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Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Feb. 25

Click to play video: 'Ontario to launch COVID-19 vaccine appointment portal on March 15' Ontario to launch COVID-19 vaccine appointment portal on March 15
WATCH ABOVE: Monday, March 15 — that's when the head of Ontario's vaccine distribution task force says the province will launch an online appointment portal. It’s also the day seniors 80 and older become eligible to book their first shot. As Travis Dhanraj reports, the delay in activating the online portal has triggered criticism from the opposition – Feb 24, 2021

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

Ontario lacked updated pandemic response plan before COVID-19 hit: province's top doctor

Ontario had no updated plan for dealing with a pandemic when COVID-19 began cutting a deadly swath through the province last spring, a public commission was told.

In testimony before the panel released on Thursday, the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, denied responsibility for the shortcoming.

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The province had developed a pandemic response plan in 2006 that was updated in 2013, but the process stalled after work started on a “Ready and Resilient” blueprint in 2016.

Read more: Ontario lacked updated pandemic response plan before COVID-19 hit: province’s top doctor

Coronavirus pandemic ‘likely’ to recede in summer, but health measures and limiting variants pivotal: Ontario data

According to newly released data by the Ontario government‘s science table, the coronavirus pandemic will “likely [recede] in the summer” but variant spread, maintaining public health measures and focused vaccinations will be critical.

The findings were contained in a modelling data report released Thursday afternoon. It said variants of concern, such as the B.1.1.7, are continuing to spread across Ontario and that means cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions will likely increase.

Read more: Coronavirus pandemic ‘likely’ to recede in summer, but health measures and limiting variants pivotal: Ontario data

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Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported a total of 1,138 new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

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Of those:

  • 339 were in Toronto
  • 204 were in Peel Region
  • 106 were in York Region
  • 28 were in Durham Region
  • 40 were in Halton Region

Ontario reports more than 1,100 new coronavirus cases, 23 more deaths

Ontario is reporting 1,138 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 297,311.

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The death toll in the province has risen to 6,916 as 23 more deaths were reported.

Resolved cases increased by 1,094 from the previous day. The government said 66,351 tests were processed in the last 24 hours.

Read more: Ontario reports more than 1,100 new coronavirus cases, 23 more deaths

Cases, deaths and outbreaks in Ontario long-term care homes

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,742 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which is an increase of three deaths. Eleven virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

There are 111 current outbreaks in homes, which is a decrease of six from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 105 active cases among long-term care residents and 206 active cases among staff — down by four and down by 12 cases, respectively, in the last day.

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Cases among students and staff at Ontario schools, child care centres

Meanwhile, government figures show there have been a total of 8,361 school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario to date. This is an increase of 83 more cases in the last day — 70 student cases, 12 staff cases and one not identified.

The COVID-19 cases are currently from 430 out of 4,828 schools in the province. Eighteen schools in Ontario are currently closed as a result of positive cases, the government indicated.

There have been a total of 2,633 confirmed cases within child care centres and homes — an increase of 25 (14 new child cases and 11 staff cases). Out of 5,264 child care centres in Ontario, 133 currently have cases and 18 centres are closed.

NOTE: This story will be updated throughout the day.

— With files from The Canadian Press.

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