Feb. 18 COVID-19 update: A new death, Ontario rejects one-year eviction ban

OTTAWA – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reports another death due to COVID-19, and 46 new cases.

Since March of 2020, there have now been 435 COVID-19-related deaths in Ottawa, and 14,151 confirmed cases. OPH says, 13,271 local cases of COVID-19 have been resolved.

Two students at St. Patrick’s High School have contracted the virus, putting the school on OPH’s outbreak list. Charles H. Hulse Public School is the only other school in the city dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak (three student cases). 

Other outbreaks in the city today (Feb. 18) include 18 healthcare institutions, three childcare centres and six workplaces.

OPH says it knows of 445 active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa.

There are 18 people in local hospitals with the virus – three of whom are in intensive care (ICU). Local hospitals are at 71 per cent ICU capacity, 19 per cent ICU ventilator bed capacity and 95 per cent acute care bed capacity.

Just 1.8 per cent of residents being tested for COVID-19 are seeing positive results over the last week.

The City of Ottawa has administered 40,395 novel coronavirus vaccine doses, after receiving 39,100. The city’s last shipment came in on Feb. 10. Health officials have been able to get more doses from delivered vials than was originally thought possible.

Ontario is reporting 1,038 new cases of COVID-19, Thursday, including eight in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, and none in either the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark district or Renfrew County.

Ford government rejects eviction ban bill

ONTARIO – The Doug Ford led provincial government has voted against an NDP bill that would have extended the temporary ban on evictions until one year after the pandemic is declared over by the chief medical officer of health.

The province moved to temporarily ban evictions while the stay-at-home order came into effect on Jan. 14.

Critics argue thousands of people could potentially be out on the street in a matter of a week, if they can’t pay rent.

NDP MPP Suze Morrison tabled the private members’ bill on Tuesday (Feb. 16), calling it the No COVID Evictions Act which was co-sponsored with NDP MPP Jessica Bell. The bill also included bans on issuing eviction orders and enforcing current evictions would also go into place.

NDP critics argue preventing evictions during the pandemic is not only the right thing to do but also a matter of public health.

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) continued to hear eviction applications and issue orders, but the enforcement of eviction orders was postponed during the emergency order, except in urgent situations – such as for illegal activity. This includes orders issued, but not carried out, before the emergency order came into effect.

As for the province, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark said that the province has done everything it can to support tenants during the pandemic, including working with municipal partners to make sure tenants are housed. But, the federal government needs to step in and offer help as well.

“It’s a situation we’ll continue to monitor,” Clark said. “Since the pandemic, our government has delivered more money to municipalities than ever before, but our government is being shorted by $490-million that I believe the feds owe Ontario.”

The latest pause on residential evictions was the second time the province enacted such measures.

Evictions were previously suspended last spring until August after the Landlord and Tenant Board worked through a backlog of cases that predated the pandemic and grew in 2020 as more people lost income.