COVID-19: Police arrest three at anti-lockdown protests, city to decide if Pride can proceed


Ontario reported 3,422 new cases of COVID-19 and 69 deaths on January 17.

Thirty-six of the people who died were long-term care home residents, bringing the total number of care home residents who have died since the outbreak began to 3,198.

Ontario’s total death toll is now 5,409.

Today’s case count is an increase over Saturday’s 3,056 but down from the record-high 3,945 cases confirmed this time last week.

There were 2,998 cases on Friday, 3,326 on Thursday, 2,961 on Wednesday and 2,903 on Tuesday. The seven-day average for new infections – which public health experts consider a more accurate indicator of virus spread – is now 3,143.

Province-wide hospitalizations went down by 62 over yesterday to 1,570. There are 395 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units and 293 people breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

Labs in the province completed nearly 60,200 tests in the past 24 hours. The positivity rate is now 5.2 per cent, down from 6.2 per cent a week ago.

The Greater Toronto Area and Southwestern Ontario led the province in new infections.

“Locally, there are 1,035 new cases in Toronto, 585 in Peel, 254 in Windsor-Essex County, 246 in York Region and 186 in Niagara,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.

There are 28,893 active cases in Ontario, down from 30,079 a week ago.

As of 8 pm, the province had administered 200,097 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Ontario public health officials have revised vaccine protocol after Pfizer said it will temporarily reduce shipments of its two-shot COVID-19 vaccine to Canada by half this month.

People who have received their first shot under phase one of the immunization plan will have to wait longer than originally expected to receive the second.

Toronto police arrest three at anti-lockdown protest

On Saturday afternoon, Toronto police dispersed “large” anti-lockdown protests at Yonge Dundas Square and Nathan Phillips Square and arrested three people, including organizers, as officers step up enforcement under the provincial stay-at-home order.

The order, which took effect on January 14, requires people to stay at home except for 29 essential reasons. The rules prohibit outdoor gatherings of more than five people.

Premier Doug Ford also declared a second state of emergency on January 12.

In a tweet, Toronto police said officers laid 18 fail-to-comply charges under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

“While we recognize the right to lawful protest, the existing emergency orders prohibit large gatherings of more than five people,” police said in a statement. “As a result of the orders, we are enhancing our enforcement of large gatherings.

The anti-lockdown protests have been taking place weekly for several months.