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Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Feb. 26

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WATCH ABOVE: The questions continue about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario. Premier Doug Ford met with the 34 public health units that will shoulder the bulk of the responsibility when it comes to phase two of the plan. Travis Dhanraj reports – Feb 25, 2021

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

Registration begins for expanded patio spaces at Toronto restaurants, bars

The City of Toronto says the first application process is now open for restaurants and bars that want to expand their outdoor dining spaces into curb lanes and onto sidewalks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The registration opened up Friday morning at 9 a.m. and owners will be able to apply for a month until March 26. There will be a second window for applications immediately afterwards, city officials said.

“Pending public health orders, approved CaféTO curb lane locations from the first window would be installed as soon as mid-May — almost two months earlier than last year and in time for the May long weekend,” the city said in a news release earlier this week.

Those who apply during the second window for registration can expect to have their expanded outdoor dining space installed in June, just before the Canada Day long weekend, the city said.

Read more: Registration begins for expanded patio spaces at Toronto restaurants, bars

53 confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to Vaughan workplace

York Region Public health says it has confirmed 53 COVID-19 cases linked to Mobile Climate Control in Vaughan.

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The unit said the initial outbreak was declared on Feb. 3, and 11 cases are from York Region, 35 are from Toronto, six are from Peel Region and one is from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph.

York said it is working with the other health units involved. An onsite inspection was done on Feb. 8 and the unit said it “continues to work with the employer to identify additional cases and identify close contacts associated with the confirmed cases.”

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No COVID-19 variants of concern were identified.

Ontario announces changes to child care providers to help families

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced changes for child care providers which will provide help and more affordability for families amid the coronavirus pandemic on Friday.

Included in the changes, is certain recreational providers, such as the YMCA, will be able to expand their three-hour before-and-after school care time limit for school-aged children. The government will also be enhancing health and safety protocols in regard to contact tracing among other things.

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Changes to administrative issues will also be made, including “the removal of duplicate requirements related to the collection of children’s emergency contact information, allowing records and documents required by the regulation to be kept in digital format, and no longer requiring licensees to seek ministry approval for children 44 months and up to bring their own meals from home.”

More information can be found here. The government said the changes were based on feedback outlined in the Strengthening Early Years and Child Care in Ontario report.

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported a total of 1,258 new coronavirus cases on Friday.

Of those:

  • 362 were in Toronto
  • 274 were in Peel Region
  • 104 were in York Region
  • 42 were in Durham Region
  • 32 were in Halton Region

Ontario reports more than 1,200 new coronavirus cases, 28 more deaths

Ontario is reporting 1,258 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the provincial total to 298,569.

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The death toll in the province has risen to 6,944 as 28 more deaths were reported.

Resolved cases increased by 1,007 from the previous day. The government said 64,049 tests were processed in the last 24 hours.

Read more: Ontario reports more than 1,200 new coronavirus cases, 28 more deaths

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

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,743 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which is an increase of one death. Eleven virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

There are 111 current outbreaks in homes, which is unchanged from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 101 active cases among long-term care residents and 202 active cases among staff — down by four cases each 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 8,452 school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario to date. This is an increase of 101 more cases in the last day — 89 student cases and 12 staff cases.

The COVID-19 cases are currently from 468 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 2,662 confirmed cases within child care centres and homes — an increase of 29 (20 new child cases and nine staff cases). Out of 5,264 child care centres in Ontario, 143 currently have cases and 19 centres are closed.

NOTE: This story will be updated throughout the day.

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