Top COVID-19 stories and news The TTC.
5:30 pm Lake Shore East road closure to be extended this weekend for ActiveTO
The city will once again close roads to vehicle traffic as part of the ActiveTO program.
After the Gardiner closed for maintenance last weekend, the closure on Lake Shore West will return and the Lake Shore East closure will be extended east to Leslie Street.
Here’s the list of this weekend’s closures, which will take effect on June 6 at 6 am and last until June 7 at 11 pm:
The ActiveTO program encourages people to get outside while keeping a distance from one another in order to curb COVID-19 spread. The road closures provide greater space for walking, running and biking.
5 pm Around 150 people are diagnosed with COVID-19 in Toronto each day: de Villa
Toronto Public Health officials are still seeing approximately 150 people newly diagnosed with COVID-19 each day, medical officer of health Eileen de Villa said today.
She outlined the contact tracing process when a new case is reported, noting that some contact follow up investigations are completed quickly – sometimes within a few hours – while others are complex and involve contacting several people across jurisdictions.
The press has reported delays in the process. De Villa noted that from May 27-29, Toronto Public Health was able to contact almost 90 per cent of new COVID-19 cases with in 24 hours. “This rate changes daily depending on the number of cases we receive,” she said.
Since yesterday, the city has reported 139 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the city’s total to 11,652. The number of people who have recovered is 8,948 people recovered, an increase of 165 since yesterday.
There are 378 people hospitalized, with 83 in intensive care. Another 10 people have died. In total, the virus has killed 845 people in Toronto.
4:45 pm Street food vendors and food trucks allowed to operate again
The city is allowing street food vendors, food trucks and ice cream trucks to start operating again, Mayor John Tory announced today. Operators must adhere to physical distancing and follow health and safety regulations.
There are 177 non-motorized food carts, 325 motorized refreshment vehicles and 75 hot dog carts licensed by the city.
Customers are also being asked to keep two-metres distance from others while in line and to take their food home or to a park to eat.
Tory added that the summer weather and the lack of clarity around regulations for food trucks operating during the pandemic led the city to prioritize their reopening. Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa also said the ability for people to physical distance at these vendors, as well as the fact that they are outside, reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread when ordering street food.
2:41 pm Doug Ford sends a warning to commercial landlords
Premier Doug Ford had tough talk for commercial landlords who are not working with tenants to apply for the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program.
The program sees landlords, tenants and the provincial and federal governments splitting the cost of rent, with the Ottawa and the provinces paying 50 per cent. However, many small businesses still fear they will be evicted.
Ontario has resisted calls from businesses to impose a ban on commercial evictions during the pandemic. When asked about British Columbia’s decision to ban commercial evictions for landlords who won’t participate in CECRA, Ford said he is prepared to “act” against similar landlords in Ontario.
“They’re just refusing to do it,” Ford said during his Queen’s Park news conference on Wednesday. “What they’re doing is they’re testing me. That’s going to be the wrong thing to do. We’re going to give it a few more days and we’ll act.
” All the landlords out there – you wanna play hardball? We’ll play hardball then because I’m going to protect the little guy,” he added.
Applications for the CECRA opened last Tuesday.
2:33 pm Doug Ford says COVID-19 testing might be available at pharmacies
The Ontario government is in talks to make COVID-19 testing available at pharmacies, Premier Doug Ford confirmed today.
“We’re in conversations right now with some of the largest pharmacies. Stay tuned over the next little while,” he said. “I think it’s a good model.”
Ford was referring to a deal between CVS Health and New York State that doubled the state’s capacity for diagnostic testing to 40,000 tests per day.
Ontario’s current lab capacity is 20,000 tests per day and Ford’s stated target is 16,000 tests per day.
Ford added that he hopes he’ll have news for the public about when Ontario can move to stage two of the reopening plan “over the next week.”
2:29 pm Ontario to spend $150M for broadband in rural communities
Premier Doug Ford and Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott said today that the provincial government will spend $150 to improve broadband and cellular service access in remote and rural communities.
The funding is part of the $315 million plan Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan, which was announced last July.
Telecom companies, municipal governments, First Nation communities and non-profits are being invited to submit funding proposals, the government said in a news release. The province will fund a portion of each approved project.
10:57 am Ontario reports 338 new COVID-19 cases, 19 more deaths
Ontario has confirmed 338 new COVID-19 cases, an increase of 1.2 per cent. That brings the province’s total to 29,047. Another 327 cases are now considered resolved. In all, 22,811 people have recovered from the virus.
Today’s new case count is down following three days of successive increases that saw an uptick to 446 cases yesterday.
Another 19 people have died. The provincial death toll is now 2,312.
Ontario surpassed Premier Doug Ford’s testing goal of 16,000, with 17,537 tests completed since yesterday and another 11,636 cases under investigation.
There are 791 patients in hospital, with 127 in intensive care and 92 in intensive care on ventilators.
10:15 am City reveals two locations for modular housing projects
Toronto is accelerating a plan to build modular housing on two city-owned sites.
On Tuesday, the city revealed further details of the project that will see see 44 bachelor apartments built at 150 Harrison on the former site of the 14 Division police station and 56 bachelor apartments built at 11 Macey, near Victoria Park and Danforth.
The properties will be managed by “qualified, non-profit housing providers,” the city said in a news release, and the homes will be pre-fabricated and installed on site. Each self-contained bachelor unit with have a kitchen and washroom. There will also be a shared communal kitchen and administrative and program space.
On April 30, council approved an expedited plan to build a 250-unit modular housing project on city-owned land for people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.
The first phase of the project is expected to be ready for occupancy by September 2020 and another 140 units will be complete by April 2021. The plan passed 23-1, with only councillor Stephen Holyday opposed.
8:30 am Canada has more than 92,000 cases of COVID-19
There are 92,410 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 7,395 people have died.
The outbreak is a serious public health threat though most people who contract the virus have not been hospitalized.
Symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing and pneumonia in both lungs and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. People age 65 and over and people with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of contracting a severe case.
8:32 pm Ontario extends state of emergency until June 30
The province has extended the state of emergency until the end of the month.
On Tuesday, the Ontario legislature voted to approve the move, which allows the government to create and enforce emergency orders, such as the closure of non-essential businesses and prohibiting gatherings of five people or more.
Ontario has been under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic since March 17.