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Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Jan. 16

Click to play video 'Toronto MPP ousted from PC caucus for letter calling for end of coronavirus lockdown' Toronto MPP ousted from PC caucus for letter calling for end of coronavirus lockdown
WATCH ABOVE: A Toronto MPP has been kicked out of the PC caucus after sending an open letter to the premier that claimed the lockdown was deadlier than COVID-19. – Jan 15, 2021

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

Ontario extends window to administer 2nd Pfizer vaccine doses

The Ontario government is extending the window for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccinations in order to account for Pfizer-BioNtech shipment and delivery delays.

Long-term care residents, staff and essential caregivers who have received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine will now receive their second dose within 21 to 27 days, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said in a release. Everyone else will receive their second dose after 21 days and before 42 days.

Read more: Ontario extends window to administer 2nd Pfizer vaccine doses

Ontario extends orders under Reopening Ontario Act

The Ontario government has extended most orders under the Reopening Ontario Act for 30 days.

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“Extending these orders ensures the necessary tools remain in place to help respond to the disturbing increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths, and provide safeguards for Ontarians, especially our vulnerable populations,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the government also declared a state of emergency — the second since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Inspection blitz underway at big-box stores

An inspection blitz of big-box stores was set to begin Saturday.

The province said earlier this week it would send 50 inspectors to stores in five regions — Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, York and Durham.

Read more: Coronavirus: Ontario conducting inspection blitz on big-box stores this weekend

Click to play video 'Inspectors and police prepare for weekend inspection blitz at big box stores in Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton and Durham' Inspectors and police prepare for weekend inspection blitz at big box stores in Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton and Durham
Inspectors and police prepare for weekend inspection blitz at big box stores in Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton and Durham – Jan 15, 2021

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported a total of 3,056 new cases on Saturday.

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Of those:

  • 903 were in Toronto
  • 639 were in Peel Region
  • 283 were in York Region
  • 162 were in Durham Region
  • 61 were in Halton Region

Ontario reports more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases, 51 deaths

With 3,056 new cases, the total caseload in the province now stands at 234,364.

Fifty-one additional deaths were also announced, bringing the provincial death toll to 5,340.

A total of 73,875 additional tests were completed. Ontario has now completed 8,865,263 tests and 50,387 remain under investigation.

The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 4.9 per cent, which is up from Friday’s report, when it was 4.6 per cent, and down from last Saturday’s, when it was 5.3 per cent.

Read more: Ontario reports more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases, 51 deaths

Ministry of Long-Term Care reports 27 more deaths

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,112 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is an increase of 27.

There are currently 246 outbreaks in long-term care homes, an increase of three.

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–With files from Emerald Bensadoun and The Canadian Press