COVID-19: Toronto Biennial of Art postponed to 2022; Ontario reports 975 new cases

A roundup of coronavirus news in Ontario for February 23


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Officials seeking rideshare passengers who travelled to Ottawa

3:55 pm Public health officials in Ottawa said today a person who tested positive for COVID-19 travelled to the city from Toronto on February 16 via a private rideshare service while contagious.

In a statement, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said the rideshare was a white van and included six other people, including the driver.

The van departed fromYorkdale Shopping Centre around 1 pm and arrived in Ottawa around 6 pm. It stopped to drop off passengers in Ottawa at the Bayshore Shopping Centre, the CF Rideau Centre and the St. Laurent Shop, officials said.

“Ottawa Public Health is looking to contact the six individuals who should immediately self-isolate and contact Ottawa Public Health by calling 613-580-6744 for further testing,” the agency said.

Public health officials recommend people only share vehicles with members of their own households.

“If travelling with others outside of your own household, wear a mask, avoid any shared food or drinks, and avoid car travel with others if you’re sick,” OPH said.

Ottawa enter the orange level of the COVID-19 response framework earlier this week. Toronto remains under the stay-at-home order.


Toronto Biennial of Art postponed to 2022

1:22 pm Will it be safe to go to major events in the fall? Organizers of the Toronto Biennial of Art isn’t waiting around to find out.

The second edition of the sprawling art event is being postponed from fall 2021 to March 26-June 5, 2022 due to the pandemic.

“The Biennial’s Board of Directors and Executive Director Patrizia Libralato, along with the Biennial team, decided to postpone the event for six months to help ensure the health and safety of participating artists, collaborators, partners, supporters, the public, and Biennial staff,” organizers said in a statement.

As a result, the timing of the third event will also shift to 2024 in order to occur after two years.

The decision is based on the amount of preparation that is required, including travel and in-person site installations, months ahead of the event.

“As travel and shipping continue to be disrupted by the pandemic, the ability of artists to realize their projects as conceived in a shortened time frame was at risk,” the statement continues.

“By postponing the event, organizers will be better positioned to present a Biennial that truly reflects the vision and best efforts of all involved and to further build on the success of the 2019 edition.”


Ontario reports 975 new cases of COVID-19

10:30 am Ontario reported less than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 on February 23, after five days of surpassing that mark.

Public health officials said 975 new infections were confirmed in the past 24 hours.

The province detected 1,058 cases on Monday, 1,087 on Sunday, 1,228 cases on Saturday and 1,150 on Friday. The seven-day rolling average increased for the third straight day to 1,055.

Labs completed under 26,000 tests in the past day. The testing positivity rate continues to climb back up after taking a dip and is now at 4.2 per cent.

Another 12 people have died, including one long-term care home resident.

Hospitalizations jumped by 72 to 718. There are now 283 people in intensive care, including 186 on ventilators.

The Greater Toronto Area continues to lead the province in new infections.

“Locally, there are 343 new cases in Toronto, 186 in Peel and 89 in York Region,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.

As of 8 pm last night, the province had administered 585,707 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

No new fast-spreading variant cases were confirmed in the past day, according to Public Health Ontario data.

There are a total of 390 confirmed UK variant cases, nine confirmed South Africa variant cases and one confirmed Brazil variant case.


Toronto announces two more modular housing sites

10:30 am The city will build two more modular housing buildings for people experiencing homelessness on city-owned sites: 175 Cummer, next to Willdowdale Manor, and at the corner of Trenton and Cedarvale in East York.

This second phase of the Modular Housing Initiative (MHI) will create approximately 128 modular homes, 64 at each, the city said in a news release. The homes will also provide support services for residents.

The areas were chosen based on local demand for affordable housing, development potential of the site, current environmental status, local infrastructure, access to public transit, access to health and other community services, in addition to considerations like zoning by-laws.

The Cummer site is owned by Toronto Community Housing Corporation. The city will identify a third site to be built under phase two and is aiming to announced that location by spring 2021.

The city will host virtual community engagement sessions for both sites on March 8.


New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on February 23

The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:

Toronto = 343

Peel Region = 186

York Region = 89

Simcoe Muskoka = 48

Region of Waterloo = 40

Thunder Bay = 37

Durham Region = 35

City of Hamilton = 35

Windsor-Essex = 32

Halton Region = 27

Niagara Region = 21

Ottawa = 18

Middlesex-London = 17

Lambton = 11

Brant County = 8

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 8

Southwestern = 6

Chatham-Kent = 5

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