LATEST COVID-19 UPDATES IN ONTARIO:
- More non-essential businesses will have to close tonight at 11:59 p.m.
- New shutdowns include cannabis stores and some construction sites.
- Health experts say COVID-19 could kill 3,000 to 15,000 people in Ontario over course of pandemic.
- Toronto could see 600 to 3,000 deaths by the end of the COVID-19 pandemic based on projections.
- Strain of COVID-19 is costing Toronto $ 65 million a week.
- City cancellation of spring recreation, arts, and museum programs means 5,400 recreational workers will not be hired.
- Ontario has had 3,630 confirmed cases and 99 deaths related to COVID-19, according to CBC tallies.
- So far 1,219 people have recovered from the virus in Ontario.
- Premier Doug Ford will hold a press conference at 1 P.M. on Saturday.
- Ontario’s chief medical officer of health will provide an update at 3 P.M. on Saturday.
Ontario is reporting 375 new COVID-19 cases as of Saturday morning, bringing the provincial total to 3,630. So far, 99 people have died, according to CBC tallies.
Meanwhile, 196 more people have recovered, the province said, for a total of 1,219 recoveries.
After grim projections about potential COVID-19 deaths in Ontario unveilled on Friday, Toronto police are out this weekend enforcing city bylaws and provincial orders issued to curb the spread of the virus.
People who violate a new physical distancing city bylaw could be fined up to $ 1,000. Any two people who don’t live together and who fail to keep two metres apart in a park or public square could be ticketed.
There will be 160 police officers on the lookout, said Meaghan Gray, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service.
Gray said education is the “preferred method of enforcement,” but, if necessary, officers will issue tickets of $ 1,000. Also, people who park in parking lots of parks that have been closed can face tickets of $ 100 and be towed.
The emphasis on physical distancing continues after the province unveiled modelling projections on Friday, suggesting the virus could kill 3,000 to 15,000 people in Ontario over the course of the pandemic.
If Ontario had not enacted physical distancing measures, the province could have seen “100,000 deaths,” Dr. Peter Donnelly, who heads Public Health Ontario, said on Friday.
More businesses, construction sites closing Saturday night
Meanwhile, several new businesses and construction sites will have to close tonight at 11:59 p.m. to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier this week, Premier Doug Ford shortened the list of essential businesses that are allowed to stay open in Ontario. Cannabis stores and some construction sites are among those forced to shut down on Saturday night.
City monitoring key parks, police issued 21 tickets
Mayor John Tory announced a new bylaw on Thursday that prohibits people from standing within two metres of each other in city parks and squares. The city could impose a $ 1,000 fine on anyone caught breaking the bylaw, and a judge could levy a higher fine if a case lands in court, up to a maximum of $ 5,000.
The city has received almost 1,000 complaints about the use of parks and inappropriate physical distancing, and Toronto police have so far issued 21 tickets to individuals.
The city says it is monitoring key parks, including Christie Pits, High Park, Canoe Landing, Humber Bay Park East, Sunnyside, Trinity Bellwoods, Bluffers Park, Van Horne Park, Woodbine Park and Sherwood Park.
Toronto Police Officers are patrolling parks & public squares on horses, bikes, in cars and on-foot to enforce public health orders and a social distancing by-law. Tickets will be issued for those not respecting the law. Please do your part to keep us all safe. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StayHome?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StayHome</a> <a href=”https://t.co/aGd7qi8c4a”>pic.twitter.com/aGd7qi8c4a</a>
According to the Ontario health ministry, there are 3,255 cases of COVID-19 in the province and 67 people have died from the virus.
*CBC has gathered death and hospitalization rates in Ontario directly from Public Health Units across the province. The numbers reported by the Ontario government will sometimes appear lower, due to a lag in the provincial reporting system.