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COVID-19: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on May 18

Click to play video: 'Some Toronto clinics offering COVID-19 vaccine doses to students 12+' Some Toronto clinics offering COVID-19 vaccine doses to students 12+
WATCH ABOVE: Some Toronto vaccine clinics are offering students 12 years of age and older a chance to get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Shallima Maharaj reports. – May 18, 2021

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

Ontario won’t return to colour-coded framework, government says

Ontario won’t be returning to the colour-coded COVID-19 response framework once reopening begins, a spokesperson for the premier’s office says.

The framework, first introduced in the fall, placed regions in the province in different categories depending on local rates of COVID-19 transmission.

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However, it was suspended twice — during both the second and third waves — as the province implemented stay-at-home orders and imposed restrictions stronger than what the framework entailed.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday that the province will be announcing a reopening plan “very soon.”

Read more: Ontario won’t return to colour-coded COVID-19 framework, government says

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ontario says reopening plan coming soon' COVID-19: Ontario says reopening plan coming soon
COVID-19: Ontario says reopening plan coming soon – May 18, 2021

All adults in Ontario eligible to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Anyone 18 and older living in Ontario is eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment starting Tuesday.

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Appointments can be booked through the provincial online portal, call centre or local health units’ booking systems.

People who are turning 18 this year can book Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Read more: Ontario health units urge patience amid vaccine demand surge as all adults now eligible

Toronto ICU doctor optimistic about Ontario’s 2nd pandemic summer

Despite high COVID-19 case count across Ontario’s intensive care units, one Toronto-area critical care physician is suggesting there is hope for “normalcy” this summer.

“Even if we’re still having significant cases of COVID, I think for people’s health, for children’s health, mental health especially, I think we have to go back to some normalcy, open up camps, for example, with the necessary precautions. I think that’s really essential for everyone,” said Dr. Jamie Spiegelman.

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Read more: ‘It is safe to open up’: Toronto ICU doctor optimistic about Ontario’s 2nd pandemic summer

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Toronto ICU doctor calls for more open summer' COVID-19: Toronto ICU doctor calls for more open summer
COVID-19: Toronto ICU doctor calls for more open summer – May 18, 2021

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported 1,616 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

Of those:

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  • 472 were in Toronto
  • 360 were in Peel Region
  • 116 were in York Region
  • 102 were in Durham Region
  • 60 were in Halton Region

Ontario reports 1,616 new cases

Ontario is reporting 1,616 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The provincial total now stands at 513,102.

It is the lowest daily case count since late March and is the first time cases have been under 2,000 since then as well. However, the number of tests processed for Tuesday was also the lowest seen in several months.

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On Monday, 2,170 new cases were recorded and 2,199 on Sunday.

The death toll in the province has risen to 8,506 as 17 more deaths were recorded.

More than 7.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far in Ontario. That marks an increase of 109,032 vaccines in the last day. There are 442,102 people fully vaccinated.

Read more: Ontario reports 1,616 new COVID-19 cases, but lowest daily testing in several months

Variants of concern in Ontario

Officials have listed breakdown data for the new VOCs (variants of concern) 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), and P.1 (first detected in Brazil).

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The B.1.1.7 VOC is currently the dominating strain at 110,956 confirmed cases, which is up by 2,155 since the previous day. There have been 681 B.1.351 variant cases, which is up by two, and 2,031 P.1 variant cases, which is up by 10.

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

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,766 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is an increase of one death since yesterday. Thirteen virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

There are 35 current outbreaks in homes, which is up by one from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 39 active cases among long-term care residents and 98 active cases among staff — down by eight and down by 12, respectively, in the last day.

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— With files from Caryn Lieberman and The Canadian Press

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