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COVID-19: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on April 22

Click to play video: 'Access to vaccines steadily increases in Ontario as line ups form at pop-up clinics in GTA hot spots' Access to vaccines steadily increases in Ontario as line ups form at pop-up clinics in GTA hot spots
WATCH ABOVE: The lines at pop-up clinics are long, but even in the cold weather people say they are happy to wait their turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Katherine Ward shares stories from people at one location and why getting the shot means so much. – Apr 21, 2021

Here are the latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Thursday:

Doug Ford confirms paid sick leave program for workers coming, apologizes for backtracking

Premier Doug Ford confirmed the province is working on a paid sick-leave program for Ontario workers after months of refusal.

He said the province is now working on a solution because the federal government hasn’t expanded its own policy.

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Ford fought back tears as he also apologized for increasing police enforcement powers and closing playgrounds last Friday amid surging case numbers and hospitalizations in the province.

He said his government moved too fast and got it wrong.

“Simply put, we got it wrong. We made a mistake. These decisions left a lot of people very concerned. … They left a lot of people angry and upset. I know we got it wrong. I know we made a mistake and for that I am sorry and I sincerely apologize,” Ford said.

Read more: Doug Ford confirms paid sick leave program for workers coming, apologizes for backtracking

Ontario reports nearly 3,700 new COVID-19 cases, 40 deaths as ICU patients surpass 800

Ontario is reporting 3,682 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. The provincial total now stands at 432,805.

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The death toll in the province has risen to 7,829 as 40 more deaths were recorded, a third wave high.

Resolved cases increased by 4,597 from the previous day. The government said 54,246 tests were processed in the last 24 hours.

Ontario reported 2,350 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 (up by 15 from the previous day) with an all-time high of 806 patients in intensive care units (up by 16) and 588 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (up by 22).

A total of 4,266,802 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. That marks an increase of 134,920 vaccines in the last day. There are 351,354 people fully vaccinated with two doses.

Read more: Ontario reports nearly 3,700 new COVID-19 cases, 40 deaths as ICU patients surpass 800

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported 3,682 new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

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Of those:

  • 1,131 were in Toronto
  • 507 were in Peel Region
  • 436 were in York Region
  • 200 were in Durham Region
  • 129 were in Halton

‘He’s reached a breaking point’: Ontario parents frustrated over special needs remote learning

Ontario students have had a roller coaster of a school year pivoting between remote learning and in-person classes during the pandemic.

For the most vulnerable students, this has had a devastating impact.

“He’s reached a breaking point. Nobody can tell me when help is coming,” said Charlotte Schwartz about her son Isaiah who has special needs.

The 10-year-old is enrolled in an intensive support program for developmentally delayed students at the Toronto District School Board, but is learning from home due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Read more: ‘He’s reached a breaking point’: Ontario parents frustrated over special needs remote learning

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Variants of concern in Ontario

Officials have listed breakdown data for the new VOCs (variants of concern) detected so far in the province which consist of the B.1.1.7 (first detected in the United Kingdom), B.1.351 (first detected in South Africa), P.1 (first detected in Brazil), as well as mutations that have no determined lineage.

The B.1.1.7 VOC is currently the dominating known strain at 44,205 variant cases, which is up by 2,810 since the previous day, 113 B.1.351 variant cases which is up by five, and 218 P.1 variant cases which is up by six.

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

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,755 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which is unchanged. Eleven virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

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There are 37 current outbreaks in homes, which is up by three from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 42 active cases among long-term care residents and 135 active cases among staff — up by five and up by 13, respectively, in the last day.

— With files from The Canadian Press & Global News’ Miranda Anthistle

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