Top COVID-19 stories and news
Ontario asks for military and Red Cross to help in hospitals
5 pm With a record 877 patients in intensive care units, Ontario has asked Ottawa to bring in the Canadian Armed Forces, Red Cross and other personnel to help out in overwhelmed hospitals.
In a statement, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones’ office said the province is requesting “logistical and operational support as we seek to augment our response to COVID-19.” During a press conference on Monday, Jones said the federal government had approved the request.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey also tweeted that he spoke with Premier Doug Ford over the weekend and a contingent of health-care professionals will head to Ontario on Tuesday.
Ten days ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered to send in members of the Red Cross to help with mobile vaccination teams, hospitals and long-term care homes but Ford turned down the offer.
“We do not have a capacity issue, we have a supply issue,” Ford said, referencing the dearth vaccines in the province.
ActiveTO road closures to begin this weekend
2:40 pm The popular ActiveTO road closure program will return this weekend, Mayor John Tory announced today.
Last year, the city shut down major roads to vehicles to allow pedestrians, runners and cyclists to exercise while physical distancing. The program will return on May 1-2 – three weeks earlier than the program launched last year.
The city will close Lake Shore East (eastbound lanes only) between Leslie and Woodbine; Bayview between Rosedale Valley and Front East; and River between Bayview and Spruce.
The popular Lake Shore West closure is unable to happen consistently this year due to construction at Roncesvalles and Queen West. However, Tory said “stay tuned” for details on ActiveTO returning to Lake Shore West.
Tory also announced that ActiveTO would also take over Allen Road on June 6 to mark the 50th anniversary of the cancellation of the Spadina Expressway.
Toronto’s COVID-19 cases not yet trending in the right direction: de Villa
2:30 pm It’s too early to say COVID-19 cases are “plateauing” in Toronto, Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said today.
Though there were some positive signs in key public health indicators in Ontario’s numbers over the weekend, de Villa said Toronto is not trending in the right direction yet.
“I’m reluctant to characterize case counts as plateauing,” she said during a city hall press briefing today. “A thousand cases a day is never going to be anything to feel good about and certainly not something that we can accept. If we are to bring the third wave under control or have a real hope of the kind of summer we all crave, there is a lot of work to be done.”
De Villa reported an increase of 1,101 new cases in the past day. There are 1,085 people in hospital, including 231 in ICUs. Another 12 people have died in the past day, bringing the total number of deaths in Toronto to 3,023.
The city has confirmed 6,090 new cases in past six days and 418 people were admitted to hospital in the same period.
However, she reported good news on the vaccine front. De Villa said targeted vaccinations in 13 of the “hottest” hot spot neighbourhoods via mobile and pop-up clinics are successfully increasing vaccine coverage.
Vaccination coverage increased in all of the 13 hottest hot spots from an average of 10.8 per cent in early April to 28.3 per cent as of April 22.
The city is expecting 270,000 vaccine doses next week and 73 per cent of the shots will go to hospitals and health partners hosting mobile and pop-ups in hot spot areas.
Toronto cops break up 210 groups and gatherings over the weekend
1:55 pm Toronto police say they dispersed dozens of groups and laid approximately 160 charges under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) over the weekend.
“Too many people – mostly adults – are having parties and hosting large gatherings in Toronto every day and night. It has to stop,” Chief James Ramer said in a statement. “At a time when positive case counts continue to rise to worrying numbers and hospital ICU admissions are at their highest, it’s extremely disappointing to see people having parties and gatherings and putting themselves, their families, health-care workers and first responders at increased risk.”
Police have set up 16 dedicated enforcement teams aimed at breaking up groups and gatherings that are found to be in violation of provincial pandemic rules.
In a news release on Monday, police said officers broke up 210 gatherings in response to calls from the public. Over half the gatherings were indoors, police said.
Officers also laid eight criminal charges for obstructing officers and assault.
Saturday night was the busiest, particularly downtown where the cops broke up gatherings in houses, apartments, short-term rentals and businesses.
The news release cites a few examples, including a gathering in a condo at King and Portland that resulted in 10 people and the homeowner being charged.
Meanwhile at York and Harbour, police said officers heard loud music coming from a nearby unit and investigated. The unit was a short-term rental and six people inside were charged under the EMCPA.
Ontario reports 3,510 COVID-19 cases, 24 deaths
11:15 am Ontario is reporting 3,510 new cases and 24 deaths on April 26, along with a record-high test positivity of 10.9 per cent.
The province detected 3,947 new cases on Sunday, 4,094 on Saturday and 4,505 on Friday. The seven-day average is back down below 4,000, reaching 3,917, partially due to lower testing numbers.
Over the past week, testing numbers have all been below 57,000. The province reported just 33,822 tests in the past 24 hours, marking a 10.4 per cent calculated positivity rate and a 10.9 per cent positivity rate according to the province.
Ontario administered just 69,308 doses of the vaccine in the past day, well below vaccination rates of the past week above 120,000 doses. That brings the provincial total to 4,696,211 doses administered and 361,166 people fully vaccinated.
Active cases dropped slightly from 41,157 to 40,586. However, hospitalizations jumped from 2,126 to 2,271, and patients in intensive care increased to 877.
Of the deaths reported today, one was between the ages of 20 and 39 and two were between the ages of 40 and 59.
“Locally, there are 1,015 new cases in Toronto, 909 in Peel, 391 in York Region, 244 in Durham and 206 in Ottawa,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.
To date, there have been 448,861 total COVID-19 cases in Ontario and 7,935 deaths.
Brampton teen among youngest in Canada to die of COVID-19
10:50 am A GoFundMe campaign for the family of a 13-year-old Brampton girl who died of COVID-19 has raised over $57,000.
Emily Victoria Viegas died on April 22, according to the GoFundMe page, which was set up by family friend Adrian Goddard.
“This is beyond heart wrenching. As a parent, I am lost for words. horrifying,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown tweeted on Sunday. “We can’t underestimate the seriousness of COVID-19 and the variants.”
The Globe And Mail reported that Viegas died suddenly at home and was found by her brother. Viegas’s mother had been admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 and her father was in self-isolation. He’s the only member of the family not to test positive for the virus.
Last week, Ontario’s Chief Coroner Dirk Huyer said more people are dying at home from COVID-19 during the third wave and noted some of the people who passed away at home were as young as 30.
“We have been seeing a number of people dying in the community outside of the hospital, which is new, unfortunate and sad,” Huyer said during a news conference at Queen’s Park last Thursday. “These people have not been able to obtain health care because the disease affected them so quickly and so seriously leading to deaths in the community, which we did not see in the Office of the Chief Coroner in the first wave.”
To date, three people aged 19 and under have died from COVID-19 in Ontario.
This is beyond heart wrenching. As a parent, I am lost for words. Horrifying.— Patrick Brown (@patrickbrownont) April 26, 2021
We can never underestimate the seriousness of #covid19 and the variants.
My deepest condolences on behalf of the @CityBrampton #RIPEmilyVictoriaViegas https://t.co/ZIIdcAdP9G
COVID-19 deaths pass 3,000 milestone in Toronto
10:45 am The number of people to die from COVID-19 in Toronto has passed the 3,000 mark. On Sunday, public health officials confirmed 14 more deaths, bringing the city’s death toll to 3,011.
“This tragic milestone is a stark reminder of the seriousness of the pandemic and how individuals must continue to adhere to the provincial Stay-at-Home order and follow public health guidance to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” the city said in a statement. “Everyone in the city should be staying home except for essential reasons such as going out for groceries or exercise and being sure to stay as close to home as possible.”
Officials also reported an increase of 1,141 new cases on Sunday and 1,124 patients hospitalized, including 228 in intensive care.
New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on April 26
The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:
Toronto = 1,015
Peel = 909
York Region = 391
Durham Region = 244
Ottawa = 206
Halton Region = 143
Middlesex-London = 83
Simcoe Muskoka District = 79
City of Hamilton = 71
Windsor-Essex County = 62
Region of Waterloo = 49
Haldimand-Norfolk = 29
Brant Count = 28
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 28
Niagara Region = 23
Sudbury & Districts = 18
Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington = 17
Southwestern = 16
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge = 15
Eastern Ontario = 11
Peterborough = 10
Grey Bruce = 9
Renfrew County and District = 8
Chatham-Kent = 8
Northwestern = 7
Hastings Prince Edward = 7
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District = 7
Huron Perth = 5
Lambton = 5