Ontario reports 318 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday
More than 12.5 million vaccine doses have now been administered in province
Ontario reported 318 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, down from 355 new cases on Saturday. The province is also reporting 12 additional deaths.
The new case count includes 45 cases in Toronto, 51 cases in Waterloo region, 49 cases in Peel region, 26 cases in Ottawa, and 20 cases in Hamilton, according to Health Minister Christine Elliott.
The seven-day average of new daily cases, a measure that smoothes peaks and valleys in data, currently sits at 359, continuing its recent steady decline.
As of 8 p.m. on Friday, 12,551,150 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the province.
Ontario is set to enter Step 2 of the government's reopening plan on July 2.
In the lead up to the next stage, more services are continuing to reopen. For instance, the city of Toronto announced expanded outdoor swimming pool access starting this weekend, in addition to renewed — albeit still limited — access to Riverdale Farm and the High Park Zoo.
The entire country has recently surpassed two COVID-19 vaccination targets that government officials have said are necessary before easing public health restrictions.
The first is that more than 20 per cent of eligible Canadians are now fully vaccinated. The second is that more than 75 per cent have received at least one dose.
The targets are necessary to ensure that the loosening of restrictions doesn't result in hospitals being overwhelmed with cases again.
In Ontario, more than 20 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and older have now been fully vaccinated.
Fully immunized Ontario senior dies from COVID-19
A fully vaccinated 90-year-old woman who lived at a long-term care home in Kitchener has died after contracting COVID-19.
Schlegel Villages, which owns the care home in which the woman was living, announced her death on Sunday.
The company said the woman had "only shown mild symptoms but, as we have seen through the course of the pandemic, the virus can change quickly."
Waterloo Region's associate medical officer of health expressed sympathy for the woman's family and friends.
"This person's death is a tragic reminder of the toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on families and the community," Dr. Rabia Bana said in a news release.
"Death is a very rare outcome in fully immunized individuals. I encourage everyone in Waterloo region to remain vigilant."
Ontario scales up Moderna after Pfizer shipment delayed
Ontarians slated for a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine this week will be offered a Moderna vaccine instead due to a shipment delay, the government says.
A spokesperson for Elliott confirmed that a batch of Pfizer doses due to arrive on Monday has been delayed by two to three days.
However, Elliott's spokesperson said people should not reschedule appointments to try to get a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a later date because the province has "a large supply of Moderna doses" ready now.
"To ensure maximum protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, Ontarians should get vaccinated as soon as they can," Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for Elliott, said in an emailed statement.
While the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommend the safe mixing and matching of second doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for use in Canada for anyone under the age of 18.
Border still closed despite mounting frustrations
Travel restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border will remain in place until July 21st to prevent a fourth wave of COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday
Pressure to relax restrictions is mounting from businesses and politicians on both sides of the border as vaccination rates climb in Canada.
WATCH | Sarnia, Ont. Mayor Mike Bradley speaks to CBC's Rosemary Barton about the border closure:
Trudeau said it would take 75 per cent of Canadians getting a first dose and 20 per cent receiving a second before rules can be loosened because a fully vaccinated individual can pass COVID-19 to someone who is not vaccinated.
He said he understood growing impatience from tourism operators and Canadians who want to travel, but the government didn't want to risk another flare-up of COVID-19.
Goldy Hyder, president of the Business Council of Canada, which represents Canada's largest employers, called for a clearly articulated plan to reopen the border safely "so that friends and families can be reunited and businesses can welcome back travellers."
Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said the policy should be based on whether a traveller is vaccinated, not on nationality.
More details on rules for vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents are scheduled to land Monday.
With files from Kate Bueckert and The Canadian Press