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COVID-19: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on May 4

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WATCH ABOVE: Ontario’s education minister assured parents Tuesday that they will have options for next academic year. But as Travis Dhanraj reports, there is no certainty for the remainder of this school year.

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

Toronto police laid 221 charges related to emergency orders over weekend

Toronto police say they laid just over 220 charges related to alleged breaches of the provincial emergency orders over the last weekend.

The force’s interim chief provided an update on the enforcement efforts in a tweet Monday night.

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James Ramer says the charges include criminal ones, but gave no further details.

Read more: Toronto police laid 221 charges related to emergency orders over weekend

TTC bus driver allegedly assaulted after asking riders to wear masks

Officials say two people are facing charges after a TTC bus driver was allegedly assaulted Sunday evening after asking passengers to wear masks.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents around 12,000 TTC workers, said the incident happened at approximately 7:15 p.m. on the Flemington Park route at Broadview and Torrens avenues, just north of Cosburn Avenue.

Local 113 president Carlos Santos said a bus driver was assaulted after asking four riders to wear a mask while on the vehicle.

A Toronto police spokesperson told Global News they were called to the scene for reports of an assault in progress. The spokesperson said a bus driver had a “verbal dispute” with two passengers and the passengers allegedly physically assaulted the driver and damaged the bus.

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Read more: TTC bus driver allegedly assaulted after asking riders to wear masks, 2 people charged

Federal quarantine hotel in Toronto won’t be fully closed after 13 staff test positive for COVID-19

Public health officials in Toronto say they won’t fully shut down a federal quarantine hotel for international travellers where more than a dozen staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

Thirteen staff at the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport Hotel had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

Read more: Federal quarantine hotel in Toronto won’t be fully closed after 13 staff test positive for COVID-19

Ontario government reveals virtual school option for 2021-22, funding plan

As students across school boards in Ontario continue online learning amid the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has released a funding plan for the upcoming 2021-22 school year that will include the option of virtual learning.

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“While we all want in-class learning to return this spring, we will not take risks with your child as we respond to high rates of COVID-19 in the community,” Ontario education minister Stephen Lecce said during an announcement Tuesday.

Read more: Ontario government reveals virtual school option for 2021-22, funding plan

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Ontario to provide $85.5 million for ‘Learning Recovery and Renewal Plan for Students’

Group of active, retired police officers file constitutional challenge over Ontario’s COVID-19 rules

A group of active and retired police officers from several forces has launched a legal challenge over Ontario’s pandemic orders, alleging that enforcing the rules requires officers to breach their oath to uphold the constitution.

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Notice of the constitutional challenge was filed late last month on behalf of 19 officers, including two Toronto officers currently facing an internal police investigation for allegedly breaching restrictions on social gatherings.

Read more: Group of active, retired police officers file constitutional challenge over Ontario’s COVID-19 rules

Indoor events, communal dining with precautions now allowed under new Ontario LTC directive

The Ontario government has issued a new directive for the province’s long-term care homes that will see COVID-19 restrictions eased after a high uptake of vaccinations.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, officials said the update to the province’s directive was made by Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams.

“The updated [directive] sets out that long-term care homes can now safely resume activities such as communal dining and indoor events and gatherings with precautions,” the statement said.
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“Additionally, residents and their caregivers who are fully immunized may choose to have close physical contact beyond what is required for care and supervision, such as hugging.”

Read more: Indoor events, communal dining with precautions now allowed under new Ontario COVID-19 LTC directive

Ontario outdoor recreational facilities to stay closed until cases drop: minister

Ontario’s closure of outdoor recreational facilities will remain in place until COVID-19 cases decline significantly, the government said Tuesday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province currently has no timeline for the reopening of facilities such as tennis courts and golf courses.

Read more: Ontario outdoor recreational facilities to stay closed until COVID-19 cases drop: minister

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported 2,791 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

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Of those:

  • 931 were in Toronto
  • 653 were in Peel Region
  • 275 were in York Region
  • 147 were in Durham Region
  • 101 were in Halton Region

Ontario reports 2,791 new COVID-19 cases, lowest increase since beginning of April

Ontario is reporting 2,791 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest increase since April 1. The provincial total now stands at 476,692.

The death toll in the province has risen to 8,143 as 25 more deaths were recorded.

Resolved cases increased by 3,323 from the previous day. The government said 33,740 tests were processed in the last 24 hours.

As of 8 p.m. on Monday, a total of 5,467,120 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. That marks an increase of 88,871 vaccines in the last day. There are 378,085 people fully vaccinated with two doses.

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Read more: Ontario reports 2,791 new COVID-19 cases, lowest increase since beginning of April

Variants of concern in Ontario

Officials have listed data for the new VOCs (variants of concern) detected in the province which include the B.1.1.7 (first detected in the United Kingdom), B.1.351 (first detected in South Africa), and P.1 (first detected in Brazil).

The B.1.1.7 VOC is currently the dominating strain at 77,649 confirmed cases, which is up by 2,303 since the previous day. There have been 309 confirmed B.1.351 variant cases, which is up by eight, and 971 P.1 variant cases, which is up by 51.

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

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,760 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 50 current outbreaks in homes, which is unchanged from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 60 active cases among long-term care residents and 175 active cases among staff — up by four and up by five, respectively, in the last day.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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COVID-19: Ontario families weigh in on remote learning

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