COVID-19: Ford moves all schools to remote learning; Toronto to see 2,500 daily cases in April: de Villa

The latest coronavirus news for April 12

Top COVID-19 stories and news

Here’s the list of people eligible for vaccines in Phase 2

Here are the rules for Ontario’s new stay-at-home-order

Here’s the list of third wave shutdown restrictions in Ontario

Eight questions answered on the AstraZeneca controversy

Ford moves all Ontario schools to remote learning after April break

3:05 pm The province will move all publicly funded elementary and secondary schools to remote learning when class resumes following this week’s break on April 19.

Premier Doug Ford said today that COVID-19 is “spreading like wildfire,” increasing the risk of community spread and, in turn, virus spread in schools.

“The problem is not in our schools, it is in our community,” Ford said. “And bringing our kids back to a congregate setting after a week off in the community is a risk I will not take.”

Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, but before and after school programs will close. There will be free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers. Boards will also make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs that cannot be accommodated remotely.

The province will assess data on an ongoing basis to determine when it will be safe to resume in-person learning.

Highest-risk Toronto neighbourhoods have lowest vaccine coverage: de Villa

2:55 pm Toronto Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said today that the Toronto neighbourhoods with the highest COVID-19 case rates have the lowest vaccination coverage.

“I can assure you this is not going unnoticed by us,” she said during a presentation to the Toronto Board of Health this morning. “We are absolutely committed to working with city partners and community partners to rectify this as soon as possible.”

De Villa recommends that the Toronto Board of Health urge the province to supply Toronto with more vaccines and to prioritize vaccine registration for highest-risk hot spot areas.

To date, 17.4 per cent of people in Toronto have had at least one dose and 2.3 per cent of people are fully vaccinated.

Below is a list of the neighbourhoods with the highest and lowest vaccination coverage:

Toronto Public Health

Toronto to see 2,500 daily COVID-19 cases by end of April: de Villa

2:40 pm Toronto’s top doctor says the city is projected to see 2,500 daily COVID-19 cases by the end of April when taking both variants of concern and vaccines into consideration.

Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa presented the projections at a Toronto Board of Health meeting this morning. She said the highest daily increased recorded during the second wave in Toronto was 1,642.

If transmission stays at the current level, the city can expect to see 165,000 cumulative cases by end of April, she added. To date, there have been more than 125,000 cases in Toronto.

De Villa also said hospitalizations are expected to continue rising to 765 by mid-May even if virus transmission drops by 10 per cent.

“What we can anticipate is this third wave is likely going to be the worst that we’ve seen thus far over the course of the pandemic,” she said, adding that COVID-19 is “wreaking havoc” in Toronto.

De Villa said the increase in transmission is due to fast-spreading variants of concern, particularly the B117 variant – now the dominant strain of the virus in the city. Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisors have released data showing variants of concern have led to a 91 per cent relative increase in COVID-19 deaths and a 36 per cent relative increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

In the past day, Toronto reported 1,269 new cases, 44 new hospital admissions, five new ICU admissions and five more deaths. The city’s testing positivity rate is now 8.4 per cent. De Villa said daily testing remains high so the high number of positive tests is not a reflection of a change in testing rates.

She noted anonymous data collected from cellphones shows that mobility has dropped in Toronto overall, but mobility is higher in some parts the city – namely the northwest, which is experiencing disproportionate impacts from COVID-19.

De Villa also presented data showing that 76 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Toronto are racialized people. Latin American populations have the highest monthly reported case rates and highest hospitalization rate. Arab, Middle Eastern and West Asian Torontonians had second highest rates, followed by Southeast Asian and South Asian people.

The hospitalization rate for lower income people is three times higher than people who are not in the lower income bracket, she added.

As of Sunday at 3 pm, the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Toronto was 758,882.

Ontario reports 4,401 new cases and 15 deaths

Ontario is reporting 4,401 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths on April 12 as the province’s testing positivity rate surpasses the highest peak previously seen during the second wave.

Ontario detected a record high of 4,456 new cases on Sunday, 3,813 on Saturday and 4,227 on Friday. The seven-day rolling average has reached an all-time high of 3,782.

With 47,929 tests completed in the past 24 hours, the province’s positivity rate is at 9.2 per cent. At the peak of the second wave, the positivity rate hovered closer to six per cent.

An additional 74,722 doses of the vaccine were administered in the past day, bringing the provincial total to 3,214,465 doses. That includes 333,419 people who have been fully vaccinated.

Active cases have increased to 34,758 in Ontario, and hospitalizations increased by over 100 to 1,646. That includes 619 people in intensive care, with 408 on ventilators.

Hospitals will started reducing non-emergency surgeries today to increase intensive care unit capacity for the rising number of COVID-19 patients.

Starting today, the Hospital for Sick Children will start accepting paediatric inpatients from hospitals across the GTA in order to free up capacity.

In a statement, the hospital said it is working with hospitals from around the region to prepare for patient transfers.

“SickKids routinely accepts paediatric patients from other hospitals and is prepared to provide safe, high-quality care to additional paediatric patients, and to maintain stable hospital capacity for children and youth from across the GTA, with minimal impacts to clinical care and regular hospital operations.

“At this time, we are only admitting paediatric patients from certain hospitals in the GTA. SickKids is committed to providing ongoing support to GTA hospitals as the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain the health-care system,” the statement added.

Of the 15 deaths reported today, two were between the ages of 40 and 59.

Variants of concern continue to dominate the spread of COVID-19, with 2,153 additional confirmed B117 cases being reported, three more B1351 cases and six more P1 cases.

To date, there have been 391,009 total COVID-19 cases in Ontario and 7,567 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on April 12

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

Toronto = 1,282

Peel = 772

York Region = 564

Ottawa = 339

Halton Region = 177

Niagara Region = 147

Region of Waterloo = 90

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 78

Eastern Ontario = 38

Durham Region = 224

Simcoe Muskoka District = 135

City of Hamilton = 129

Middlesex-London = 112

Windsor-Essex County = 64

Southwestern = 33

Brant County = 30

Haldimand-Norfolk = 26

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington = 22

Sudbury & Districts = 21

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge = 20

Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District = 17

Lambton = 17

Hastings Prince Edward = 14

Peterborough = 13

Thunder Bay District = 11

Grey Bruce = 11

Huron Perth = 9


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