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COVID-19: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on April 24

Click to play video: 'Ontario confirms 36 cases of B.1.617 variant from India' Ontario confirms 36 cases of B.1.617 variant from India
WATCH ABOVE: Public Health Ontario has now confirmed 36 cases of the B.1.617 variant, the so-called “double mutant” variant of COVID-19 first detected in India. – Apr 23, 2021

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

Peel Public Health orders partial closure of 2 Amazon fulfillment centres

Peel Public Health has ordered the partial closure of two Amazon fulfillment centres under a new order that allows the health unit to temporarily close businesses experiencing COVID-19 cases.

The medical officer of health for Peel Region, Dr. Lawrence Loh, issued a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act earlier this week and it took effect Friday.

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The order allows closures to happen for 10 days after five cases have been identified and “have been reasonably acquired in the workplace” within 14 days. Affected workers then have to self-isolate.

Read more: Peel Public Health orders partial closure of 2 Amazon fulfillment centres

Toronto sign to be lit pink to mark 1M vaccines administered

City officials say the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square will be lit pink until Sunday morning to mark one million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the city and to acknowledge the efforts of front-line workers.

Toronto passed the one-million-doses milestone on Friday.

To date, 1,026,176 shots have been given in the city.

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Ford again calls for stronger border measures after B.1.617 variant found in Ontario

Premier Doug Ford released a statement Saturday again calling for stronger border measures after the province confirmed 36 cases of the B.1.617 variant, which was first found in India.

“I have been calling for tougher border restrictions for months, to avoid this exact situation,” Ford said.

“Right now our ICU capacity is stretched to its limits by the UK variant that got through our borders late last year. I am extremely concerned about the threat of this latest variant.”

Ford said he wants the federal government to immediately close all non-essential travel to Canada and added that the federal government’s ban on flights from India and Pakistan “came far too late.”

“Without further action, we risk prolonging the third wave, or creating the conditions for a fourth one,” he continued.

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Read more: Public Health Ontario confirms 36 cases of B.1.617 variant now in province

Ontario makes changes to encourage alternate level of care patients to accept home placements

The Ontario government says it is making changes to encourage alternate level of care patients in hospitals who are awaiting a place in a long-term care home to accept a placement that may not be in their preferred home.

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In a news release issued Saturday, the government said the move is being made to add capacity to the health-care system.

“Ontario is waiving co-payments for these patients until they can be transferred to a home of their choice,” the release said.

“In addition, patients who accept these placements will maintain priority status on the waitlist for their preferred home.”

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported 4,094 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.

Of those:

  • 1,191 were in Toronto
  • 1,014 were in Peel Region
  • 406 were in York Region
  • 109 were in Halton Region
  • 199 were in Durham Region

Ontario reports nearly 4,100 new cases, 24 deaths

The 4,094 new COVID-19 infections reported Saturday bring the total number of cases in the province to 441,404.

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Twenty-four new deaths were also reported, bringing the provincial death toll to 7,887.

The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 7.8 per cent, which is down from Friday’s report, when it was 8.8 per cent, and up from last Saturday’s report, when it was 6.9 per cent.

Provincial figures showed there are 2,277 people hospitalized with the virus (down by 10), with 833 in intensive care (up by 15 and marking a record), 600 of whom are on a ventilator (up by seven).

Read more: Ontario reports nearly 4,100 new COVID-19 cases, 24 deaths

More than 126K additional vaccines administered

As of Friday evening, 4,527,368 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario, marking an increase of 126,694.

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So far, 358,776 people in the province are considered to be fully vaccinated.

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