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Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on March 12 – Global News

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Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Friday.


Toronto residents born 1941 and earlier can book COVID-19 vaccination appointment

The City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health said residents born in 1941 and earlier (aged 80 or older), can book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment online through the city’s website.

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Vaccinations are being offered at three city-operated mass immunization clinics: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Scarborough Town Centre and Toronto Congress Centre. These centres will begin inoculating people starting on Wednesday, March 17.

“There may be a high volume of traffic to the websites. Eligible residents booking appointments are asked to be patient and those who are not yet eligible should not attempt to access the booking system,” city officials said.

City of Toronto said there are 133,000 appointments available between March 17 and April 11.


Ontario COVID-19 vaccine pilot rollout continues at more sites

A pilot project offering COVID-19 vaccines in pharmacies is expanding more broadly today.

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Some pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor and Kingston health units have already started offering Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to residents between the ages of 60 to 64.

Read more:
Ontario doctors ask for patience as they join COVID-19 vaccination rollout Saturday


Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported a total of 1,371 new coronavirus cases on Friday.

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Of those:

  • 371 were in Toronto
  • 225 were in Peel Region
  • 111 were in York Region
  • 35 were in Durham Region
  • 34 were in Halton Region


Ontario reports 1,371 new coronavirus cases, 18 more deaths

Ontario is reporting 1,371 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the provincial total to 314,891.

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The death toll in the province has risen to 7,127 as 18 more deaths were recorded.

Resolved cases increased by 1,124 from the previous day. The government said 64,611 tests were processed in the last 24 hours.

As of 8 p.m. yesterday, the provincial government reported administering 1,062,910 COVID-19 vaccine doses, representing an increase of 43,503 in the last day. There are 282,748 people fully vaccinated with two doses.

Read more:
Ontario reports 1,371 new coronavirus cases, 18 more deaths


Cases, deaths and outbreaks in Ontario long-term care homes

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,750 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which increase by one death since yesterday. Eleven virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

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There are 80 current outbreaks in homes, which is a down by three from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 45 active cases among long-term care residents and 138 active cases among staff — down by six and up by one, respectively, in the last day.


Cases among students and staff at Ontario schools, child care centres

Meanwhile, government figures show there have been a total of 9,949 school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario to date. This is an increase of 137 more cases in the last day — 99 student cases and 38 staff cases.

The COVID-19 cases are currently from 850 out of 4,828 schools in the province. Thirty-four schools in Ontario are currently closed as a result of positive cases, the government indicated.

There have been a total of 2,968 confirmed cases within child care centres and homes — an increase of 20 (14 new child cases and six staff cases). Out of 5,273 child care centres in Ontario, 179 currently have cases and 47 centres are closed.

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NOTE: This story will be updated throughout the day.

— With files from The Canadian Press.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Horse race marks Sydney’s emergence from long COVID-19 lockdown

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Thousands of Sydney residents flocked to a prominent horse race on Saturday, as Australia’s biggest city emerges from a strict COVID-19 lockdown and the nation begins to live with the coronavirus through extensive vaccination.

Up to 10,000 fully vaccinated spectators can now attend races such as The Everest https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/horse-racing-third-time-lucky-nature-strip-everest-2021-10-16 in Sydney, Australia’s richest turf horse race, and the country’s most famous, Melbourne Cup Day, on Nov. 2.

New South Wales State, of which Sydney is the capital, reached its target of 80% of people fully vaccinated on Saturday, well ahead of the rest of Australia.

“80% in NSW! Been a long wait but we’ve done it,” New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Twitter.

The state reported 319 new coronavirus cases, all of the Delta variant, and two deaths on Saturday. Many restrictions were eased in New South Wales on Monday, when it reached 70% double vaccinations.

Neighbouring Victoria, where the capital Melbourne has been in lockdown for weeks, reported 1,993 new cases and seven deaths, including the state’s youngest victim, a 15-year-old girl.

Victoria is expected to reach 70% double vaccination before Oct. 26 and ease its restrictions more slowly than New South Wales has, drawing criticism from the federal government on Saturday.

“It is really sad that Victorians are being held back,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Australia is set to gradually lift its 18-month ban on international travel https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/covid-19-infections-linger-near-record-levels-australias-victoria-2021-10-14 from next month for some states when 80% of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated. As of Friday, 67.2% of Australians were fully inoculated, and 84.4% had received at least one shot.

The country closed its international borders in March 2020, since then allowing only a limited number of people to leave or citizens and permanent residents abroad to return, requiring them to quarantine for two weeks.

Australia’s overall coronavirus numbers are low compared to many other developed countries, with just over 140,000 cases and 1,513 deaths.

(Reporting in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard)

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Canada heading for flu season in the middle of fourth wave of COVID-19 – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Published Friday, October 15, 2021 1:09PM EDT


Last Updated Friday, October 15, 2021 4:34PM EDT

OTTAWA – The country could be heading for its first typical flu season since the pandemic began, even as health systems are still battling the fourth wave of COVID-19, Canada’s top doctor warns.

Last year the flu was “virtually non-existent,” in Canada, thanks to strict public health measures to protect against COVID-19, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Friday.

What served as a blessing last fall, sparing already overwhelmed health systems, could now mean Canadians have less immunity against common strains of the flu.

Surveillance data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows higher rates of infection than expected for some of Canada’s most common seasonal viruses: respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. and human parainfluenza.

“This year we are anticipating a possible flu resurgence, due to lower levels of immunity in the population as a result of less circulation last flu season, and the easing of some restrictive, community-based public health measures,” Tam said.

Even during non-pandemic times, flu season has been known to bring hospitals to their knees, overcrowding emergency rooms and intensive care units.

Now, with some hospitals already at capacity and staff across the country burnt out by a year and a half of providing pandemic care, an intense flu season could be especially dire.

“This is definitely not the year to have influenza wreak havoc,” Tam said.

That’s why public health officials say it will be more important than ever that people get flu shots to avoid complications like pneumonia and protect hospitals from becoming overloaded.

On Oct. 7, The National Advisory Committee on Immunization suggested the flu vaccine can be given any time before or after – or even at the same time as – the COVID-19 vaccine, so there’s no reason to postpone either shot.

It’s too early to say how severe the flu season is likely to be, but pediatric hospitals are already feeling the ill effects.

The emergency room at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario is packed to the level the hospital would normally see at the peak of flu season.

The surge has been driven partly by routine injuries, but also from a “potpourri” of viruses, including RSV, said Tammy DeGiovanni, the hospital’s senior vice-president of clinical services and chief nurse executive.

Because of COVID-19, she said, CHEO has had to cancel surgeries and add to already length backlogs. Flu cases would only compound that problem further and create lengthy waits for non-urgent care.

“What we worry about is our capacity and our ability to staff,” DeGiovanni said in an interview Friday. “What we try not to do, but we’ve been forced to, are some cancellations.”

A similar situation is playing out at other children’s hospitals as well, she said.

Tam said the federal government has been bolstering health-care systems throughout the pandemic by ensuring emergency aid from the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Red Cross, but the solution is not sustainable.

“Health-care capacity cannot be generated overnight, and particularly things like ICU capacity,” Tam said.

“People need to do everything they can to reduce both COVID and other respiratory viruses in order to keep our system going.”

Tam’s deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, said one of the silver linings of the pandemic may be the prevalence of flu prevention measures, like hand-sanitation stations and mask wearing.

“Hopefully these types of behaviors will carry on long past … COVID-19 and become part of normal healthy behaviors to protect yourselves in the future against other respiratory infections, including annual flu.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2021

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New Zealand vaccinates 2.5% of its people in a day in drive to live with COVID-19

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New Zealand vaccinated at least 2.5% of its people on Saturday as the government tries to accelerate inoculations and live with COVID-19, preliminary health ministry data showed.

Through an array of strategies, gimmicks and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s encouragement through the day, 124,669 shots were administered by late in the day in a country of 4.9 million.

“We set a target for ourselves, Aotearoa, you’ve done it, but let’s keep going,” Ardern said, using a Maori name for New Zealand at a vaccination site, according to the Newshub news service. “Let’s go for 150 [thousand]. Let’s go big or go home.”

New Zealand had stayed largely virus-free for most of the pandemic until an outbreak of the Delta Variant in mid-August. The government now aims to have the country live with COVID-19 through higher inoculations.

Forty-one new cases were reported on Saturday, 40 of them in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. It has been in lockdown since mid-August to stamp out the Delta outbreak. Officials plan to end the strict restrictions when full vaccination rates reach 90%.

As of Friday, 62% of New Zealand’s eligible population had been fully vaccinated and 83% had received one shot.

Vaccination spots were set up on Saturday throughout the country, including at fast-food restaurants and parks, with some spots offering sweets afterwards, local media reported.

“I cannot wait to come and play a concert, I want to be sweaty and dancing and maybe not even wearing masks. Hopefully we can get there,” said pop singer Lorde, according to local media.

“Protect your community, get yourself a little tart, perhaps a little cream bun,” she said. “But please, please get that jab.”

Final results of the mass vaccination drive are expected to be released on Sunday.

 

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Rditing by William Mallard)

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