Top COVID-19 stories and news
ollow the latest Toronto news on coronavirus
5:40 pm Toronto Public Library to begin curbside pick-up in early June
The Toronto Public Library will begin offering curbside pick-up in early June, the city said in a news release.
Before then, library drop boxes will open on May 25 to start accepting returns. The library estimates that there are more than one million items currently out on loan.
Drop boxes at all remaining accessible branches will open to accept returns on June 1 and curbside pickup will be offered in early June. Fines on late items will continue to be suspended until regular service resumes.
Eleven TPL branches have operating as pop-up food banks during the pandemic. As these branches open for curbside pick-up, the food banks will be transitioned to other community partners. There will be an announcement about these new food bank locations in the coming weeks.
5:25 pm Toronto reports 228 new COVID-19 cases
Toronto Public Health reports that there are 9,357 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 228 cases since yesterday.
Of those cases, 411 patients are in hospital, with 96 in intensive care. In total, 6,885 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 150 cases since yesterday.
To date, 732 people have died of COVID-19 in Toronto.
1:42 pm Ontario approves funding for 15 COVID-19 research projects
Ontario has announced the first 15 proposals to receive funding from the province’s $20-million COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.
The fund focuses on “areas of research such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences,” according to a news release.
There are also 22 clinical trials investigating COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and 11 of those have been approved by Health Canada and are advancing “potential vaccines and therapeutics.”
“Ontario also has the largest share of the total 25 clinical trials approved by Health Canada in the country,” the news release states.
A list of the approved research proposals is here.
1:24 pm Ontario testing still below capacity
Ontario Premier Doug Ford was on the defensive in today’s press conference as COVID-19 cases continue to go up while the number of tests being carried out in the province is going down.
After three days of low testing numbers, public health officials reported on Thursday a slight jump in the number of tests completed to 10,506 – still well below Ford’s stated target of 16,000 tests per day. (Another 5,051 cases are under investigation.)
Ford said today that his command table is coming up with a plan to ensure testing capacity is being achieved. “To tell you I’m pushing them is an understatement,” he said. “They’re coming up with a plan. They’re going to lay out that plan, hopefully sooner or later, to myself and the minister of health.”
The premier added that he wants to start testing asymptomatic people as soon as possible. The province recently expanded testing criteria to include people with two or more COVID-19 symptoms.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health David Williams said earlier this week that there was a slight increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Ontario, but health minister Christine Elliott said today the overall trend in the number of new cases is downward.
Elliott said public health officials will start to see the effect of this week’s stage one reopening next week.
12:45 pm Ottawa pledges $75M for Indigenous people living off reserve
Ottawa will spend $75 million for organizations addressing the needs of the more than a million Indigenous people living in cities or off-reserve, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today.
The funding is a boost to the $305 million Indigenous Community Support Fund, which the government announced in March.
The money will support more community-based projects in the areas of food security, mental health support and sanitation and protective equipment, as well as support for Elders, transportation and educational materials for Indigenous children and youth. The funding will roll out in the coming weeks, the government said.
“COVID-19 is having unique impacts on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis across our country,” Trudeau said. “For Indigenous peoples living off reserve, in urban centres or separated from their communities, it can be even more challenging to access the help they need.”
10:45 am Ontario reports 413 new COVID-19 cases, 31 deaths
Public health officials have reported 413 new COVID-19 in Ontario, which is a 1.7 percent single-day increase. The province’s total cases is now 24,187. Of that total, 18,509 cases are considered resolved.
Another 31 people have been reported dead since yesterday. In all, 1,993 people have died from COVID-19 in Ontario. Of those deaths, 1,242 were long-term care home residents and four were health-care workers in long-term care homes.
After three days of low testing numbers, the previous day saw a slight jump in the number of tests completed to 10,506 – still well below Premier Doug Ford’s stated target of 16,000 tests per day. Another 5,051 cases are under investigation.
There are 984 patients in hospital, with 155 in intensive care and 117 in intensive care on ventilators.
There are 287 outbreaks in long-term care homes, an increase of three outbreaks from the previous report.
9 am Many Toronto park amenities reopen this weekend
Skate parks, tennis courts and outdoor fields are among the more than 850 city park amenities set to reopen this weekend. Toronto shuttered all park amenities in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but the province has now partially eased restrictions to allow some things to reopen.
More than 70 off-leash dog parks, five BMX locations, 14 skateboard parks and four disc golf locations have already reopened.
More than 600 tennis courts at 185 locations will begin reopening this weekend as well and lawn bowling and outdoor bocce will reopen next week. Amenities scheduled to open in time for this upcoming weekend include:
- Picnic shelters
- More than 300 soccer and multi-use outdoor fields
- More than 300 baseball diamonds
- 150 basketball courts
However, there are rules around the use of fields as permits for soccer, multi-use fields and baseball diamonds are still cancelled until June 29.
People can use outdoor sports facilities and fields for non-team sports, such as walking, running, biking, skateboarding, frisbee, kicking a ball, and low contact racquet sports like tennis, badminton, pickleball and ping pong. Torontonians are not permitted to play team sports on a city field unless they are members of the same household.
Playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, swimming pools, splash pads, greenhouses, nurseries and conservatories, High Park Zoo and Riverdale Farm are closed.
9 am Canada has more than 80,000 cases of COVID-19
There are 80,102 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 6,030 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.