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Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Jan. 6

Click to play video 'Hospitals ramp down surgeries at University Health Network in Toronto because of COVID-19' Hospitals ramp down surgeries at University Health Network in Toronto because of COVID-19
WATCH ABOVE: Surgeons say early ramp-down procedures are happening at hospitals in Toronto within the University Health Network, meaning some procedures could be delayed. – Jan 5, 2021

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Wednesday.

Nurse from Mississauga nursing home dies from COVID-19

Maureen Ambersley, a registered practical nurse, has died after contracting COVID-19, the union that represents more than 60,000 Ontario healthcare workers said.

SEIU Healthcare said Ambersley worked at an Extendicare nursing home in Mississauga. The union said she was a nurse for 16 years.

Ambersley passed away on Tuesday and was 57 years old. She leaves behind two children and her parents, the union said.

Read more: Nurse from Mississauga nursing home dies after contracting COVID-19

Free COVID-19 testing program launches at Toronto Pearson Airport for international travellers

The Ontario government said it is launching a pilot program starting Wednesday that will test international travellers returning to the province for COVID-19 at Toronto Pearson International Airport as a way to identify and stop the spread of the virus.

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The announcement comes as the federal government’s regulations requiring incoming travellers to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours come into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Jan. 7.

Regardless if a person tests negative for the test at the airport, international travellers will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days as part of the federal mandatory quarantine.

Read more: Free COVID-19 testing program launches at Toronto Pearson Airport for international travellers

4 employees at St. Lawrence Market test positive

City of Toronto officials say four employees who work at the St. Lawrence Market have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The employees last worked at the market on Dec. 24, 26 and 31, a news release issued Wednesday said.

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“The City is advising the public of these cases in the interest of transparency,” the release said.

“The risk to the general public is low, as the interactions with employees with infections would have been brief (lasting one to two minutes), while employees and patrons were wearing masks and maintaining physical distance as much as possible.”

All close contacts have seen been notified, officials said.

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28 employees working on Eglinton LRT test positive

Officials say over two dozen employees who are working on the Eglinton LRT project have tested positive for the novel coronavirus within the past two weeks.

A statement from Crosslinx, a design and construction consortium for the LRT project, said 28 employees and subcontractors at eight sites have tested positive.

The statement said it’s believed 17 of the 28 cases were acquired in the community, 10 at work, and one is still to be determined.

Around 70 workers are in self-isolation because of potential exposure.

Crosslinx said at any given time, there are around 1,500 people working on the project’s various sites.

Ontario is consulting medical experts on return to in-class learning, Doug Ford says

Premier Doug Ford says he is going to consult with the province’s medical experts on whether students should return to schools next week.

He says the government will be making an announcement on the issue in the coming days.

Read more: Ontario is consulting medical experts on return to in-class learning, Doug Ford says

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Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported a total of 3,266 new cases on Wednesday.

Of those:

  • 805 were in Toronto
  • 523 were in Peel Region
  • 349 were in York Region
  • 145 were in Durham Region
  • 100 were in Halton Region

Ontario’s total coronavirus caseload surpasses 200,000 after 3,266 new cases reported

Ontario is reporting 3,266 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the provincial total to 200,626.

The province first reached 100,000 total cumulative cases on Nov. 20, 2020, seven months after the pandemic was declared in mid-March. In just a month and a half, Ontario accumulated another 100,000 reported infections, surpassing 200,000.

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The death toll in the province has risen to 4,767 as 37 more deaths were reported.

Resolved cases increased by 3,005 from the previous day. The government said 51,045 tests were processed in the last 24 hours.

Read more: Ontario’s total coronavirus caseload surpasses 200,000 after 3,266 new cases reported

Ontario long-term care homes

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 2,877 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is an increase of 47 deaths. A discrepancy in deaths reported by the ministry and the provincial daily death count can be the result of when data is updated and pulled.

Two more deaths among staff in long-term care homes were reported as the provincial total increased to 10 from eight. The staff death total had remained at eight for the last several months.

There are 220 current outbreaks in homes, an increase of four from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 1,180 active cases among long-term care residents and 1,162 active cases among staff — up by 83 cases and up by 61 cases, respectively, in the last day.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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