Since the first case of the novel coronavirus reached Ontario last year, 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.
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.
March 12: Ontario Premier 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
April 27: 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.
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: 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.
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: Ontario’s state of emergency extended by 28 days but Premier Doug Ford insists that does not mean the province’s reopening will necessarily be put “on hold” during that time.
June 4: Ontario allows short-term rentals to operate including lodges, cabins, cottages, homes and condominiums.
June 6: The total number of cases in Ontario passes 30,000 as the province announces 455 new cases including 68 from a reporting delay. A total of 2,407 Ontarians have now suffered COVID-19-related deaths.
June 6: Ontario extends emergency orders by another 10 days.
June 8: Ontario announces that some regions of the province will enter Stage 2 of its COVID-19 recovery plan. Toronto, Mississauga and Hamilton are among the areas which are excluded.
June 9: Province announces daycares can open the following Friday although few, if any, are able to given the short notice and lengthy set of adjustments needed.
June 11: Province announces “cautious” restart plan to allow visitors back into the province’s long-term care homes beginning June 18.
June 14: Ontario announces it has conducted it has now conducted more than a million tests for the novel coronavirus.
June 15: Province announces that several regions including Durham, York, Hamilton, Sarnia-Lambton and Niagara are allowed to enter into Stage 2 of its recovery plan. Toronto, Peel and Windsor remain in Phase 1 however.
June 17: The Ontario government extends all current emergency orders until June 30 while stating it will review each order on a case-by-case basis to determine if it can be adjusted or lifted.
June 22: Toronto and Peel Region permitted to enter Stage 2 of the province’s recovery plan. Windsor-Essex remains alone in Stage 1.
June 23: Ontario reports first death of someone 19 years old or younger. Province does not indicate the exact age or gender of the deceased or where the person is from in Ontario.
June 24 : Ontario government extends emergency orders until July 15.
June 24: Most of the region of Windsor-Essex will be allowed to move into Stage 2. of Ontario’s recovery plan. Leamington and Kingsville left in Stage 1.
June 30: Ontario reports 157 new cases of the novel, bringing the provincial total to 35,068. The death toll in the province reaches 2,672.
July 1: Province asks school boards to consider starting the school year earlier than normal.
July 6: Ford announces Kingsville and Leamington, Ont., will move to Stage 2 the following day. The entire province is now in Stage 2.
July 9: Ontario government extends emergency orders until July 22.
July 13: Ontario announces some of the province will enter Stage 3 of the second phase of its recovery plan on July 17. The Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Lambton and Windsor-Essex are left in Stage 2.
July 16: The province most emergency orders until July 29. The Ford government claims that by doing so, it will allow the government flexibility to ensure vulnerable populations are protected.
July 24: Hamilton, the regions of York, Durham, Halton and Niagara as well as the counties of Haldimand, Horfolk and Lambton are allowed to enter Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan.
July 29: Ontario government says Toronto and Peel Region can finally move into Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan on July 31.
July 30: Ontario government says come September, elementary students will be in the classroom five days a week while most secondary students will be in at least 50 per cent of the time.
Aug. 9: Ontario reports 79 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 40,046.
Aug. 10: The province gives Windsor-Essex the green light to move into Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan on Aug. 12.
Aug. 14: Ontario government announces it is increasing the number of people indoor sports, fitness and recreation facilities can have, so long as distancing measures are adhered to.
Aug. 20: Ford government announces it is extending the emergency pandemic orders until Sept. 22. The government says the extensions give it the ability to address ongoing risks and effects of the virus and to ensure measures remain in place to protect the population.
Aug. 26: Ontario government releases 21 page document on how to deal with outbreaks in schools as students and staff close on a return to school.
Sept. 8: Health Minister Christine Elliott announces a pause in loosening any more restrictions that have been put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sept. 13: A coronavirus outbreak is declared after three Western University students tested positive on Saturday.
Sept. 15: Ontario reports 251 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 45,068.
Sept. 17: Ford reduces the number of people allowed at private gathering limits to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa. Two days later, they would be expanded across the province.
Sept. 20: Christine Elliott announces the province has conducted more than 40,000 tests in a 24-hour period.
Sept. 23: Ontario government announces pharmacies in select locations will begin offering COVID-19 tests to people who aren’t experiencing symptoms of the virus as part of its fall preparedness plan.
Sept. 25: The province orders strip clubs to close while also ordering restaurants, bars and other food and drink businesses to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m and close between midnight and 5 a.m.
Sept. 25: Pharmacies in the GTA, Huntsville and Ottawa areas begin to offer coronavirus testing to at-risk, asymptomatic people by appointment only.
Sept. 26: Huge crowds take over the Town of Wasaga Beach for a car rally despite provincial gathering restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. Images posted to social media show huge crowds lining the streets and cars performing stunt.
Sept. 27: Western University in London, Ont., says at least 28 of its students have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Sept. 28: Ontario reports 700 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, marking a new record for the most daily infections ever recorded in the province. It breaks the previous high which was established in April. This also pushes the total number of cases past the 50,000 mark.
Sept. 28: Ford says the province is now officially in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sept. 28: Ontario Hospital Association calls on province to return to Phase 2 of its pandemic recovery plan. The OHA says a return to Stage 2 with restrictions on indoor dining, bars, places of worship, weddings, gyms, movie theatres and other non-essential businesses is needed to prevent more cases and to allow schools to remain open.
Sept. 29: Canada signs deal to buy up to 7.9 million rapid coronavirus rapid point of care tests, pending approval from health officials.
Sept. 30: Durham Public Health reports that at least eight people associated with a wedding in Oshawa have COVID-19.
Sept. 30: Ontario health officials say the province could see upwards of 1,000 coronavirus cases a day in October, as the second wave is in full swing.
Oct. 1: Province announces new screening guidelines for daycares and schools which include students only being required to stay home for 24 hours for symptoms such as runny noses.
Oct. 2: Ontario announces province-wide mask policy as well as restrictions on number of patrons in bars, restaurants, nightclubs, Banquet halls, event spaces and gyms.
Oct. 3: New restrictions placed on restaurants, bars, banquet halls and gyms in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region.
Oct. 5: Ford rejects calls for indoor dining to be ordered closed at restaurants in some areas of the province amid rising coronavirus cases, saying there isn’t enough evidence to make such a decision.
Oct. 6: Christopher Saccoccia, also known as Chris Sky, and 34-year-old Jennifer Saccoccia are both charged with failure to comply with an order prohibiting or subjecting to any condition the entry into Canada.
Oct. 6: Ontario reports 548 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 55,362.
Oct. 8: The province reports 797 new cases of the novel coronavirus. The province processed nearly 48,500 tests, is also a new provincial record.
Oct. 9: Ontario is reporting 939 new cases of coronavirus. For the second day in a row, the province reports a record number of news cases.
Oct. 9: New restrictions are put in place for Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa amid rising coronavirus cases including the closure of indoor dining at restaurants and bars, as well as the closure of gyms, casinos, cinemas, and performing arts centres.
Oct. 10: Seven new COVID-19-related deaths are announced, bringing the provincial death toll to 3,004.
Oct. 13: Ontario reports 746 new positive tests for the coronavirus. The total cumulative number of cases reaches 60,692.
Oct. 19: The province reports 704 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 65,075.
Oct. 23: Ontario’s independent commission into long-term care releases early recommendations for the Ford government to implement during the second wave of the pandemic. In addition, it says that during the first wave, 55 per cent of long-term care homes in the province reported an outbreak, while 75 per cent of all deaths were represented by long-term care residents.
Oct. 25: A 21-year-old man dies after being shot in a parking lot outside an east-end LCBO following an argument inside the store. The LCBO employee’s union confirms the dispute was over social distancing.
Oct. 25: Ontario reports over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time. The province announces 1,042 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 70,373.
Oct. 28: GoodLife Fitness sends an email to 175,000 people urging them to lobby Ontario MPPs as the province begins to close them in the wake of a rising tide of new COVID-19 cases.
Oct. 31: Ontario reports 1,015 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases across the province to 75,730.
Nov. 3: The province introduces a new five-tiered, colour-coded system for determining how it will regulate areas when during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following levels were used: Prevent (standard measures — green), protect (strengthened measures — yellow), restrict (intermediate measures — orange), control (stringent measures — red), and lockdown (maximum measures — grey).
Nov. 5: Ontario reports 998 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 80,690.
Nov. 6: The province releases an updated list of which areas are placed in which zones in its new coronavirus system. Peel is alone in the red zone while Ottawa and York Region were placed in the orange zone and several others including Waterloo and Guelph were moved to yellow.
Nov. 9: The province announces1,242 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 85,395.
Nov. 10: It is announced that Toronto will enter the red zone under Ontario’s recently-introduced coronavirus system in the days that follow.
Nov. 12: The province reports 1,575 new cases of coronavirus, a new record and also the first time Ontario has reported more than 1,500 cases in one day.
Nov. 16: Ontario announces 1,487 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 95,496. This is the 11th straight day the province has announced more than 1,000 new cases.
Nov. 18: A day after the provincial government says it is considering a prolonged winter break, it nixes the idea with Lecce saying it is “not necessary” because current protocols are working.
Nov. 18: It is announced that a child and youth worker at a Toronto school has died after contracting COVID-19. The woman worked at St. Francis De Sales Catholic School.
Nov. 20: The Ford government announces it will extend current orders under the Reopening Ontario Act until Dec. 21 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nov. 20: Ontario reports 1,418 new cases of coronavirus, as the province surpasses 100,000 cumulative cases, bringing the provincial total to 100,790.
Nov. 25: Adam Skelly, who owns Adamson Barbecue, is arrested after opening his restaurant for indoor dining, ignoring COVID-19 restrictions put in place by the province.
Dec. 5: Ontario reports 1,859 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 125,385.
Dec. 6: The province announces1,924 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 127,309. This is a record number of new cases and the first time the province has announced more than 1,900 new cases in one day.
Dec. 7: Ford lays out his government’s three-part vaccination rollout plan. Vulnerable seniors, their caregivers, and health-care workers are among those who will get it first
Dec. 8: Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says the province had $12 billion in unspent reserve funds by the end of September.
Dec. 8: Elliott says residents who get a COVID-19 vaccine will be issued proof they received a shot which may be necessary to avoid some restrictions.
Dec. 9: Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is officially approved for use in Canada, with limited rollout set to begin to priority groups “within days.”
Dec. 11: York Region and Windsor-Essex will move into lockdown under Ontario’s COVID-19 colour-coded system, joining Toronto and Peel Region.
Dec. 14: The Ford government announces that COVID-19 tests will no longer be free for people requiring proof of a negative test for international travel destinations.
Dec. 14: Anita Quidangen, a personal support worker, is first to receive Pfizer’s vaccine in Toronto, with four other long-term care workers vaccinated soon after.
Dec. 15: Ontario reported 2,275 new cases of coronavirus, marking a new single-day record. Elliott says the increase in cases is in part due to a lengthened period of data collection.
Dec. 16: Another 43 deaths are reported by the province, raising Ontario’s death toll to 4,035.
Dec. 17: Ontario Hospital Association says it is urging the government to implement a four-week lockdown in every public health unit with an infection rate of 40/100,000 population or higher.
Dec. 18: Ford calls an emergency meeting with health officials from across the province to discuss ways to tackle rising hospitalizations from COVID-19 as infections surge.
Dec. 18: The province reports 2,290 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the provincial total number of COVID-19 cases to 151,257.
Dec. 21: Doug Ford announces a “provincewide shutdown” which will begin on Boxing Day and last for four weeks in southern areas of the province and two weeks in northern areas.
Dec. 26: Ontario confirms Canada’s first known cases of the U.K. coronavirus variant involving a couple from Durham Region who were in contact with a recent traveller from the U.K.
Dec. 26: A province-wide lockdown gets underway with a higher level of restrictions being placed on the southern portion of the province for four weeks while the less populous northern portion of Ontario being shutdown for just two weeks.
Dec. 28: Province announces that a total of 13,200 vaccines have been administered in Ontario. Government says that it cut back on administering doses over holidays to prevent staffing shortages in hospitals and long-term-care homes.
Dec. 29: With the public in an Ontario-wide lockdown, it learns that Finance Minister Rod Phillips is vacationing in St. Barts. Ford would say he became of aware of the Ajax MP’s trip about two weeks earlier but did not push for Phillips to come home.
Dec. 29: The Ontario government says it expects to vaccinate approximately 8.5 million people by the end of June against COVID-19.
Dec. 29: The province reports 2,553 new positive tests for COVID-19, raising the total number of cases in Ontario to 175,908.
Dec. 31: Phillips resigns from his posting after returning from his vacation to the Caribbean in the midst of a pandemic. He remains a backbencher.
Dec. 31: Up to 300 residents of Castleview Wychwood Towers in Toronto become the first to be recieve the Moderna vaccine.
Jan. 2: Ontario reports 3,363 new COVID-19 cases, the most in one day since the pandemic began.
Jan. 4: Anita Quidangen, a health-care worker in Toronto, becomes the first person in Ontario to receive a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Jan. 5: The Ontario government says it is prioritizing long-term care homes in hotspot regions such as Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex for COVID-19 vaccinations as it hopes to vaccinate the workers by Jan. 21.
Jan. 5: News emerges that Dr. Tom Stewart, CEO of St. Joseph’s Health System and a member of the province’s COVID-19 advisory table travelled to the Caribbean over the holidays.
Jan. 6: Ontario government launches a pilot program that will test international travellers returning to the province for COVID-19.
Jan. 6: The province announces 3,266 new positive tests for the coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 200,626.
Jan. 7: Three days after a letter from Lecce is emailed to parents stating that kids will return to elementary school. Four days later, the province does an about face and extends online learning until Jan. 25.
Jan. 7: The province announces it will allow the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators to play home games.
Jan. 8: Tendercare Living Centre in Toronto reports two more deaths bringing the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the long-term care home to 73. In doing so, it now has the dubious distinction of being the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak the province has seen since the pandemic began.
Jan. 8: Toronto hospitals transfer young patients to SickKids hospital to make room for adult COVID-19 patients.
Jan. 9: Lecce announces expanded list of essential workers eligible for free child care while also announcing that students with special needs who cannot learn remotely will be back in the classroom.
Jan. 11: The death toll in the province reaches 5,012 after 29 more deaths are reported.
Jan. 12: Ford announces schools in the province’s COVID-19 hotspot regions (Windsor-Essex, Peel, Toronto, York and Hamilton) will remain closed to in-class instruction until at least Feb. 10. The rest of the province sees closures extended for two weeks while they will wait until Jan. 20 to find out future plans.
Jan. 14: The province issues an emergency alert reminding Ontarians there is a stay-at-home order in effect amid surging coronavirus cases.
Jan. 15: Toronto York-Centre MPP Roman Baber is kicked out of PC Caucus after penning a letter to Ford which says the lockdown should end immediately while saying, “the virus is real but the crisis is mostly in LTC.”
Jan. 15: The Federal government announces that Pfizer will cut its vaccine shipments to Canada in half for four weeks as it works to retool its plant.
Jan. 16: The Ontario government extends the window for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccinations in order to account for Pfizer-BioNtech shipment and delivery delays.