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

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WATCH ABOVE: Many restaurants feel so close to another chance to bounce back from the pandemic, while fearing the worst if the virus surges again. Sean O'Shea reports – Jun 3, 2021

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

Delta variant prompts calls for Ontario to prioritize Peel Region for 2nd vaccine doses

Politicians and public health experts are urging the Ontario government to prioritize Peel Region for second doses of COVID-19 vaccines due to a contagious variant threatening the area.

The public health unit west of Toronto has long been a COVID-19 hot spot due in large part to the numerous essential workplaces in the area, and experts warn the Delta variant is now spreading in the region.

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Read more: Delta variant prompts calls for Ontario to prioritize Peel Region for 2nd vaccine doses

Ontario accelerates 2nd dose bookings for those aged 70 and older

Ontario is accelerating the ability to book second-dose appointments for residents aged 70 and older due to an increase in its COVID-19 vaccine supply.

Ontarians who received either a Pfizer or Moderna first dose on or before April 18 can also book their second appointment ahead of schedule

As of 8 a.m. Monday, those newly eligible can book their second appointments through the provincial booking system for a mass immunization clinic.

Read more: COVID-19: Ontario accelerates 2nd dose bookings for those aged 70 and older

Ontario AstraZeneca recipients can book Pfizer or Moderna 2nd COVID shots

Ontarians who received Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have the choice to book a second dose of the same vaccine or an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna starting Friday

The province updated its guidance on second doses of that vaccine this week.

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Second-dose bookings are available at pharmacies as of today for people who received an AstraZeneca vaccine 12 weeks ago.

Read more: Ontario AstraZeneca recipients can book Pfizer or Moderna 2nd COVID shots

Ontario asks for stronger border enforcement again, says variants are threatening reopening plan

Ontario is again asking the federal government to strengthen border enforcement, saying more infectious COVID-19 variants are threatening the province’s reopening plan.

In a letter to their federal counterparts, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones outlined the province’s concerns about the risks of international travel during the third wave of the pandemic.

Read more: Ontario asks for stronger border enforcement again, says variants are threatening reopening plan

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported 914 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

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Of those:

  • 214 were in Toronto
  • 169 were in Peel Region
  • 31 were in York Region
  • 69 were in Durham Region
  • 33 were in Halton Region

Ontario reports 914 new COVID-19 cases, 19 deaths

Ontario is reporting 914 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, marking the fifth day in a row it’s below 1,000. The provincial total now stands at 534,675.

The death toll in the province has risen to 8,820 as 19 more deaths were recorded.

As of 8 p.m. on Thursday, more than 9.6 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered. That marked an increase of 168,322 shots in the last day — 107,238 vaccines (for a first shot) and 61,084 (for a second shot). There are 896,065 people fully vaccinated with two doses.

Read more: Ontario reports 914 new COVID-19 cases, 19 deaths

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Variants of concern in Ontario

Officials have listed breakdown data for the new VOCs (variants of concern) detected so far in the province which consist of the B.1.1.7 (now named by WHO as “Alpha” and was first detected in the United Kingdom), B.1.351 (now named by WHO as “Beta” and was first detected in South Africa), and P.1 (now named by WHO as “Gamma” and was first detected in Brazil).

“Alpha” the B.1.1.7 VOC: 129,807 variant cases, which is up by 1,248 since the previous day,

“Beta” the B.1.351 VOC: 972 variant cases which is up by 18 since the previous day.

“Gamma” the P.1 VOC: 2,967 variant cases which is up by 46 since the previous day.

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

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,776 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which is an increase of two deaths since yesterday. Thirteen virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

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There are 26 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 77 active cases among staff — down by four and up by three, respectively, in the last day.

— With files from The Canadian Press

NOTE: This story will be updated throughout the day.

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