Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Oct. 16

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Friday:

TDSB elementary students switch between in-person, virtual learning pushed to January

The Toronto District School Board says elementary students will not be able to switch between in-person and online learning in November.

The next opportunity for the swap will now be in January, the TDSB said.

The board originally gave elementary students three deadlines of Sept. 30, Nov. 6 and Jan. 29 to move between the two option of learning.

The board cites maintaining “stability” as the reason it moved the second opportunity to January.

Read more: TDSB elementary students switch between in-person, virtual learning pushed to January

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Ontario reports 712 new cases on Friday

Ontario is reporting 712 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, bringing the provincial total to 62,908.

According to Friday’s provincial report, 213 new cases were recorded in Toronto, 135 in Peel Region, 108 in Ottawa, 62 in York Region, 46 in Halton Region and 27 in Durham Region. All other public health units in Ontario reported under 25 new cases.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said more than 38,500 tests were processed in the last 24 hours. However, there is currently a backlog of 37,155 tests that need results.

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The death toll in the province has risen to 3,031 as nine new deaths were reported. Resolved cases increased by 713 from the previous day.

Read more: Ontario reports 712 new coronavirus cases, 9 more deaths

Ontario child care centres and schools

Meanwhile, government figures show there have been a total of 1,242 school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario — 690 among students and 195 among staff (357 individuals were not identified). This is an increase of 98 more cases from the previous day.

In the last 14 days, the province indicates there are 416 cases reported among students and 106 cases among staff (213 individuals were not identified) — totaling 735 cases.

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The COVID-19 cases are currently from 485 out of 4,828 schools in the province.

Five schools in Ontario are currently closed as a result of positive cases, the government indicated.

There have been a total of 292 confirmed cases within child care centres and homes — an increase of 11 since the previous day (seven new child cases and four new staff cases).

Numbers for cases in schools and child care centres is updated weekdays only, at 10:30 a.m.

Ontario long-term care homes

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 1,901 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, an increase of four deaths in the last day. Eight health-care workers and staff in long-term care homes have died.

There are 72 current outbreaks in homes, an increase of one.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 158 active cases among long-term care residents and 203 active cases among staff — down by one and up by four cases respectively in the last day.

Ontario government won’t pursue criminal charges for some impaired drivers due to COVID-19 court backlog

The Ontario government is recommending Crown prosecutors no longer pursue criminal charges against people caught driving under the influence in cases without aggravating factors such as a death or injuries, according to a new directive from the provincial Ministry of the Attorney General.

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The government introduced the directive in August to address what it said was a backlog of cases piling up in the courts due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. It would allow prosecutors to settle for a guilty plea to a lesser charge of careless driving, an offence under the Highway Safety Act, instead of pursuing a criminal conviction.

The ministry said that there were already about 6,000 impaired driving cases under review by Crown prosecutors in Ontario, prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Ontario government won’t pursue criminal charges for some impaired drivers due to COVID-19 court backlog

With files from Global News’ Morganne Campbell and The Canadian Press.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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