COVID-19: Ontario to offer Pfizer and Moderna at more pharmacies; ActiveTO to return to Lake Shore West

Ontario is reporting the lowest positivity rate and active case count in over a month


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Province to expand Pfizer and Moderna to more pharmacies

5:55 pm Ontario will make Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available in more pharmacies after halting the rollout of AstraZeneca across the province due to safety concerns.

In statement, the Ford government said today that 2,500 pharmacies province-wide will begin offering the mRNA vaccines by the end of May. Additionally, primary care settings will also begin offering Moderna by the end of May.

By the end of this week, select pharmacies in all 13 hot spot regions will begin administering Pfizer or Moderna to people age 18 and up in hot spot areas and to people aged 40 and over in non-hot spot areas.

On Wednesday, public health officials stopped offering AstraZeneca first doses due to an increased risk of rare but serious blood clots.

Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters at Queen’s Park today that the province will hold a shipment of more than 250,000 AstraZeneca doses due to arrive next week pending public health review of how to proceed with administering second doses.

There are around 50,000 doses in the province currently, and Elliott admitted some may expire before the government can complete its review. She added that safety is “top priority.”

Provincial and federal officials are awaiting the results of a trial in the UK to see if people who received a first dose of AstraZeneca can get another vaccine for their second shot.


Ontario doctors urge the province to extend the stay-at-home order

3:35 pm The province is “not yet ready to lift the stay-at-home order,” the Ontario Medical Association said in a statement today.

The organization, which represents 43,000 doctors, med students and retired physicians, said maintaining the order will ensure Ontarians will have a “less restrictive” summer and a “more normal” fall.

“We all want the third wave to be the last wave,” OMA President Samantha Hill said in a statement. “We’re just not ready yet to reopen. No one wants to start lifting restrictions too soon, only to find the virus spreading again and we have to go back into lockdown.”

However, the OMA recommends the Ford government ease restrictions on outdoor recreation, such as golf courses and basketball and tennis courts, “where it is safe to do so.”

“This needs to be done safely and with clear guidelines around when to wear masks and how many people can gather to avoid large COVID-spreading events on the May 24 long weekend,” the organization said.

The stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 20. While Health Minister Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams have indicated it will likely be extended, the government has not formally announced whether the order will be modified.

The OMA says the lockdown extension will depend on how many people are vaccinated and advice from the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

Public health indicators, including daily new cases, have been declining in recent days but remain high.

Today, the province reported 2,320 new COVID-19 cases. Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said the city confirmed 814 new cases in the past day. There are 1,081 people in hospital in Toronto, including 265 people in intensive care units.


ActiveTO to return to Lake Shore West this weekend

3:30 pm The city will close a strip of Lake Shore West to vehicle traffic this weekend and allow pedestrians and cyclists to take over.

ActiveTO, which allows residents to exercise outdoors while keeping a distance, returns to the west end for the first time since last year, the city said in a statement today. The program launched last year as the city emerged from the first wave and lasted through the fall.

Road closures began on weekends two weeks ago, but the city has not included Lake Shore West until now due to construction at Roncesvalles and Queen West.

“By opening Lake Shore Boulevard West this weekend for people to be active, the City is taking advantage of lower than usual traffic volumes while the provincial Stay-at-Home order is in effect,” the city said in a statement.

Here is the list of ActiveTO road closures happening this weekend, from May 15 at 6 am to May 16 at 9 pm:

  • Lake Shore West (eastbound lanes only), between Windermere and Stadium
  • Lake Shore East (eastbound lanes only), between Leslie and Woodbine
  • Bayview, between Front East and Rosedale Valley, as well as River between Bayview and Spruce
  • Roads through High Park remain closed to vehicle traffic each weekend to allow people to explore the park while practising physical distancing. (Please note this takes place from Friday at approximately 11 pm until Monday at 7 am)

Ontario reports 2,320 new COVID-19 cases, 32 deaths

11 am Ontario is reporting 2,320 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 deaths on May 12.

The province detected 2,073 new cases on Tuesday, 2,716 on Monday and 3,216 on Sunday. The seven-day rolling average is below 3,000 for the second consecutive day, reaching 2,826.

Ontario administered 140,785 additional vaccines over the past day, bringing the provincial total to 6,491,666 doses administered and 402,258 people fully vaccinated.

The province completed 45,681 tests over the past 24 hours. The provincial positivity rate is 6.4 per cent, the lowest positivity rate since over a month ago.

“Locally, there are 712 new cases in Toronto, 452 in Peel, 157 in York Region and 139 in Durham and 113 in Hamilton,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.

Active cases are back down below the 30,000 mark for the first time in over a month with 29,962 cases.

Hospitalizations have decreased by 109 from the day before, with 1,673 patients currently in hospital due to COVID-19. There are 776 patients in intensive care, down by 26 from the day before, including 559 patients on ventilators.

Of the deaths reported today, one was someone between the ages of 20 and 39 and five were people between the ages of 40 and 59.

To date, there have been 499,412 total COVID-19 cases in Ontario and 8,374 deaths.


New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on May 12

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

Toronto = 712

Peel = 452

York Region = 157

Durham Region = 139

City of Hamilton = 113

Ottawa = 105

Niagara Region = 87

Region of Waterloo = 81

Halton Region = 78

Middlesex-London = 77

Simcoe Muskoka District = 55

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 40

Windsor-Essex County = 35

Brant County = 26

Haldimand-Norfolk = 25

Southwestern = 18

Huron Perth = 15

Hastings Prince Edward = 11

Peterborough = 11

Porcupine = 10

Northwestern = 9

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington = 9

Grey Bruce = 9

Thunder Bay District = 8

Eastern Ontario = 8

Algoma = 7

Sudbury & Districts = 6

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District = 6

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