The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
9 a.m. Another lawsuit has been filed against a long-term-care home operator in Mississauga.
The negligence and wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Viet Do and seeks $20 million from Schlegel Villages, alleging that the company failed to keep residents and staff safe at its Erin Mills Lodge facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do’s father, Minh Do, 88, lived at Erin Mills Lodge from 2014 until his death on April 24, 2020, according to the lawsuit’s statement of claim. His family was notified that Minh Do developed COVID-19 symptoms on April 23, the claim said.
The claim, which has not been proven in court, alleges that Schlegel didn’t comply with directives issued by the province and health authorities, including not isolating individuals with COVID-19 from non-infected people and failing to provide staff with “proper personal protective equipment in a timely manner.”
“When provided, Erin Mills Lodge directed staff to repeatedly use the same personal protective equipment — despite contamination,” the claim alleges.
8 a.m. The Blue Jays will play their first game at Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday night when they open a two-game series against the Miami Marlins at Sahlen Field.
The Blue Jays were baseball nomads to start the season after the federal government denied them permission to play games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre due to concerns over players travelling in and out of the country from American states ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After stadium-sharing deals with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles didn’t come to fruition, the Blue Jays settled on Sahlen Field as a temporary home base for the shortened 2020 season.
But the home of Toronto’s triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, needed some upgrades before being ready for the big leagues, meaning the Blue Jays had to play their scheduled home games in their opposition’s ball park until today.
Toronto enters its home opener with a 5-8 record.
7:19 a.m. The City of Vaughan told York Region Media that it “temporarily” laid off about 1,100 employees due to “shortage of work in some departments” after declaring a state of emergency due to COVID-19.
After these “extraordinary circumstances,” the City said the decision was “difficult but necessary.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic and declared State of Emergency in Vaughan and the Province of Ontario have impacted City services in a number of unexpected ways, including the temporary closure of City facilities to the public and the cancellation of some programs,” it said.
While the City continues to conduct essential services including fire and emergency response, waste collection, water/wastewater services, to bylaw and enforcement services, it says, “As this situation evolves, it will be necessary for the City to continue assessing the operational and financial impacts of these unprecedented times.”
7:16 a.m. Three separate employees at a Mississauga Longo’s grocery store have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Longo’s store tracker.
Management at Longo’s became aware that three employees at their Ponytrail location, on Rathburn Road, had tested positive on Aug. 8.
The employees’ last days of work were Aug. 4, 5 and 6. Each store undergoes a deep cleaning and sanitization once a Longo’s employee contracts the disease.
All employees who may have been in contact with the sick workers have been instructed to stay home and monitor their health for any symptoms. Longo’s claims they pay each employee in full during this time.
Their tracker states that it is not necessary for shoppers who recently visited the Ponytrail location to self-isolate, taking advice from public health officials.
5:46 a.m. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Tuesday that authorities have found four cases of the coronavirus in one Auckland household from an unknown source, the first cases of local transmission in the country in 102 days.
Ardern said Auckland, the nation’s largest city, will be moved to Level 3 from midday Wednesday, meaning that people will be asked to stay at home and bars and many other businesses will be closed.
She said the rest of the country will be raised to Level 2.
4:56 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin says that a coronavirus vaccine developed in the country has been registered for use and one of his daughters has already been inoculated.
Speaking at a government meeting Tuesday, Putin said that the vaccine has proven efficient during tests, offering a lasting immunity from the coronavirus.
Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests. He added that one of his two daughters has received a shot of the vaccine and is feeling well.
Russian authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated.
Russia is the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine. Many scientists in the country and abroad have been skeptical, however, questioning the decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of people.
3:06 a.m. The number of coronavirus cases topped 20 million on Tuesday, more than half of them from the U.S., India and Brazil.
Health officials believe the actual number is much higher than that tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, given testing limitations and the fact that as many as 40 per cent of those who are infected have no symptoms.
It took six months or so to get to 10 million cases after the virus first appeared in central China late last year. It took just over six weeks for that number to double.
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An AP analysis of data through Aug. 9 showed the U.S., India and Brazil together accounted for nearly two-thirds of all reported infections since the world hit 15 million coronavirus cases on July 22.
Tuesday 3:02 a.m. India reported 53,601 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday as its total infections neared 2.3 million.
The Health Ministry also said 871 deaths were newly reported, raising total fatalities to 45,257.
India has been posting an average of around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June.
Its total infections are third in the world, behind the United States and Brazil. The three countries account for half of the world’s 20 million cases. The true numbers around the world are thought to be much higher because of factors including low testing and the possibility the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms.
Monday 6:15 p.m. Only two theatres, two drive-ins and an open-air cinema will physically show movies during the Toronto International Film Festival.
The festival announced the limited venues on Monday, which include the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Isabel Bader Theatre, the Visa Skyline Drive-In at CityView, the RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place and the West Island Open Air Cinema at Ontario Place.
TIFF says most festival selections this year will be screened online via its Bell Digital Cinema.
In keeping with physical distancing measures required due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be reduced capacity at the Lightbox cinemas, the Isabel Bader and the outdoor screens.
But TIFF says even the online screenings will have limits.
The digital screenings are geoblocked to Canada and will be viewable on home TV screens using Chromecast or a new TIFF app, which will be available in the Apple App Store on Sept. 9. Digital movies will be watermarked, either “forensically” or visibly, to prevent piracy, the festival says.
5:54 p.m. As of 5 p.m. Monday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 42,224 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,824 deaths, according to the Star’s latest count.
The province-wide increase in the last 24 hours, up 133 reported infections, was the largest single-day count since late July.
Daily cases reports have been falling steadily since the province saw a brief spike late last month, and had been at its lowest rate of new infections since before the pandemic first peaked in Ontario in the spring.
That rate jumped slightly Monday, up to an average of 95 cases per day over the last seven days — still well down from a mid-April peak of nearly 600 daily.
The day saw double digit-case counts in Ottawa, with 20 new cases, Toronto (18 cases), Peel Region, Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent (all at 11 cases) and in Hamilton (10 cases).
Several of Ontario’s health units do not report case data on weekends, which means Mondays can often see higher than normal case counts.
Meanwhile, the province once again reported no new fatal cases Monday.
The vast majority of the province’s COVID-19 patients have recovered; the province lists fewer than 4,000 active cases of the disease.
The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.
The province cautions its separate data, published daily at 10:30 a.m., may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”
Monday: Toronto is more than two weeks into Stage 3, and an ongoing low trend in daily COVID-19 numbers seems to have held steady.
Across Ontario, new reports of the novel coronavirus have slowed, meaning the embattled Windsor-Essex region can finally join the rest of the province in Stage 3. The province might be experiencing a “basement” in cases, one epidemiologist said, meaning that while we might not drive cases any lower than this, we can likely expect an uptick in the fall.
The Star asked two infectious disease experts — Anna Banerji from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Raywat Deonandan of the University of Ottawa — to weigh in on the data the Star has collected on the state of the COVID-19 crisis in Ontario. Read more from reporter Jenna Moon here.
Read more of Monday’s coverage here.