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Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on April 30

Click to play video 'Laundry and dry cleaning company offers free service to health-care professionals during COVID-19' Laundry and dry cleaning company offers free service to health-care professionals during COVID-19
WATCH ABOVE: Quicki Laundry and Dry Cleaning started an initiative called Laundry for Heroes, providing free laundry service to healthcare and long term care workers across the GTA during COVID-19. Susan Hay has the story. (April 29)

Here is a roundup of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Thursday:

459 new coronavirus cases in Ontario, total rises to 16,187 cases with 1,082 deaths

Ontario reported 459 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 16,187 cases.

The death toll has risen to 1,082 as 86 more deaths were reported.

Thursday’s report marks the highest single-day increase in deaths for the province. Tuesday previously saw the highest increase with 59 deaths.

Meanwhile, 10,205 people have recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which is 63 per cent of cases.

Greater Toronto Area public health units account for 59.5 per cent of all cases in the province.

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READ MORE: 459 new coronavirus cases in Ontario, total rises to 16,187 cases with 1,082 deaths

Status of COVID-19 cases in Toronto

City of Toronto officials said as of Thursday morning, there were 5,019 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 532 probable cases.

Of the confirmed and probable cases, there were 111 of the 345 hospitalized Toronto residents were in ICU beds.

To date, officials said 366 Toronto residents have died of COVID-19.

Union says 4 Toronto airport taxi drivers have died due to COVID-19

The union representing Toronto Pearson Airport taxi drivers says four of its members have died due to COVID-19.

Rajinder Aujla, the president of the Airport Taxi Association, said all four drivers died within the last month and a half, including 50-year-old Kamal Dhami. It is unclear where the drivers contracted the virus.

Aujla, who told Global News he knew three of the drivers personally, called the situation “very painful.” He said another driver passed along the virus to his father, who ultimately passed away.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 4 Toronto airport taxi drivers have died due to COVID-19, union says

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2 more residents at north-end Toronto nursing home: facility staff

Staff at Downsview Long-term Care Centre said in a statement on Thursday that two more residents have died after testing positive for coronavirus.

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The deaths bring the total number of residents dead to 10.

The statement also said 50 residents and 42 employees to date have tested positive for coronavirus.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to the residents’ families and friends,” the statement said.

“We will continue to have our pandemic plan in place and to update it as necessary.”

According to the last update by Toronto Public Health, four deaths were linked to COVID-19 and there were 42 resident cases and six staff cases.

Pusateri’s employee tests positive for coronavirus

According to a statement issued by Pusateri’s on Thursday, a supervisor at the company’s head office tested positive for coronavirus.

The statement said the employee had “limited interaction with customers and team members.” The company said it received the notification on Wednesday.

“They felt unwell on [April 24} and left work that morning. They have not visited a Pusateri’s store since that time,” the statement said.

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The confirmation marks the company’s first publicly confirmed COVID-19 case.

City of Toronto begins to move homeless people into apartments

TORONTO — The City of Toronto says it is moving some people living in tents into apartment buildings as part of its effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the city’s homeless population.

Encampments have sprouted up across the city as those living in shelters have taken to the outdoors during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: City of Toronto begins moving some homeless people into apartments

Toronto hospital creates alternative to N95 masks

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre staff say an alternative to the N95 mask has been developed by using a modified full-face snorkel mask for health-care workers to potentially use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospital staff told Global News Radio 640 Toronto the alternative mask was developed due to a limited supply of N95 masks in the world and the coronavirus outbreak still going strong.

“This is an unprecedented time that is highlighting the need for innovative solutions to the challenges health-care workers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Brian Courtney, a cardiologist, engineer and scientist at Sunnybrook.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Toronto hospital creates alternative to N95 using snorkel masks

Toronto city council extends emergency declaration during first virtual meeting

During its first-ever virtual meeting on Thursday, Toronto city council unanimously extended Mayor John Tory’s municipal emergency declaration.

The motion extends the declaration until “the municipal emergency has ended,” based on the advice of Toronto’s medical officer of health and the City’s emergency management office.

“This includes extending the new physical distancing emergency bylaws, to retain physical distancing regulations in parks and public squares for the duration of the COVID-19 municipal emergency,” City officials said in a statement on Thursday.

“The declaration of a municipal emergency is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and this extension will ensure the municipal government can continue to respond quickly to the emergency, administer other necessary City business, plan for recovery and focus on protecting the health of all residents.”

READ MORE: Toronto city council meets virtually for first time in history due to coronavirus

Ontario government releases guidelines for businesses to reopen safely

TORONTO – Ontario is not yet setting dates for restarting the economy, but today the province is providing guidelines to businesses for how to reopen safely, including ground markings for physical distancing and installing plexiglass barriers.

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Premier Doug Ford says Ontario has made “tremendous progress” in flattening the curve, and as soon as it is safe to start reopening, he will do so as quickly as possible.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario government releases guidelines for businesses to reopen safely

TTC, GO Transit hold parade at Toronto’s hospital row

TTC and GO Transit staff held an appreciation parade in front of the hospitals on University Avenue Thursday evening.

“The initiative was developed at the grassroots by employees from the two transit agencies who wanted to express their gratitude to health-care workers,” TTC staff said in a statement before the event.

GO Transit employees drive down University Avenue on Thursday as part of an appreciation parade to thank frontline health-care workers responding to COVID-19.
GO Transit employees drive down University Avenue on Thursday as part of an appreciation parade to thank frontline health-care workers responding to COVID-19. James Davidson / Global News
TTC employees drive down University Avenue on Thursday as part of an appreciation parade to thank frontline health-care workers responding to COVID-19.
TTC employees drive down University Avenue on Thursday as part of an appreciation parade to thank frontline health-care workers responding to COVID-19. James Davidson / Global News

With files from The Canadian Press

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