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

Click to play video: 'Toronto’s top doctor calls for caution ahead of long weekend' Toronto’s top doctor calls for caution ahead of long weekend
WATCH ABOVE: Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa called on city residents to be cautious with gatherings ahead of the upcoming long weekend – May 19, 2021

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

City of Toronto holding Long Weekend Dose Drive

The City of Toronto says it is opening up 19,000 vaccine appointments for a Long Weekend Dose Drive.

The appointments were made available at 4 p.m. Wednesday for bookings at six City mass immunization sites over the Victoria Day long weekend.

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Mayor John Tory also announced 10,000 appointments will be opened up at the City-run clinics next week.

“The Long Weekend Dose Drive will help our ongoing Team Toronto work to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Tory.

“With more vaccine supply confirmed, we are opening up more appointments this weekend to maximize our City-run clinic capacity. This Victoria Day weekend you can help make sure this is our last long weekend in lockdown by getting vaccinated. Thank you to everyone working to get shots in arms through this holiday weekend and thank you to everyone who takes time this weekend to get vaccinated.”

Peel Region youth aged 12 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting Thursday

Youth aged 12 and older in Peel Region can book COVID-19 vaccines starting Thursday.

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Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown says youth in that age band who live, work or attend school in Peel Region will be eligible for Pfizer-BioNTech shots.

Read more: Peel Region youth aged 12 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting Thursday

Ontario to resume non-urgent surgeries and procedures as COVID-19 numbers decline

The Ontario health-care system can resume non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries and procedures effective Wednesday due to decreasing COVID-19 case and hospital numbers, the province’s chief medical officer of health says.

Dr. David Williams issued the stoppage on April 20 due to increasing COVID case counts, hospitalizations and ICU admissions as the province grappled with the third wave of the virus.

“This was done in an effort to ensure that our health resources could be focused where they were most urgently needed,” Williams said in a release Wednesday.

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Read more: Ontario to resume non-urgent surgeries and procedures as COVID-19 numbers decline

Ontario may not take regional approach to reopening, solicitor general says

Ontario’s solicitor general says the province may not take a regional approach to loosening COVID-19 restrictions.

Sylvia Jones made the remarks while speaking to reporters at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.

“The minister of health has suggested that we’re going to be moving away from the regionalization approach,” Jones said.

“What happens is people … are more likely to move from place to place if we go to a regional approach and have certain parts of the province with tighter restrictions than others.”

Read more: Ontario may not take regional approach to reopening, solicitor general says

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Fatal opioid overdoses in Ontario surge during COVID-19 pandemic: report

Ontario’s opioid crisis has worsened dramatically during the pandemic, with the homeless population and those who were unemployed accounting for a significant portion of fatal overdoses, a new report has found.

The report released Wednesday from the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital found fatal opioid overdoses were up more than 75 per cent after COVID-19 hit in 2020, compared to the year before.

Read more: Fatal opioid overdoses in Ontario surge during COVID-19 pandemic: report

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Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported 1,588 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Of those:

  • 524 were in Toronto
  • 335 were in Peel Region
  • 94 were in York Region
  • 62 were in Durham Region
  • 49 were in Halton Region
Click to play video: 'GTA caterer hit by pandemic pivots to luxury picnic business' GTA caterer hit by pandemic pivots to luxury picnic business
GTA caterer hit by pandemic pivots to luxury picnic business – May 19, 2021

Ontario reports 1,588 new COVID-19 cases, 2nd day in a row cases are below 2,000

Ontario is reporting 1,588 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the lowest daily case count since late March and is the second straight day cases are under 2,000. The provincial total now stands at 514,690.

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The death toll in the province has risen to 8,525 as 19 more deaths were recorded.

More than 7.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far. That marks an increase of 145,461 vaccines in the last day. There are 456,784 people fully vaccinated with two doses.

Read more: Ontario reports 1,588 new COVID-19 cases, 2nd day in a row cases are below 2,000

Variants of concern in Ontario

Officials have listed breakdown data for new VOCs (variants of concern) detected so far 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 112,759 confirmed cases, which is up by 1,803 since the previous day. There have been 683 confirmed B.1.351 variant cases, which is up by two, and 2,059 P.1 variant cases, which is up by 28.

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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 unchanged. Thirteen virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

There are 35 current outbreaks in homes, which is unchanged from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 44 active cases among long-term care residents and 99 active cases among staff — up by five and up by one, respectively, in the last day.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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