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Top COVID-19 stories and news Canada's.
7:59 pm Toronto’s acting fire chief confirms six firefights have COVID-19
Jim Kay, Toronto’s acting fire chief, has now confirmed six firefighters in the city have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In a statement on Sunday night, Kay said the six individuals are at home in self-isolation and being monitored by Toronto Public Health.
Public health officials are investigating the new cases and identifying close contacts of the firefighters that tested positive. “Toronto Fire Services and I are helping in every way we can,” Kay said. “Our emergency responders are vulnerable to this virus because the nature of our work can expose us to infectious disease, including COVID-19. We were prepared for this eventuality.”
Kay added there is no impact on Toronto Fire Services’ ability to respond to emergencies and all frontline staff are equipped with Personal Protective Equipment.
6:35 pm City acquires five hotels to house homeless people during COVID-19 crisis
City councillor Joe Cressy said on Sunday that Toronto has acquired five hotels and is in the process of acquiring five more to house homeless people during the COVID-19 crisis.
Two vacant rental buildings are in the process of being secured and 50 more permanent housing units have been identified. He also said 19 households have been permanently housed.
Homeless advocates have said the city’s cramped shelter system could foster spread as homeless people staying in shelters are unable to practice physical distancing.
The city has already set up nine sites to provide emergency social distancing improvements within the shelter system and is funding five community partners that run overnight programs. Those programs will now stay open all day.
“This is to provide daytime spaces for the homeless in the face of many closures across the city,” Cressy said. “We will continue to work flat out to leave nobody behind.”
6:32 pm Five Toronto firefighters test positive for COVID-19
The Toronto Professional Firefighters Association reported on Sunday that five firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19. “We’re doing all we can for our members and all Torontonians as the pandemic takes its course,” the organization said in a tweet. “Continue looking out for yourselves and each other. Stay home. Stay safe.”
6:27 pm Two more COVID-19 cases die in Ontario
On Sunday evening, public health officials reported two more COVID-19 cases have died, bringing the total number of deaths in the province to 23. The two deaths have not yet been lab confirmed as COVID-19 related. The number of confirmed positive cases in Ontario stands at 1,324.
3:29 pm Toronto has 540 cases of COVID-19
As of 1 pm on March 29, there have been 540 cases of COVID-19 reported in Toronto, up from 512 yesterday. Public Health officials said 39 of these people are in hospital and there are 18 in intensive care.
To date, there have been four deaths in the city and 24 other people have recovered.
2:01 pm 12 per cent of hospitalized COVID-19 cases in Canada are under 40
Canada’s chief public health officer says approximately 12 per cent of the country’s hospitalized COVID-19 cases are people under age 40.
“This statistic is important because it shows that younger age groups are also experiencing illness severe enough to require hospitalization,” Theresa Tam said in a tweet on Sunday morning.
On Saturday, Tam confirmed that 187,448 people have been tested for the virus at public health labs across the country. Of those cases, 3 per cent (5,439 patients) are confirmed positive and 91 per cent (170,842 patients) are confirmed negative.
12 pm Justin Trudeau pledges millions in aid for charities
During his Sunday morning presser, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures for vulnerable Canadians, including children and seniors.
The federal government will be investing $7.5 million into Kids Help Phone – a 24/7 national service that provides professional counselling via text, phone and online chat – for more counsellors and volunteers as it is seeing demand rise.
For seniors, who are “particularly vulnerable,” Trudeau said, $9 million will be invested in the United Way’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. The funding will go to health check-ins, grocery and meal delivery.
Trudeau also noted the $200 million announced earlier this month will go toward shelters around the country. Specifically, $157.5 million will support homeless people, with up to $50 million going to domestic violence shelters, including facilities in Indigenous communities.
The prime minister said more support will be announced in “the coming days” for charitable organizations that are seeing donations dry up. He also encouraged Canadians to donate and volunteer from home.
In other federal government news:
10:57 am Ontario reports 211 new cases of COVID-19
Public health officials have reported 211 new confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the province. Ontario’s total number of cases now stands at 1,326, including 21 deaths (two of which are not lab confirmed) and eight cases that have been resolved.
There are a further 7,203 cases under investigation and 40,630 have tested negative.
10:14 am Canada’s rules for going for a walk during the COVID-19
The Canadian government’s COVID-19 health advice page has an explainer on the emergency order issued under the Quarantine Act for travellers returning home. It also includes physical distancing rules for going for a walk. The federal government says can go for a walk if you:
Of course, people going for a stroll are advised not to congregate and always practise physical distancing by staying at least two metres away from other people.
9:30 am Ontario bans gatherings of more than five people
The province is prohibiting organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately.
The order, which was issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, does not apply to private households of five people or more or child-care centres that have been approved to operate in support of frontline workers – provided the number of people at the centre does not exceed 50.
Funerals are also exempt, but are cannot proceed with more than 10 people at a time.
The new order replaces a previous emergency order prohibiting organized public events of over 50 people. On March 17, premier Doug Ford’s government declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and has since ordered all non-essential workplaces to close.