Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on April 22

Here is a roundup of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Wednesday:

510 new coronavirus cases in Ontario, total rises to 12,245 with 659 deaths

Ontario reported 510 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday and 37 additional deaths, bringing the provincial total to 12,245 cases.

The death toll has risen to 659.

Meanwhile, 6,221 people have recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which is 50.8 per cent of cases.

Greater Toronto Area public health units account for 59.3 per cent of all cases in the province.

61% of Toronto businesses would close down in 3 months, survey says

A survey that looked at businesses in Toronto found that 61 per cent will not survive over the next three months, without much needed rent relief, due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also said that 76 per cent of businesses would close down for good within five months.

The survey, conducted by Broadview-Danforth BIA – on behalf of dozens of Toronto BIAs, surveyed 561 small business tenants and 137 landlords across the city.

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Landlords and business owners are calling for a rent relief bailout – 84 per cent of businesses and 72 per cent of landlords said rent relief bailout would help.

According to tenants in the survey, 50 per cent of businesses could not make April’s rent, and 72 per cent of businesses feel they will not make all of May’s rent.

Meanwhile, landlords in the survey indicated that 74 per cent of them did not receive all of April’s rent, and 82 per cent of landlords feel they will not receive all of May’s rent either.

Greater Toronto Area home sales down 69% midway through April due to COVID-19

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board says home sales were down 69 per cent in the first 17 days of April compared with a year ago as the COVID-19 outbreak put a chill on market activity.

Board president Michael Collins says in an unusual mid-month update that uncertainty about jobs and the economy contributed to the decline, as did physical distancing measures that make homebuying more difficult.

The board says new listings declined a similar 63.7 per cent to 3,843, leaving market conditions tight enough to support the average selling price in line with 2019 levels.

Some restrictions could be lifted around Victoria Day: Ford

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says some coronavirus-related restrictions could be eased in the province near the Victoria Day long weekend.

Ford’s remarks come after the province’s health officials said earlier this week that community spread cases appear to have peaked and Ontario was headed for a best-case scenario.

“If we continue looking at the modelling and it starts heading south, I’ll get the green light from the chief medical officer, then we can start opening up the restrictions,” Ford told Global News Radio AM 640 Wednesday morning.

Ontario to test all long term care residents, staff for COVID-19

Ontario is expanding COVID-19 testing to every resident and worker in long-term care homes, as nearly 450 residents have died amid growing outbreaks in the province’s facilities.

Provincial health officials have previously resisted calls for such widespread testing of asymptomatic people, but a new memo from the deputy ministers of health and long-term care, as well as the chief medical officer of health, tells public health units (PHUs) to immediately develop plans for the broad testing.

As of Wednesday, there have been at least 448 deaths in long-term care amid outbreaks at 127 facilities, according to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care. That is 49 more deaths since the previous day.

— With files from The Canadian Press.

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