Toronto officials call for stepped up hot-spot vaccinations as new cases drop below 120

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Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, and Toronto Fire Chief and head of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg provided an update Monday about COVID-19. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, and Toronto Fire Chief and head of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg provided an update Monday about COVID-19. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

Toronto recorded 114 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, according to provincial data.

It's the lowest number of daily cases the city has seen since September 2020 — just before the second wave began.

To date, 2,368,611 vaccine doses have been administered in Toronto.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said Monday there were 394 new cases of COVID-19 found in Toronto in the last three days.

The daily average is 131 cases per day. There are 713 patients in hospital, and 211 in intensive care. De Villa said the city reported 15 deaths Monday, and 42 since the start of June.

"This is a reminder that COVID-19 is still something to be taken seriously and how getting vaccinated is our best protection from it," she said.

As of today, residents of the province aged 70 and up are eligible to receive their second vaccine dose. As of yesterday evening, approximately 763,000 people have booked vaccine appointments at city-operated clinics. Between today and July 4, there are 14,000 appointments available in city-operated clinics, based on supply.

As for the province's reopening plan, de Villa said it follows a "methodical approach" and takes into consideration a "number of important factors," which include vaccination coverage, emphasizing outdoor spaces for safe activities, and self-protective measures residents are taking.

Tory urges priority hot-spot vaccinations to combat Delta variant

In a news conference today, Mayor John Tory welcomed the province's announcement of beginning the first step of its reopening plan starting this Friday.

"Hopefully the long hard fight to get to step one will remind us that this is only step one," he said, encouraging residents to get vaccinated.

"Getting vaccinated will ensure this pandemic comes to an end," the mayor added.

As of today, 700,000 people in Toronto are now eligible to book their second dose, Tory said.

Based on vaccine supply, second dose appointment dates may come earlier for remaining residents. Tory stressed the need to offer second doses in hotspot communities given the rise of the Delta variant.

"I encourage the federal and provincial governments to consider allocating additional vaccines to hotspot areas in the province including the GTHA," Tory said. "Being fully vaccinated is more effective in containing the Delta variant that poses a risk in hotspot areas."

Tory said after meeting with GTHA mayors and chairs they all believe hot-spot vaccinations will work "because it worked the first time to help us to get to the place where we can have the first stage."

"The sooner we start, the better the results will be," the mayor added.

Vaccination rates in Toronto are promising

Appointments continue to be available at pharmacies, and residents can also go to pop-up clinics in their neighbourhoods. Anyone aged 12 or older is eligible to receive their first dose in Ontario.

De Villa also applauded Toronto's "impressive performance" in getting vaccinated. More than 70 per cent of people aged 18 and older have received their first dose in Toronto.

In residents aged 60 to 79, first-dose vaccination rates are near 80 per cent.

"I'd like to see this number increase as much as possible," de Villa said.

Like the mayor, de Villa suggested accelerating second dose delivery to hot spots and harder-hit communities with "higher levels of disease activities."

The Delta variant, which has already begun to spread in the U.K., is more common in the the Greater Toronto Area.

"There is some reason for concern," de Villa said. "We're hearing from colleagues in the U.K. that this variant is 40 to 50 per cent more transmissible than the variant that created the third wave."

"We're also hearing there is evidence to support the effectiveness of vaccines we're using now, particularly as people become fully vaccinated," she added.

As of June 7, Toronto has administered 2,368,611 vaccine doses.
As of June 7, Toronto has administered 2,368,611 vaccine doses.(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

De Villa also added the city would be in a better position to "engage in fulsome case and contact management" as case counts go down.

Residents aged 12 to 18 are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while everyone 18 and older can receive Pfizer or Moderna.

Anyone aged 70 or older who received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), beginning today, is eligible to receive their second dose.

Recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine who received the shot more than 12 weeks ago can book a second dose appointment to receive an mRNA vaccine.

The city's VaxTO campaign has linked approximately 6,200 Toronto residents to resources for vaccine appointments and general information, the city says.

The province reported just 525 cases today as week-over-week trends in the province and in Toronto continue to decline. The province also recorded 15 deaths.

City-run camping programs to return

Tory announced that registration for the city's several camp programs — dubbed Summer CampTO — will be available starting June 8. Registration is available on the city's website.

The programming offered will run from July 5 to Aug. 27.

The city will offer traditional day-camp activities like dance, drama, music, arts and crafts, and active games for children aged four to 12, at 160 locations. Programs for participants with differing abilities will also be available.

Toronto is also offering CampTO plus, a new in-person specialty camp program at participating community centres and museums.

It will offer specialized programs in French immersion, arts, creative writing, nature and science, for children aged four and up.

WATCH | City-run Summer CampTO to return this summer, Toronto mayor says:

"We want to ensure that, especially after the experience many of them have been through over the past year or so, Toronto children can have a safe and fun camp experience while making new friends and happy memories this summer," Tory said.

All camp programs are required to follow provincial health guidelines, which include physical distancing, daily health screening, wearing masks, cohorting, and enhanced facility cleaning.

"Each camp group will stay together for the entire week and will not interact with other camper groups," Tory said.

"Caregivers will receive a phone call prior to camp start to review procedures and to do a pre-camp health check."