TORONTO — Residents of Ontario long-term care homes began receiving COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday as the province reported a record high of new cases.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said the first Moderna vaccines had been administered at a city-owned long-term care home, one of many seniors residences across Ontario that received doses.
"It is a huge step forward and a huge sign of hope and respect that we have worked with the province to begin to vaccinate some of our most vulnerable elderly residents," said Tory in a tweet.
Toronto estimated that up to 300 residents at Castleview Wychwood Towers would be vaccinated on Thursday, with the rest receiving their dose on Friday.
Ontario reported 3,328 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 56 deaths linked to the virus. The new total is 405 more than Wednesday's case count, the previous record for the province.
The last time the province reported 56 COVID-19-related deaths was on May 12.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 888 new COVID-19 cases in Toronto, 431 in Peel Region, and 418 in York Region on Thursday. She also said that there were 257 new cases in Windsor-Essex County and 194 in Ottawa.
Elliott said nearly 63,900 tests had been completed since the last daily update.
There were 1,235 Ontarians hospitalized with COVID-19, up by 58 from the previous report. Fourteen more people were moved to intensive care for a total of 337 and 210 are on ventilator, up by six.
There have been a total of 192,159 infections of the novel coronavirus in Ontario, 156,012 resolved cases, and 4,530 deaths.
Ontario will not release new data on Friday but will have two days' worth of updates on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a hospital in London, Ont., declared itself free of COVID-19 outbreaks after 23 deaths and more than 150 infections. London Health Sciences Center said University Hospital is outbreak-free as of Dec. 30.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2020.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press