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Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Jan. 20

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Big Box blitz reveals only 69% of Ontario stores following COVID-19 guidelines' Coronavirus: Big Box blitz reveals only 69% of Ontario stores following COVID-19 guidelines
WATCH ABOVE: Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s minister of labour, training and skills, said Wednesday that safety inspectors conducted a blitz of 242 big box stores over the weekend and found only 69 per cent of chain stores complied with COVID-19 guidelines. Infractions, he said, ranged from failing to following social distancing rules, failing to install PPE and neglecting to follow masking protocols. – Jan 20, 2021

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

York Region shares list of big box stores fined over violations of coronavirus restrictions

Enforcement of COVID-19 rules is ramping up in the Greater Toronto Area, with several big box retailers facing fines over alleged violations.

York Region shared a list of retailers fined over the last week for violations of Ontario’s Reopening Ontario Act, among them major pharmacy and grocery locations.

Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sobeys and Costco locations are among those ticketed.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Ontario has shut down 61 ‘unsafe’ workplaces since start of COVID-19 pandemic, minister says' Coronavirus: Ontario has shut down 61 ‘unsafe’ workplaces since start of COVID-19 pandemic, minister says
Coronavirus: Ontario has shut down 61 ‘unsafe’ workplaces since start of COVID-19 pandemic, minister says – Jan 20, 2021

Toronto releases details for ‘better and better’ CafeTO program from 2021

The City of Toronto released its plan on Wednesday for the expansion of the CafeTO program in Spring 2021.

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The program was implemented by the city to help local restaurants and bars affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Mayor John Tory-endorsed report will be viewed at Toronto’s upcoming executive committee on Jan. 27, and it includes the components city officials deemed successful and what could be built upon from the previous year.

The program allowed for local restaurants to more easily open patios in curb lanes and sidewalks, expand and provide more space to promote physical distancing.

“The space helped operators generate revenue and enliven nearby public spaces,” a press release read on Wednesday.

The report recommends for the program to restart as early as May.

Read more: Ontario labour minister says 25 tickets issued in big-box store blitz, 242 stores inspected

Toronto shelters begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines in pilot program

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People living and working in Toronto homeless shelters have begun receiving COVID-19 vaccines as part of a pilot project.

Dr. Stephen Hwang of St. Michael’s Hospital — which is helping run the project with the city — says 55 residents and 30 staff at a city-run shelter in the east end got their first dose on Friday.

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Read more: Pilot project to provide COVID-19 vaccines to homeless people in Toronto’s shelters put on hold

121 employees test positive at Mississauga Canada Post facility

Over 100 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus at a Canada Post facility in Mississauga.

Canada Post said 121 employees have tested positive at their Dixie Road facility since Jan. 1.

Read more: Coronavirus: 121 employees test positive at Mississauga Canada Post facility

Doug Ford calls president of Pfizer Canada

Premier Doug Ford called the president of Pfizer Canada on Tuesday, seeking answers as to why Canada is receiving less COVID-19 vaccine doses than other countries.

“He reiterated the serious impact these cancelled shipments will have on Ontario,” Ford spokesperson Ivana Yelich said in a statement.

“The premier will continue to do whatever he can to support the federal government in ensuring that Ontario gets the supply we need as we continue to build capacity and vaccinate as many Ontarians as quickly as humanly possible.”

The federal government announced on Tuesday that Canada will receive no new Pfizer doses next week as the company deals with temporary production delays while working to scale up its European manufacturing capacity.

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A recent statement from Pfizer, however, indicated that some European countries may not be as hard-hit by delays next week as Canada is.

In an email, Pfizer Canada director of corporate affairs Christina Antoniou said they reiterated to Ford “that this is a short-term situation and our focus is on meeting quarterly commitments.”

“We listened to his concerns about the impact that this short-term disruption would have on Ontario,” Antoniou said.

“We recognized that it has made it more difficult to smoothly advance the scale up of the immunization program in Ontario and throughout Canada … We agreed to keep him and General Hillier informed of any further developments.”

Read more: Ontario premier pleads with incoming Biden administration for COVID-19 vaccine help

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Doug Ford lashes out at Pfizer for vaccine delay: “Where are our vaccines?”' Coronavirus: Doug Ford lashes out at Pfizer for vaccine delay: “Where are our vaccines?”
Coronavirus: Doug Ford lashes out at Pfizer for vaccine delay: “Where are our vaccines?” – Jan 19, 2021

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported a total of 2,655 new cases on Wednesday.

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Of those:

  • 925 were in Toronto
  • 473 were in Peel Region
  • 226 were in York Region
  • 70 were in Durham Region
  • 51 were in Halton Region

Ontario reports 89 new COVID-19-related deaths, 2,655 more cases

Ontario reported 2,655 new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 244,932.

A total of 212,897 COVID-19 cases are considered resolved, which is up by 3,741, and is about 87 per cent of all known cases.

Eighty-nine more deaths were also reported Wednesday, bringing the provincial death toll to 5,568.

The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 4.9 per cent, which is down from Tuesday’s report, when it was 6.8 per cent, and down from last Wednesday’s when it was six per cent.

Read more: Ontario reports 89 new COVID-19-related deaths, 2,655 more cases

60 more deaths reported by Ministry of Long-Term Care

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,239 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is an increase of 60.

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There are currently 251 outbreaks in long-term care homes, down by three.

With files from The Canadian Press

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