Toronto

Ontario reports 3,813 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 more deaths

Ontario is reporting another 3,813 cases of COVID-19 and 19 additional deaths.

There are 572 patients in critical care with COVID-related illnesses, says OHA president

As of 8 p.m. on Friday, 3,044,949 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario. (Brendan McDermind/Reuters)

Ontario reported another 3,813 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, down from 4,227 cases on Friday.

The province is also reporting 19 more deaths.

New cases reported Saturday include 973 in Toronto, 669 in Peel Region, 442 in York Region, 281 in Durham Region, and 289 in Ottawa.

According to health minister Christine Elliott, the province's network of labs completed more than 61,400 tests over the past 24 hours.

As of 8 p.m. on Friday, 3,044,949 vaccine doses have been administered.

The seven-day average climbed again to 3,371 cases from 3,256 on Friday

.

ICUs continue to fill, hospitals to halt non-emergency surgeries 

Across the province, 77 new patients with COVID-19 were admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) on Friday, according to Anthony Dale, president of the Ontario Hospital Association. 

There are now 572 patients in critical care with COVID-related illnesses, he said in a tweet on Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon, a spokesperson for SickKids said its eight-bed ICU is expecting to receive "up to five adult patients by the end of the day."

The latest figure comes just days after the province ordered hospitals to halt non-emergency surgeries. A memo was sent to hospitals Thursday night telling them to postpone their non-emergency surgeries, effective Monday, everywhere but in northern Ontario. Pediatric specialty hospitals are excluded from the order. 

Ontario has not ordered such an across-the-board postponement of non-emergency surgeries since the first wave of the pandemic hit the province in March 2020. As a result of that first postponement, the province has a backlog of more than 245,000 procedures.

Premier Doug Ford cited the pressure on ICUs in his decision Wednesday to declare a third state of emergency and put the province under a stay-at-home order.    

Ontario ramps up vaccination efforts in hot spots

Ford, who received his first vaccine dose on Friday, said the province's goal is to get 40 per cent of the population at least one dose before the stay-at-home order expires.

As part of that effort, Ford announced Wednesday that people aged 18 or older in hot spots would be eligible for the vaccine. 

Several neighbourhoods in and around Toronto are home to the largest proportion of racialized workers who have disproportionately borne the impact of the pandemic. Yet, they were not included in phase one of the province's vaccination rollout.

While there are several mass vaccination clinics in Toronto, Dr. Marc Dagher, a family physician at Women’s College Hospital, says many of the most at-risk groups, including people living in shelters and congregate settings, may be more hesitant to visit these clinics. 4:21

While the province's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has recommended an approach that prioritizes them for weeks now, Ford's announcement caught public health units and even some health ministry staff by surprise.

In Toronto's east end, Michael Garron Hospital is hoping to administer 1,000 doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday to residents in two hard-hit neighbourhoods, Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park.

The hospital's pop-up clinic will run from 9:30 am to 5 p.m. at 4 Thorncliffe Park Dr. It is open to anyone who is 18 years of age or older who has proof of address for a postal code beginning with M4H or M3C.

Saturday's clinic is the fourth of five clinics scheduled in the neighbourhood between April 7 and April 11.

Abdullah Alazzawi says he 'feel more alive, more free,' after receiving his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic in Thorncliffe Park Saturday morning. (CBC News)

Abdullah Alazzawi said he got to the site at 5 a.m. to secure a spot in the line.

"Once I got the vaccine it feels great. I think more people should get the vaccine," he told CBC News.

"It's an amazing feeling, I feel more alive, more free."

Alazzawi said it was a hectic process but was worth the wait. 

"I think they should speed up the process a little bit, get a lot more people vaccinated so a lot more people have a chance to be safe and live with their loved ones safely," he said.

The push to prioritize some neighbourhoods for COVID-19 vaccines

8 months ago
8:22
In neighbourhoods filled with high-density housing and essential workers, it’s almost impossible to physically distance and stay home. And those circumstances are behind a growing push to prioritize those neighbourhoods for access to COVID-19 vaccines. 8:22

"We're thrilled for the opportunity to offer COVID-19 vaccines to our community members, many of whom are essential workers," Ahmed Hussein, CEO of The Neighbourhood Organization said in a news release. 

"The locations we have selected for these pop-up vaccine clinics are natural gathering places in our community," he said. "They are spaces our residents are familiar with and live close to, and we look forward to administering vaccines to them in this safe, convenient way."

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