Here are the latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Thursday:
Ontario residents 40 and older can book COVID-19 vaccines
Ontarians aged 40 and older can book COVID-19 vaccine appointments across the province today.
The province is opening eligibility to the age cohort through its vaccine booking portal.
Premier Doug Ford renews calls for tighter border controls to rein in COVID-19 variants
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is renewing his calls for tighter controls on domestic travellers and those who arrive through land crossings, saying Ottawa has yet to respond to his requests on these issues.
The premier has issued another letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, arguing additional measures — such as quarantine requirements for travellers coming into Canada by land — are needing to curb the spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants.
Status of cases in the GTA
Ontario reported 2,759 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday:
- 774 were in Toronto
- 602 were in Peel Region
- 258 were in York Region
- 147 were in Durham Region
- 104 were in Halton Region*
Ontario reports 2,759 new COVID-19 cases, as total count surpasses 500,000
As the Ontario government reported 2,759 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, it also marked a pivotal new milestone in its 15-month pandemic fight: cumulatively more than half a million tests — 502,171 — have come back positive for the virus.
When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March 2020, Ontario’s first 100,000 cumulative cases were recorded on Nov. 20, then 200,000 cases on Jan. 6, then 300,000 cases on Feb. 28, and 400,000 cases on April 15.
The last 100,000 cases to today’s date took just shy of one month (28 days) to reach as the province grappled with a third wave that saw record cases and hospitalizations.
Variants of concern in Ontario
Officials have listed breakdown data for the new VOCs (variants of concern) detected so far in the province which consist of the B.1.1.7 (first detected in the United Kingdom), B.1.351 (first detected in South Africa), P.1 (first detected in Brazil), as well as mutations that have no determined lineage.
The B.1.1.7 VOC is currently the dominating known strain at 101,232 variant cases, which is up by 2,737 since the previous day, 574 B.1.351 variant cases which is up by six, and 1,727 P.1 variant cases which is up by 44.
Cases, deaths and outbreaks in Ontario long-term care homes
According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,764 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which is unchanged since yesterday. Eleven virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.
There are 41 current outbreaks in homes, which is down by two from the previous day.
The ministry also indicated there are currently 66 active cases among long-term care residents and 149 active cases among staff — up by one and down by eight, respectively, in the last day.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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