Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Thursday.
Cleaner at Etobicoke General Hospital dies of COVID-19
A 54-year-old man who worked as a cleaner at Etobicoke General Hospital has become the latest worker in an Ontario health care setting to die of COVID-19.
Michael Hurley, president of Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, told Global News he worked at the hospital for almost three years. He said the man’s death marks the 19th person who died of the virus since the start of the pandemic.
Hurley said the man was “very well-respected and well-loved” by his colleagues.
Toronto experiences record population loss as more move away from city amid COVID-19 pandemic
Toronto has experienced a slower population growth as people choose to move away from the city amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to Statistics Canada.
As a whole, Statistics Canada said Canadians are choosing to move away from the country’s largest urban city centres and are setting up their homes in more suburban areas. The numbers being used by Statistics Canada are from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020.
Personal health, being able to work remotely and high cost of living are some of the most notables reasons as to why people are choosing to move outside of Toronto.
Toronto’s 2021 budget will rely heavily on federal, provincial aid amid COVID-19 pandemic
Toronto’s finances will continue to rely heavily on federal and provincial government for its 2021 budget and beyond, with $1.6 billion needed for supports this year.
The launch of Toronto’s budget process on Thursday came with a warning from the city’s budget chief that this will be among the hardest financial years in Toronto’s history.
Toronto’s $13.95 billion operating and rate supported budget will rely on $1.6 billion in federal and provincial supports. Chief Financial Officer Heather Taylor said $740 million has already been secured.
Stay-at-home emergency alert sent to Ontarians
The Ontario government has issued an emergency alert reminding Ontarians there is a stay-at-home order in effect amid surging coronavirus cases.
The alert was sent just after 10 a.m. Thursday through the Alert Ready broadcast system to all cellphones or devices connected to cellular networks as well as on broadcast to all TVs and radio stations.
The message read: “A stay-at-home order is in effect. Only leave home for essential purposes such as food, healthcare, exercise or work. It’s the law. Stay home, stay safe, save lives. Learn more at Ontario.ca/covidresponse.”
Ontario pauses enforcement of residential evictions
The Ontario government has issued a pause on the enforcement of residential evictions after the province’s stay-at-home order took effect Thursday.
In a news release, government officials said the Landlord and Tenant Board will continue to hear eviction applications and issue orders, but enforcement is paused as long as the emergency order is in place, except in “urgent situations” such as those involving illegal activity.
Officials said this includes evictions that were issued but not enforced prior to the order taking effect.
No severe adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines reported in Ontario thus far
Ontario health officials say there have been no serious adverse effects reported from COVID-19 vaccines administered in the province thus far.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon at Queen’s Park, officials said that from Dec. 13 to Jan. 9, 21 “significant” but non-severe “adverse events” were reported, none of which involved people requiring hospitalization.
That’s out of around 113,000 doses administered in that period of time.
Ontario to conduct weekend big-box store inspection blitz
Ontario labour inspectors will conduct a weekend inspection blitz of big-box stores to enforce public health rules.
The province’s labour minister says 50 inspectors will visit stores in Toronto, Hamilton, Peel Region, York Region and Durham Region.
Status of cases in the GTA
Ontario reported a total of 3,326 new cases on Thursday.
- 968 were in Toronto
- 572 were in Peel Region
- 357 were in York Region
- 93 were in Durham Region
- 85 were in Halton Region
Ontario reports 3,326 new COVID-19 cases and 62 more deaths
Ontario is reporting 3,326 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 228,310.
The death toll in the province has risen to 5,189, after 62 more deaths were reported.
Resolved cases increased by 3,593 from the previous day. The government said 71,169 tests were processed in the last 24 hours.
Ontario long-term care homes
According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,063 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which is an increase of 34 deaths. Ten virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.
There are 244 current outbreaks in homes, a decrease of five from the previous day.
The ministry also indicated there are currently 1,603 active cases among long-term care residents and 1,297 active cases among staff — up by 61 cases and up by 19 cases, respectively, in the last day.
— With files from Matthew Bingley and The Canadian PressView link »