Ontario reports 678 new COVID-19 cases as for-profit long-term care homes announce staff vaccine mandates

As Ontario stares down a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of organizations implementing mandatory vaccine policies continues to grow.

On Wednesday night, Toronto District School Board trustees voted unanimously in favour of developing a plan for mandatory vaccines for staff.

On Thursday morning, a group of for-profit long-term care homes and retirement homes announced they would make require employees be vaccinated by October 12.

In a news release, the group — which includes major national operators such as Chartwell, Extendicare, Responsive Group, Revera and Sienna — said that staff who opt not to be vaccinated will be put on unpaid leave. 

“We are optimistic our staff will continue to act in the best interest of our communities and will work to achieve full vaccination across our homes,” the release said.

The city of Mississauga also announced plans to require staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31, following a similar initiative in Toronto. 

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 678 new cases of COVID-19 and no further deaths from the illness on Thursday.

Of the 618 cases with a known vaccination status:

  • 395, or 58 per cent, were in unvaccinated individuals.
  • 82, or 13 per cent, were in individuals with a single dose.
  • 141, or nearly 23 per cent, were in individuals with two doses.

Notably, the province’s data on the vaccination status of cases does not include breakdowns by age, or indicate how long after a first or second shot of COVID-19 vaccine a person contracted the virus, or whether they were symptomatic at the time of testing.

Meanwhile, the number of patients with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals topped 300 for the first time in a little more than two months. Of those, 165 were being treated for COVID-related critical illnesses in intensive care units.

Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health’s daily provincial update:

Seven-day average of daily cases: 646.

Tests completed: 27,815.

Provincewide test positivity rate: 2.8 per cent.

Active cases: 5,305.

Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 165, with 89 needed a ventilator to breathe.

Deaths: zero, keeping the official toll at 9,472.

Vaccinations: 13,950 people received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 24,982 people received their second dose, bringing the total vaccines delivered in the province to date up to 20,605,405.

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