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COVID-19: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on May 1

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Military medical staff deployed to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto' COVID-19: Military medical staff deployed to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto
WATCH ABOVE: Members of the Canadian military are now providing key support at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital. – Apr 30, 2021

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

1st ActiveTO road closures of the year in place this weekend

The first ActiveTO road closures of the year are in place this weekend in Toronto.

Bayview Avenue between Front Street East and Rosedale Valley Road, River Street between Bayview Avenue and Spruce Street, and the eastbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard East between Leslie Street and Woodbine Avenue are affected.

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The roads are closed to vehicles and open for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Residents intending to use ActiveTO routes should do so only with members of their own household and access them by bike or as a pedestrian because nearby parking is limited and there is no onsite parking available,” city officials said in a news release Friday.

“Residents continue to be encouraged to stay close to home and explore the many paths, ravines and hydro corridors with trails throughout Toronto that continue to be open and available every day for fresh air and exercise.”

ActiveTO was first introduced last year in a bid to give people more room to move around on weekends amid the pandemic.

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More than 1 million people in Toronto have now received at least 1 vaccine dose

Forty per cent of eligible Torontonians have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, officials said Saturday.

More than 1,016,400 people in the city have received a shot, with around 20 per cent being administered at city-run clinics and 80 per cent at more than 300 vaccination partners, officials said.

Clinics continue to operate throughout the weekend.

The news came on the same day Ontario officials said 40 per cent of people over the age of 18 in the province have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Peel Public Health orders partial closure of 3rd Amazon fulfillment centre

Peel Public Health has ordered the partial closure of a third Amazon fulfillment centre.

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The facility is located on Winston Churchill Boulevard in Brampton.

The health unit listed the closure order on its website Friday, along with four other additional workplaces that face similar directives. A total of 16 workplaces are currently affected by closure orders in Peel Region.

The medical officer of health for Peel Region, Dr. Lawrence Loh, issued a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act last month that allows closures to happen for 10 days after five cases have been identified and “have been reasonably acquired in the workplace” within 14 days.

The first two orders that were issued last week targeted two Amazon fulfillment centres: one in Brampton and one in Bolton.

New texting tool helps Ontarians find nearby COVID-19 vaccination sites

After seeing a tweet showcasing a new tool in the United States that allows residents to find nearby COVID-19 vaccination sites with just one text, Zain Manji thought Ontario should have something similar.

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On Friday, Manji noticed a tweet from Global News’ Jackson Proskow showing the feature in the U.S. and decided to make one for Ontario.

“I’m an engineer at heart so the first thing I thought about was like, ‘Is it possible for me to build and how easy would it be to build and could I get started right now?’ And that’s basically what happened,” Manji said.

Manji and his friend Ashish quickly got to work and after purchasing a phone number and completing some coding, in about two or three hours a texting line was live.

Read more: New texting tool helps Ontarians find nearby COVID-19 vaccination sites

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Ontario long-term care report shows lessons from pandemic can’t be forgotten: experts

Public health experts called for urgent action on Saturday in the wake of a devastating assessment of Ontario’s long-term care sector, saying they hope the province learns and retains key lessons from its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their reflections came hours after an independent commission released a scathing report on Ontario’s pandemic response in long-term care homes, where the bulk of virus-related deaths took place during the pandemic’s first wave.

The blistering, 322-page document called for an overhaul of the sector, saying the province was ill-prepared to face COVID-19 despite lessons it should have learned from the SARS epidemic.

Read more: Families, experts say Ontario long-term care report shows pandemic lessons can’t be ignored

Ontario reports more than 3,300 new cases, 29 deaths

Ontario reported 3,369 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 466,733.

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For comparison, last Saturday 4,094 cases were reported.

Twenty-nine new deaths were also reported May 1, bringing the provincial death toll to 8,079.

Provincial figures showed there are currently 2,152 people hospitalized with the virus (down by 49), with 900 in intensive care due to COVID-19 (up by 17 and marking a pandemic high), 637 of whom are on a ventilator (up by five).

Read more: Ontario reports more than 3,300 new COVID-19 cases, 29 deaths

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported 3,369 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

Of those:

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  • 1,050 were in Toronto
  • 819 were in Peel Region
  • 286 were in York Region
  • 157 were in Durham Region
  • 127 were in Halton Region

Nearly 108K more vaccines administered in Ontario

As of Friday evening, 5,247,684 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario, marking a single-day increase of 107,700.

So far, 373,559 people in the province are considered to be fully vaccinated.

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The Ontario government said Saturday morning that 40 per cent of Ontario adults have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“With a steady supply of vaccines expected, the province is preparing to ramp up its vaccine rollout and expand booking eligibility across the province,” the Ministry of Health said in a tweet.

Read more: Here’s a weekly breakdown of when people will have access to COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario

— With files from The Canadian Press

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