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A timeline of the novel coronavirus in Ontario

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Since the first case of the novel coronavirus reached Ontario just a few months ago, the infection has spread like wildfire.

Thousands have become ill across the province while hundreds have suffered COVID-19-related deaths as well.

READ MORE: Live updates — Coronavirus in Canada

What follows is a timeline of major events since the outbreak began:

Jan. 25: The first presumptive case is reported in Ontario (and Canada) when a man in his 50s, who came from Wuhan, China, feels minor symptoms. He then calls 911 and is placed in isolation at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. His wife becomes the second case and begins self-isolating the following day. The man’s illness is officially confirmed two days later.

Ford has ‘all the confidence in the world’ in Ontario health officials as 1st case of coronavirus reported
Ford has ‘all the confidence in the world’ in Ontario health officials as 1st case of coronavirus reported

Jan. 31: Ontario’s third case of the new coronavirus is confirmed involving a London university student in her 20s who had travelled to China. She initially tested negative for the virus, but a subsequent test at the national lab in Winnipeg came back positive.

Feb. 12: Ontario health officials clear the London woman of the novel coronavirus. She becomes the first case to be resolved in Ontario (and Canada).

Feb. 26: Ontario announces a fifth diagnosis in the province: a woman in her 60s who recently travelled to Iran. Her husband catches the virus from her, becoming the first case of human-to-human transmission in the province.

March 11: A 77-year-old Barrie man dies, becoming Ontario’s first death attributed to COVID-19. He tested positive for the virus after coming in close contact with another positive case.

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March 12: Doug Ford announces that publicly funded schools across the province will be closed for two weeks following March break. While announcing the decision, the Ontario premier also tells families to “travel” and “have fun” on March break. Ontario also announces 17 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 59.

March 14: Canadians who are out of the country are strongly urged by the federal government to return home as “new restrictions may be imposed with little warning.” Previously, the feds had urged Canadians to cancel or postpone non-essential trips.

Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential travel
Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential travel

March 16: The province recommends the closure of all recreation programs, libraries, private schools, daycares, and churches and other faith settings, as well as bars and restaurants, except those that offer takeout or delivery.

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March 17: Ford declares a state of emergency in Ontario while ordering some business to be closed, including daycares, bars and restaurants, theatres and private schools.

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario declares state of emergency over COVID-19
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario declares state of emergency over COVID-19

March 18: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces an agreement between Canada and the U.S. restricting all non-essential travel across the border.

March 19: A 51-year-old Milton man becomes the second person to die of COVID-19 in Ontario. It is believed he caught the virus through local transmission.

March 19: The Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks shutters provincial parks until April 30 to protect the health of employees and visitors.

March 19: Ontario health officials say there are 43 new cases of the novel coronavirus. The provincial total now jumps to 250 active cases.

March 20: An outbreak is declared at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon. By April 9, 29 residents, along with a spouse of a resident, would die of COVID-19 complications. The scene would be repeated at long-term care homes across the province.

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March 23: Ford orders the closure of all non-essential businesses across the province for 14 days. Some are surprised when the list of businesses to close does not include liquor stores, construction projects and realty services.

March 24: Ontario health officials confirm 85 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths, bringing the provincial total to 572 active cases. Eight people have died from the virus, while eight others have been cleared.

March 27: The Ford government issues an emergency alert to people’s phones in an attempt to warn recent travellers to self-isolate for 14 days.

Ontario issues province-wide emergency alert
Ontario issues province-wide emergency alert

March 30: The province orders the shutdown of all outdoor amenities while also extending the emergency order through April 12.

March 31: The province announces that Ontario schools will remain closed until at least May.

April 3: The province releases its first projections, saying there could be just under 1,600 COVID-19 deaths and 80,000 cases by the end of April if the current measures in place are upheld. The province also extends the list of non-essential businesses that must close, including non-critical industrial construction projects. Metrolinx, which manages transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, announces further reduced service for GO Transit after a 90 per cent drop in ridership.

April 6: The first COVID-19 case surfaces in a northwestern Ontario Indigenous community, prompting calls for a military hospital to be set up.

April 8: Ontario reports 550 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 21 more deaths, bringing the provincial totals to 5,276 cases and 174 deaths. Provincial officials also report that 2,074 patients have recovered from the virus.

Coronavirus outbreak: Doug Ford designates Easter Bunny’s work as “essential service”
Coronavirus outbreak: Doug Ford designates Easter Bunny’s work as “essential service”

April 8: Ontario orders grocery stores and pharmacies to be closed on Friday and Sunday of the holiday weekend across the province in an effort to ensure employees get a breather.

April 14: Ontario extends the state of emergency for another four weeks and pledges further resources to long-term care homes, which have become the epicentre of the crisis in the province.

April 18: Provincial officials report 485 new cases and 36 new deaths, bringing provincial totals to 10,010 and 514, respectively.

Coronavirus outbreak: Doug Ford gets choked up, says ‘we can do better’ in COVID-19 fight
Coronavirus outbreak: Doug Ford gets choked up, says ‘we can do better’ in COVID-19 fight

April 20: The Ontario government releases the latest modelling, which shows that community spread may have peaked across the province, but officials also warn that numbers continue to grow in long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings.

April 23: Doug Ford confirms his mother-in-law, who is a resident of a Toronto long-term care home, has tested positive for COVID-19.

April 26: Education Minister Stephen Lecce announces that publicly funded schools will be closed until at least May 31.

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario extends closures for publicly-funded schools until May 31
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario extends closures for publicly-funded schools until May 31

April 27: Doug Ford provides the framework in which he will reopen the province although he does not commit  to a date for when it will get underway.

April 28: Ontario reports 525 new cases of the novel coronavirus bringing the provincial total to 15,381 cases. A total of 8,964 people have also recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which is 58.3 per cent of cases.

May 1: Ontario government announces that some seasonal businesses (including nurseries) and some essential construction projects can open on May 4 if they follow strict guidelines.

May 6:  Emergency orders are extended by the province for the third time. They will now continue until May 19, which will extend them past Victoria Day weekend.

May 6: Ontario government announces that beginning on May 9, it will allow garden centres and nurseries to open. A day later, hardware and safety supply stores can open. The following Monday, retail stores with a street entrance will be allowed to provide curbside pick up and delivery only.
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to begin reopening provincial parks, conservation reserves for day use
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to begin reopening provincial parks, conservation reserves for day use
May 9: Province announces that beginning on May 11, residents are allowed to walk, hike, bike and bird watch in provincial parks. Camping and access to beaches will remain closed.May 10: Ontario reports 294 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 20,238. The 294 cases are the lowest increase daily increase announced since March 31.May 14: Doug Ford provides details on the province’s first stage of its “Phase 2: Restart.” Some businesses are allowed to open on May 16 including campgrounds, marinas and golf courses. A lengthy list of other businesses will be allowed to get underway the following Tuesday.May 19: The Ontario government says an in-class school year will not be able to recommence during the coronavirus pandemic, however, online learning will continue.May 23: Ontario reports 412 new cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 25,040.May 23: Thousands of people gather in Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto drawing condemnation and scorn from elected officials and city staff.
Ontario’s warm weather brings out crowds and complacency
Ontario’s warm weather brings out crowds and complacency
May 26: Canadian Armed Forces teams deployed to five of the province’s worst-hit long-term care homes to help control COVID-19 raise concerns about each facility, describing the care as ranging from below best practices to “borderline abusive, if not abusive” and worse, documents obtained by Global News show.May 27: Ontario government says it is extending all current emergency orders until June 9.May 27: Province announces that chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists, optometrists, homeopaths and psychologists can see patients once each profession gets the go-ahead and receives guidelines from each respective governing authority.June 1: New rules come into effect at Pearson Airport in Mississauga which include mandatory face masks and the barring of “meeters and greeters” from inside its terminals.June 2: