrival dateJanuary 22, 2020
(1 year, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days)
Confirmed cases308,296
Active cases10,389
Recovered290,840
Deaths
7,067
Fatality rate2.29%
Government website
Government of Ontario

The COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario is an ongoing viral pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canada was announced on January 25, 2020, involving a traveler who had recently returned to Toronto from travel in China, including Wuhan. As of November 10, 2020, Ontario has the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Canada's provinces and territories.

With increasing transmission province-wide, a state of emergency was declared by Premier Doug Ford on March 17, 2020, including the gradual implementation of restrictions on gatherings and commerce. On April 3, 2020, the province released modelling projecting that over the full course of the pandemic with no mitigation measures 100,000 deaths would have occurred, and with the then-current measures 3,000 to 15,000 deaths would occur.[1] Projections for test-confirmed cases April 30, 2020 were 12,500 (best case scenario), 80,000 (expected case scenario), and 300,000 (worst-case scenario).[1]

From late spring to early summer, the majority of the deaths were residents of long-term care homes.[1] In late April 2020, one out of five of all long-term care homes in Ontario had an outbreak[1] and 70% to 80% of all COVID-19 deaths had been in retirement and long-term care homes.[2] Following medical assistance and observation by the Canadian Armed Forces, the military released a report detailing "a number of medical, professional and technical issues" amongst 'for-profit' long-term-care homes including neglect, lack of equipment and allegations of elder abuse.[3]

From May through August 2020, the province instituted a three-stage plan to lift economic restrictions, subject to the employment of social distancing and other guidelines, and continued restrictions on the sizes of gatherings. The state of emergency was lifted on July 24, 2020.[4] A plan was implemented for the return-to-class of public schools, involving more than 2 million children.[5]

In early September 2020, the province showed a significant increase in new cases, along with similar spikes in provinces across the country.[6] Throughout the month of October, Ontario began to reintroduce some restrictions, with a focus on controlling spikes in the hotspots of Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Ottawa. The province later rolled back its reopening in hotspot regions with temporary measures in a modified Stage 2 of the previous economic reopening system. In early November, the province unveiled a new five-tiered colour-coded response framework. The framework was created initially in contradiction to the metrics suggested to political officials by Public Health Ontario[7] and later amended by the province to lower thresholds in each category.[8] From late November to mid-December, the province began placing regions in rolling lockdowns, culminating in a province-wide shutdown beginning Boxing Day.[9]

Following Health Canada's approval of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the mRNA-1273 vaccine developed by Moderna, widespread plans for vaccinations began during the week of December 14, 2020.[10] Early vaccination efforts were highly criticized. However, the province now leads the nation in doses administered.[11] Due to a shortage of both approved vaccines in late January and early February, vaccinations slowed significantly for a number of weeks.[12] In late February 2021, shipments of the two approved vaccines at the time increased significantly,[13] and on February 26, 2021, Health Canada approved the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use[14] and on March 5, 2021 approved the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for a total of four approved vaccines.[15]

Due to a post-winter holiday surge of new infections, Premier Ford declared Ontario's second state of emergency on January 12, 2021,[16] which was lifted February 10,[17] and a stay-at-home order effective January 14,[16] which is being phased out regionally between February 10 and March 8.[17]

  1. ^ a b c d "COVID-19 Modelling, April 3, 2020" (PDF). files.ontario.ca. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "Ontario doesn't have a one-stop shop for information about COVID-19 deaths in long-term-care homes and hospitals. The Toronto Star built its own". thestar.com. April 23, 2020. Archived from the original on April 24, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  3. ^ DeClerq, Katherine (May 26, 2020). "'Gut-wrenching' military report sheds light on grim conditions in Ontario nursing homes". Toronto. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  4. ^ "Bill 195: Ontario ends declared emergency, continues some emergency orders". Gowlingwlg.com. Gowling WLG International Limited. July 28, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  5. ^ "Enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools in Canada in 2018/19, by provinceada: elementary/secondary school enrollment, by province 2019". Statista.
  6. ^ "Tam urges caution as daily cases of COVID-19 rise 25 per cent in last week". CTV News. September 7, 2020. Archived from the original on September 8, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  7. ^ "Ontario rejected its own public health agency's advice when it launched its colour-coded plan for COVID-19 restrictions". thestar.com. November 11, 2020.
  8. ^ "Hamilton, Halton and York entering red level as Ontario lowers COVID-19 restrictions threshold". Global News.
  9. ^ "Ontario-wide lockdown to begin on Boxing Day, list of essential retailers narrowed". CP24. December 21, 2020. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  10. ^ "Ontario releases three-phase COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan with inoculations to begin on Tuesday". CP24. December 11, 2020.
  11. ^ "COVID-19 Tracker Canada - Vaccination Tracker". covid19tracker.ca.
  12. ^ "Explained: What the Pfizer shortage means for Canada's vaccine rollout". Coronavirus. January 26, 2021.
  13. ^ "Vaccine 'ramp-up phase': 1.3M Moderna doses in March; more than 10M Pfizer by June". Coronavirus. February 25, 2021.
  14. ^ https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/astrazeneca-approved-1.5929050
  15. ^ https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/johnson-johnson-covid19-vaccine-approved-1.5937900
  16. ^ a b "Coronavirus: Ontario declares 2nd state of emergency, issues stay-at-home order". Global News.
  17. ^ a b "Opposition slams Ford for sending 'dangerous message' by ending state of emergency". Toronto. February 9, 2021.

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