Top COVID-19 stories and news
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4:03 pm City’s northwest neighbourhoods hardest hit by COVID-19
The City of Toronto is reporting 11,174 cases of COVID-19 and 823 deaths. That’s an increase of 150 cases and 5 deaths, respectively, over yesterday.
The city is also reporting some 149 institutional outbreaks.
According to its online map of cumulative cases, the city’s northwest remains the hardest hit with the Glenfield-Jane Heights area (306 cases), West Humber-Clairville (273 cases), Downsview-Roding (271) and York University Heights (264) showing the highest number of cases.
South Parkdale (161) is showing the highest number of cases downtown. The Woburn area (137) and Rouge (131) area are the hardest hit neighbourhoods in Scarborough.
2:34 pm SEIU asks province to take over Woodbridge nursing home
The Service Employees International Union is reporting “serious concerns” at Sienna Living’s Woodbridge Vista Care Community home and asking the province to take over the facility.
In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford, the SEIU says its members have informed the union that 83 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, including 17 who have died. As well, 26 staff have been infected, says the union in a statement released this afternoon.
According to the union, staffing levels at the privately-run home are “dangerously low” and temporary agency workers are being asked to fill the gap. The letter to the premier says staff “have lost confidence in management’s ability to oversee the crisis” and is calling on the province to use its authority to “take over administrative and operational control of nursing homes where necessary.”
The home is one of two owned by Sienna that has come under scrutiny recently following the death of a second personal support worker this week at an Ottawa-area facility. (See post below from earlier today.)
1:07 pm Canada issues tobacco warning with latest COVID-19 update
Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, has released Canada’s latest COVID-19 numbers.
As of Sunday, May 31, there are now 90,516 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 7,092 deaths, in Canada. Some 48,573 cases, or a little over 50 per cent of the cases, have now recovered.
Tam also noted in a statement that today is World No Tobacco Day. And that “lung health remains an important consideration as the global community confronts an outbreak of COVID-19.”
Some reports suggest smokers are less inclined to contract the virus, but Tam says in her statement that “preliminary scientific evidence suggests a history of smoking may substantially increase the chance of adverse health outcomes for COVID-19 patients.”
12:57 pm Parkdale gallery curates an online exhibit of COVID-19-inspired portraits
While regular programming has stopped or shifted online at city art galleries, Gallery 1313 in Parkdale has been keeping artists busy – and the public engaged – with its online exhibit of COVID-19-inspired portraits.
The gallery has attracted submissions locally, nationally and from across the planet, including Quebec, British Columbia, Turkey, France and Tokyo. Each share experiences of coping with the coronavirus.
The submissions are curated by gallery owner Phil Anderson. And can be viewed here.
10:25 am Coronavirus app coming to track cases
After weeks of failing to meet its targets, the province has released details on its next phase of its testing plan for COVID-19 – and it’s promising a whole lot more tracking, tracing and “surveillance of vulnerable populations” for the virus.
That last part will include “mobile testing teams… that can be rapidly deployed to communities across Ontario to enhance existing outbreak management.” Those “communities” include specific neighbourhoods as well as hotspots like long-term care facilities and private sector workplaces, which will be expected to pay for some of their own safety measures as they reopen. More “surveillance testing” will also be conducted in rural, remote and Indigenous communities, the province says.
Moving forward, the province says it will soon release “a renewed strategy to support public health units” that will include a new “exposure notification app that will alert Ontarians when they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and recommend appropriate actions.”
10:19 am A second worker dies at Ottawa-area nursing home
A second personal support worker has died at Ottawa-area nursing home where an outbreak of the virus has also claimed the lives of 43 residents.
Madonna Care Community in Orleans announced that the worker had been hospitalized since mid-April and died from “complications” related to the virus on Thursday. The worker is the second worker to die at the facility, which has also seen some 43 residents fall victim to the virus. A number of residents at a second home owned by the same company in Woodbridge have also been moved to the hospital.
The privately-run facility is one of several in the province that CUPE, the union representing support workers in Ottawa, has raised issues about. According to the union, staff have not had ready access to N95 masks.