Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Friday:
Status of COVID-19 cases in Toronto
According to the most recent data on the Toronto Public Health (TPH) website Friday evening, there were 384 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 since the day before. There were 16,672 resolved cases of COVID-19 as of Friday. TPH also reported 1,262 residents in Toronto, to date, have died after contracting the virus.
The City said there are currently 72 residents in Toronto hospitals.
Toronto Public Health calls for indoor dining, indoor gym class restrictions
In response to continued increases in the number of people in Toronto testing positive for coronavirus, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa is calling for temporary stricter measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The city (is) at risk of experiencing exponential growth of COVID-19 infections,” a City of Toronto statement issued Friday afternoon said, noting the seven-day moving average of cases increased almost six times in September.
De Villa called on the province to prohibit indoor dining in the city and to cancel indoor gym classes, among other measures.
TDSB sees teacher resignations for some elementary virtual classes
The Toronto District School Board says some of its elementary school virtual classes are once again unstaffed after an unspecified number of resignations.
“Earlier this week, all English classrooms had been assigned a teacher. Unfortunately, a small number of classrooms are once again without a teacher in place due to resignations,” a statement issued by the TDSB on Friday said.
“In these cases, we are working to replace the teacher.”
In total, the board said 94 per cent of students (approximately 56,000) are in classes with teachers.
The TDSB also reported a shortage of French language teachers for French immersion classes.
CN Tower temporarily closing in response to COVID-19
CN Tower officials say the downtown Toronto tourist attraction will be suspending operations “to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and hopefully help flatten the curve.”
“The health and safety of our staff and guests is our priority,” a statement posted on Twitter said, apologizing for the closure.
“We look forward to welcoming guests back to the Tower as soon as public health authorities and Canada Lands Company determine that it is safe to do so.”
For anyone with tickets who has questions, they were asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Etobicoke Beer Store employee tests positive for coronavirus
An employee at an Etobicoke Beer Store (1735 Kipling Ave.) has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement issued on behalf of the corporation.
The statement said the store will reopen Sunday afternoon.
An unconfirmed number of employees who were potentially affected are being required to enter self-isolation and watch for symptoms.
Toronto Santa Claus Parade to be a televised special
The organizers of the 116th Santa Claus Parade in Toronto say the Christmas marking event will be converted into a live two hour televised special due to the COVID-19 pandemic — a change from children and parents crowded along sidewalks waiting to see Santa.
“Despite the ongoing pandemic, we’ve found a way to make sure Santa Claus is still coming to town. I am pleased that this tradition will continue in a way that families can safely enjoy,” Mayor John Tory said.
The televised special will include magical appearances of Santa and Mrs. Claus and 20 colourful floats that viewers — in the comfort of their homes — will be able to see up-close “unlike ever before,” the organizers said. There will also be musical guests, bands, celebrity appearances and traditional Christmas songs.
Ontario announces provincewide mask policy, localized restrictions
Amid an ongoing spike in coronavirus cases, Ontario has announced a provincewide mask policy and new restrictions targeting “hotspot areas.”
Masks will now be mandatory throughout the province in all indoor public areas, on transit, and in workplaces where physical distancing isn’t possible, effective at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Premier Doug Ford announced during a press conference Friday.
Ford also announced restrictions targeting “hotspot areas” — Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region.
732 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario
The province is reporting its highest case count ever recorded (the previous was Monday’s at 700 new infections). However, Ontario Health Minister Christine said “due to a data review at Toronto, a number of cases and deaths that occurred in the spring or summer are being reported today.”
Toronto Public Health later told Global News that 73 of the cases are from the spring and summer.
Ontario is also reporting two new recent deaths, though due to “data remediation” 74 more deaths from over the spring and summer are also being added. The death toll in the province now stands at 2,927.
According to Friday’s provincial report, 323 new cases were recorded in Toronto, 111 in Peel Region, 38 in York Region and 34 in Durham Region.
The province processed nearly 40,100 tests in the last 24 hours. Around 1.8 per cent of processed tests were positive for coronavirus.
Ontario child care centres and schools
Meanwhile, government figures show there have been a total of 484 school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario — 263 among students and 84 among staff (137 individuals were not identified). This is an increase of 37 more cases from the previous day.
The COVID-19 cases are currently from 318 out of 4,828 schools in the province. Many GTA school boards have positive cases.
Three schools in Ontario are currently closed as a result of positive cases, the government indicated.
There have been a total of 156 confirmed cases within child care centres and homes — an increase of 12 more since the previous day.
Ontario long-term care homes
According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 1,870 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is an increase of one death from the previous day. There are 44 current outbreaks in homes, down by hour from the day prior. Eight health-care workers and staff in long-term care homes have died.
The ministry also indicated there are currently 96 active cases among long-term care residents and 137 active cases among staff.View link »