Toronto

Ontario reports 1,794 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, 20 new deaths

Ontario logged 1,794 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, down from 1,890 cases on Friday.

As of 8 p.m. on Friday, more than 7.9 million vaccine doses have been administered

Ontario Premier Doug Ford holds a news conference at Queen's Park in Toronto on May 20, 2021, outlining a plan by the province to reopen after weeks of lockdown. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Ontario logged 1,794 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, down from 1,890 cases on Friday. The province also reported 20 additional deaths.

As of 8 p.m. on Friday, 7,925,277 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, according to Health Minister Christine Elliott. The seven-day average for cases now stands at 1,951, which is the lowest it has been since March 28.

The new cases include 416 in Toronto, 355 in Peel Region, 140 in York Region and 147 in Durham. The new case count comes as Ontario eases some restrictions with less than two weeks to go before a provincewide stay-at-home order expires on June 2. 

As of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, people can now go golfing, play in tennis courts, skate parks and various other outdoor athletic fields. They are still not allowed to participate in organized outdoor sports and classes. People can, however, seek a reprieve from the heat at splash pads.

Families who haven't been able to visit loved ones in long-term care facilities for more than a year have also received the green light for outdoor visits. They are now able to visit outdoors in groups, although some say that's not enough.

Ontario hits new vaccination milestone

Ontario expects to have vaccinated at least 60 per cent of adults by the middle of June, at which point the province will begin the first of its three-stage reopening plan.

That timeline could accelerate, however, as the rate of vaccination picks up. According to Premier Doug Ford, the province hit a new milestone on Friday, delivering more than 190,000 doses of vaccine in one day.

The province is also opening up vaccine eligibility to kids. As of 8 a.m. on Sunday, anyone aged 12 or older is vaccine eligible and will be able to book through the provincial booking centre and at select pharmacies for a Pfizer vaccine.

Pfizer is the only vaccine approved so far by Health Canada for young people. Some have already been receiving vaccinations at pop-ups and larger clinics.

Ontario is also preparing to deliver tens of thousands of second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine before they expire at the end of the month.

The province had put use of the vaccine on pause over concerns about rare blood clots, while it evaluated whether to use them for second doses.

In Toronto, Mayor John Tory is attempting to use the long weekend to encourage 150,000 Torontonians to get vaccinated. He's doing it through robocalls to 150,000 homes in priority neighbourhoods.

Those neighbourhoods are those with postal codes beginning with M9R, M9W, M9V, M9L, M9M, M3N, M3L, M3J, M3M, M3K, M6A, M6L, M9N, M6N, M6M, M6E, M2R and M2N.

Half of the calls went out on Friday, while the other half are expected to go out on Saturday.

"By getting vaccinated as soon as you can, we can all get back to business, get back to spending long weekends with family and friends, back to patios and haircuts and so much more," the mayor said in the recording, per a news release. 

Torontonians looking to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine can book one through the dark blue "Book a Vaccine" button on www.toronto.ca/covid-19 or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900.

now