Here is a roundup of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Wednesday:
347 new coronavirus cases in Ontario, total reaches 15,728 cases with 996 deaths
Ontario reported 347 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, the lowest single-day increase in more than three weeks, bringing the provincial total to 15,728 cases.
The death toll has risen to 996 as 45 more deaths were reported.
Meanwhile, 9,612 people have recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which is 61.1 per cent of cases.
Wednesday’s report marks a 2.3 per cent increase in cases compared to the day prior. Ontario has not seen a single-day jump in the 300s since April 7.
Greater Toronto Area public health units account for 59.2 per cent of all cases in the province.
Status of COVID-19 cases in Toronto
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, said as of Wednesday afternoon, there were 4,845 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 515 probable cases.
Of the confirmed and probable cases, she said 111 of the 354 hospitalized Toronto residents were in ICU beds.
To date, de Villa said 347 Toronto residents have died from COVID-19.
Meighen Manor, long-term care home, reports total of 97 COVID-19 cases, 30 deaths
The Salvation Army Isabel and Arthur Meighen Manor, a long-term care home in Toronto, has confirmed that 70 residents and 27 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus.
In a statement, Executive Director Julie Wong said all residents remain isolated in their rooms where possible and staff are self-isolating at home.
Since the start of the outbreak, 30 residents have died.
“Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with the family members who have lost their loved ones. We would like to continue to reassure you that the wellbeing of your family members under our care is of the utmost importance,” Wong said.
The statement also noted that a team of fully trained Salvation Army officers joined staff at Meighen Manor on Saturday to offer additional support.
More residents at north-end Toronto nursing home die of COVID-19, executive director says
Gale Coburn, executive director of Hawthorne Place Care Centre, told Global News in a statement Wednesday evening that 20 residents have died of COVID-19 to date.
“These losses will leave a lasting mark on our home and I’d like to extend my deepest sympathies to the residents’ families, friends and loved ones,” she wrote.
“Public Health has tested each resident at Hawthorne Place Care Centre and 44 residents are confirmed as COVID-19 positive. A handful of our residents are in the process of being retested to ensure we have a fulsome understanding of the outbreak in our home.
“As directed and encouraged by Public Health, our staff continue to undergo testing. To date, 71 staff members are confirmed as COVID-19 positive and 40 test results are pending.”
According to the last update by Toronto Public Health (TPH), three deaths have been linked to COVID-19 and there are 68 resident cases and 17 staff cases.
Coburn also praised the arrival of 28 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members.
“The orientation sessions have concluded, and a number of our new colleagues helped staff with an additional deep cleaning of the home today,” she wrote.
“The CAF’s support and reinforcements have signalled a positive shift in our home’s fight against COVID-19 and I am grateful for the increased staff support.”
Coburn went on to reiterate the facility is following “all mandated protocols” in consultation with public health.
“Residents are isolated to their rooms and are monitored for symptoms twice per day. All staff members, including recently onboarded CAF staff, are screened at the beginning and end of their shifts, and they are wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment as directed by public health,” she said.
“The support that we’ve received from the CAF, the province, and our health system partners has been further supplemented with incredible generosity from our community. Thank you to families and local businesses for donating meals and sharing words of encouragement.”
Toronto long-term care home reports more deaths, cases
Downsview Long Term Care Centre confirmed on Wednesday that four more residents have died due to COVID-19.
“We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the residents’ families and friends,” a statement from the home read.
A total of 50 residents and 31 employees have tested positive for coronavirus. Those residents affected are currently in isolation, the home said.
2nd Ontario personal support worker dies due to COVID-19
A personal support worker in the Peel Region has died of COVID-19, according to a statement by the Services Employees International Union Healthcare (SEIU Healthcare) on Wednesday.
The worker was identified by a SEIU Healthcare spokesperson as 51-year-old Arlene Reid.
Her death marks the second publicly known support worker who has died in Ontario since the pandemic began.
Toronto beings fence installation around cherry trees in the city
Fences have been installed around the Cherry Blossoms in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods in an effort to keep up with social distancing and deter people from coming to the park amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor John Tory announced on April 22 that areas of parks with cherry trees would be closed off and that High Park would be closed entirely during the pre-bloom and blooming period.
He said the decisions were made to keep people safe as the city still grapples with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Toronto City Council to meet virtually
City councillors will use an online video conferencing platform while the public can watch a livestream of the meeting.
More stunt driving, less collisions in Toronto: police
Toronto police say there have been 222 incidents of stunt driving in the city between March 23 and April 27. That’s compared to just 32 incidents during the same time in 2019.
Meanwhile, collisions in the city are down during that period. There have been 1,535 crashes, compared to 7,309 last year.
Brampton Animal Services goes virtual to help those interested in adoption, fostering
Brampton Animal Services (BAS) says it has introduced a new virtual system in order to help people who want to adopt or foster a pet amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Those interested can set up an video call appointment with a staff members where they can see and interact with animals that are up for adoption.
250 supportive modular housing units to be built for Toronto’s homeless
The City of Toronto has announced it will be spending $47.5 million to build 250 supportive modular housing units as part of a pilot project to help those who are homeless.
Officials said two three-storey buildings with 110 units each will be erected by Horizon North on a City-owned site by September. The second phase will see 140 units built at a second City-owned site by April 2021.
“I believe supportive housing is one of the best ways in which we can help people to move from homelessness into permanent housing, but you need the spaces built,” Tory said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
“Modular housing is our best option to get good-quality units built in weeks not years. I believed this before the pandemic, but given the crisis the need for more supportive housing delivered as fast as possible has become even clearer.”
Interim housing setup for those who are living in Toronto encampments
The City of Toronto has announced two vacant midtown apartment buildings owned by the Times Group are going to be used as interim housing for those who are living in encampments.
The announcement comes after Toronto suspended dismantling encampments during the coronavirus pandemic.
In total there will be 125 furnished units and the units will be available for up to six months.
“Access to units will be prioritized for clients who are chronically homeless and identified as having a higher risk to COVID-19, and in encampment sites that are located in areas that lack sanitary and food resources and present health and safety concerns to them and the general public,” a statement released on Wednesday said.
“The goal of this innovative new program is to provide a safe space for clients who are sleeping outdoors that is conducive to physical distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”
Ontario expands list of workers eligible for free child care
The Ontario government has expanded its list of essential workers eligible for free child care amid the pandemic.
The list now includes those working in the food supply chain, retirement homes, grocery stores, pharmacies, and more federal employees, including those in the military.
“While our frontline workers are looking after us, we need to make sure we’re looking after them and their families,” Premier Doug Ford said in a news release Wednesday.
Toronto Blue Jays ticket refunds, credits being offered
The Toronto Blue Jays are offering ticket refunds or account credits for all games cancelled up until May 31.
“Purchasers of season ticket memberships, ticket packs, group tickets, and executive suite licences will receive an account credit with the option to obtain a refund while fans with single-game tickets can request a refund through their Ticketmaster account. Fans who purchased tickets from a secondary site should reach out to the company’s customer service department,” the team announced on Wednesday.
“The Blue Jays would like to thank fans for their incredible support and patience during this difficult time. The club will continue to communicate updates about the 2020 schedule as they become available.”
—With files from The Canadian PressView link »