Here is a roundup of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Thursday:
Status of COVID-19 cases in Toronto
According to the most recent data on the Toronto Public Health (TPH) website Thursday evening, there were 191 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 since the day before. There were 15,624 resolved cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday. TPH also reported 1,178 people to date have died after contracting the virus.
The City said there are currently 41 residents in Toronto hospitals.
Toronto kindergarten class asked to self-isolate after positive case
The Toronto District School Board says an entire kindergarten class has been asked to self-isolate as a result of a staff member who tested positive for coronavirus.
The TDSB said 26 children, one teacher and an early childhood educator are in isolation.
Up to seven classes may have had contact with the sick staff member. However, only one class has been required to self-isolate.
The entire school has been notified and the board is working closely with Toronto Public Health, the TDSB said.
TDSB makes progress in hiring teachers as demand for online learning rises
The Toronto District School Board says it is making progress in hiring teachers to accommodate the rising demand for online learning.
“While the teacher numbers are changing on an hourly basis, the most recent information available indicates that approximately 400 teachers have been hired since the beginning of the week with fewer than 100 remaining,” the board announced in an update on Thursday.
“We anticipate these remaining positions will be filled over the next few days. All teachers are provided with Brightspace training once hired, which takes two days to complete and means that they will be online and leading the remaining virtual classrooms next week.”
The news comes after the board announced delays in rolling out its platform to accommodate students.
Ontario reports 409 new coronavirus cases
Ontario is reporting 409 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 48,496.
According to Thursday’s provincial report, 151 new cases were recorded in Toronto, 46 in Peel Region, 34 in York Region, 12 in Durham Region and 11 in Halton Region.
More than 30,600 tests were processed in the last 24 hours. Sixty-three per cent of Thursday’s cases are people under the age of 40.
Ontario reported one more death and 286 more resolved cases.
Ontario child care centres and schools
Meanwhile, government figures show there have been a total of 210 school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario — 101 among students and 40 among staff (69 individuals were not identified). This is an increase of 31 more cases since the previous day.
The COVID-19 cases are currently from 178 out of 4,828 schools in the province.
Affected schools are in Toronto, Oakville, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Orangeville, Aurora, Milton, Tottenham, Waterloo, Cambridge, Kitchener, Brantford, Welland, Ancaster, Balmertown, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, Barrie, Orillia, Huntsville, Amherstburg, Thornhill, Maple, Woodbridge, Vaughan, Markham, London, Windsor, Embrun, Orleans, Nepean, Rockland, Ottawa, Kemptville, Kingsville, Elmira, Thunder Bay and Pembroke.
Two schools in Ontario are closed as a result of positive cases, the government indicated.
There have been a total of 107 confirmed cases within child care centres and homes — an increase of three more since the previous day.
Staff member of Premier Doug Ford’s tour team tests positive for coronavirus
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says a junior member of his tour team has tested positive for coronavirus.
Ford posted the news on his Twitter account Thursday morning.
“I had no close contact or prolonged exposure to them and will therefore closely monitor my symptoms and take appropriate action as needed,” Ford said in his tweet.
Group of doctors calls for more restrictions
A group of Ontario doctors is calling on the provincial government to implement stronger restrictions amid a recent rise in coronavirus cases in the province.
In a statement issued by the Ontario Hospital Association Thursday on behalf of 38 health-care professionals, the doctors said they want the government to restrict “non-essential businesses and activities that facilitate social gatherings and increase opportunities for exposure.”
They’re calling for new measures to be implemented for indoor dining at restaurants and bars, as well as operations at nightclubs, theatres, gyms, and places of worship.
Low-risk, asymptomatic people shouldn’t get tests: health officials
Ontario health officials say low-risk individuals who are asymptomatic should not be going to assessment centres for a COVID-19 test.
Associate chief medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says that testing needs to be reserved for people with symptoms, or those who have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Previously, the province had encouraged anyone who wanted to get a COVID-19 test to seek one at an assessment centre.
— With files from The Canadian Press