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Motorcyclist, 32, killed in fiery crash in Scarborough

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Sep 18th, 2020

A 32-year-old motorcyclist has been killed following a collision in Scarborough.

Police say a motorcycle and car collided on Warden Avenue just south of Highway 401 around 10:41 p.m.

According to a tweet by Toronto police, the motorcycle caught fire and the rider was without vital signs. He was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators believe the car was attempting to turn left onto Highway 401 and turned into the path of the motorcycle. Police are also investigating whether speed was a factor in the collision.

Police say the other driver involved in the crash remained at the scene.

St. Mike’s assessment centre data shows spike in recent positivity rates

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Sep 17th, 2020

Toronto continues to be one of the hot spots when it comes to the recent spike in new cases of COVID-19 across the province and data from a downtown assessment centre shows just how profound the increase has been with recent positivity rates three-times the provincial average.

St. Michael’s Hospital’s assessment centre has seen a 60 per cent increase in people showing up to be tested the past couple of weeks on its peak days. The positivity rates of people getting tested has also increased significantly.

During the period of Sept. 6 to 12, the positivity rate of tests conducted jumped up to 2.2 per cent after sitting at 0.4 per cent over the past two months.

For comparison, the positivity rate across the province of Ontario was at 0.7 per cent over the same time period.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, says the increase in case numbers is a clear sign that we are entering a resurgence.

“Our reproductive number is 1.2 – that means that each new case of COVID-19 infection is creating 1.2 further cases. That’s why we want to see that reproductive number below 1,” Dr. de Villa said at her daily briefing on Wednesday.

“We’re now six weeks into reopening in Toronto and a picture is emerging of infections in our city. In these last six weeks, approximately 50 per cent of COVID-19 infections are categorized as close contact, meaning as a result of exposure to someone whose infection is known – although it may not have been evident when they infected someone else.”

De Villa says they are also seeing patterns emerge that point to infections from smaller gatherings such as play dates and extended family get-togethers.

“We’re in a transition period as we approach the fall and winter months. We’re at a crossroads too. No one person will decide what happens next. It’s what we do together and what happens as a result.”

The recent spike in daily new cases has also prompted the Ontario government to pledge to lower the limits on social gatherings in an attempt to slow the increases.

Provincial health officials have attributed the spike in cases largely to people not following public health guidelines at social gatherings.

Premier Doug Ford’s office has confirmed the move but won’t say when those new guidelines will be released.

The current limit on social gatherings is 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors.

Toronto top doctor says multiple weddings led to 22 COVID-19 infections

LUCAS CASALETTO | posted Thursday, Sep 17th, 2020

Local weddings continue to be a culprit behind the spread of COVID-19 as Toronto reports yet another high daily increase of new infections.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is reporting 86 new COVID-19 cases across the city with six of them confirmed as staff at local schools.

Dr. Eileen de Villa says in the last six weeks, 50 per cent of infections have been categorized as close contact.

“It’s happening particularly at events where your guard is down,” de Villa said alongside Mayor John Tory at their daily COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

“My team is currently investigating and tracking four separate weddings that have so far generated 22 infections. Remember, prior to their positive test, these 22 people would have been contagious possibly without knowing it for a period of time.”

She says there have also been infections from smaller gatherings including play dates and gatherings of extended family.

The update from health officials comes as the topic of large gatherings continues to be debated by the Ford government. The Premier said on Wednesday a decision on limiting social gatherings is coming soon as the province deals with three COVID-19 hot spots in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa.

The trend of positive infections at weddings is a troubling and contentious one being felt across the GTA. In early September, York Region Public Health said 23 attendees tested positive for coronavirus.

Funeral for four slain Traynor family members set for today in Oshawa

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Sep 17th, 2020

Mourners will gather in Oshawa today to remember the four members of the Traynor family who were killed in a shooting earlier this month.

The funeral, which is to get underway later this morning, is by invitation only for family and close friends, but members of the public were able to participate yesterday in a drive-past visitation.

Fifty-year-old Chris Traynor and his children, 20-year-old Bradley Traynor, 15-year-old Adelaide Traynor and 11-year-old Joseph Traynor were killed in their home on Sept. 4.

Loretta Traynor,  50, who is also a family member was injured in the shooting and a fourth child, Sam Traynor was not at home at the time of the incident.

Durham regional police have identified the shooter as 48-year-old Mitchell Lapa, who is also related to the family.

Police say he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

High school in Pembroke first in Ontario to be closed due to coronavirus outbreak

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Sep 17th, 2020

A high school in Pembroke, Ontario has been closed after three cases of COVID-19 were detected at the school.

The latest case at Fellowes High School was confirmed Wednesday and was linked to two previously announced cases, all among staff members at the school located northwest of Ottawa. That prompted the acting Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) to order an immediate shutdown.

The school will remain closed until further notice and reopen only with the approval of public health.

In a release, the Renfrew County District School Board said any students or staff who may have been exposed will be contacted directly by public health.

Fellowes High School is the first school in the province to be closed due to COVID-19.

According to provincial data updated on Wednesday morning, 35 out of more than 4,800 schools in Ontario have reported at least one case of COVID-19.

Man connected to 2006 Brampton homicide extradited from Mexico, Peel police say

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

A man that has been on the run after allegedly killing his wife nearly 14 years ago has been extradited from Mexico and charged, Peel police said Tuesday.

On July 13, 2006, police said they found the body of a woman in an apartment building in the Steeles Avenue and McMurchy Avenue area in Brampton.

The victim, 31-year-old Malena Morales, was a mother of two children, police said.

On July 14, 2006,  police issued a Canada-wide warrant for the victim’s husband, Henry Morales, who was 30-years-old at the time of the alleged incident.

It was discovered that Morales had fled to Mexico after the alleged homicide, but his exact location was unknown, police said.

Investigators continued to search for Morales over the course of 14 years, even getting the case profiled on “America’s Most Wanted” in 2009.

In 2019, Morales was found in an undisclosed location in Mexico, police said.  With the help of Mexican authorities, Morales was arrested and extradited back to Canada.

Morales, now 44-years-old, is charged with murder and is being held for a bail hearing on Sept. 16, police said.

“This case is a shining example of the level of determination by our officers, in their relentless pursuit of justice and to secure closure for the family of Malena Morales. It also serves as a reminder that intimate partner violence is a real threat for some members of our community” said Deputy Chief Nick Milinovich in a news release.


Toronto convention centre to serve as backup location for jury selection

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

Some prospective jurors will be summoned to a downtown Toronto convention centre as the province resumes jury selection following a six-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a notice issued Tuesday to those in the legal field, the Ministry of the Attorney General says the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is “prepared to host jury events” on its targeted date of Sept. 16.

The ministry says the centre will be used as a backup location for the Superior Court of Justice and the Civil Superior Court of Justice.

The Ontario Superior Court temporarily halted in-person operations in mid-March due to concerns over the novel coronavirus, with all criminal and civil matters suspended or adjourned until June.

Dozens of courthouses reopened in July, with more doing so this week.

However, Chief Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz previously said jury selection and jury trials would remain on hold until September at the earliest.

Jury selection brings together large groups of prospective jurors, which raised concerns about the possibility of maintaining proper physical distancing and other health measures.

In another document issued last week, the ministry said government staff visited the convention centre and conducted a risk assessment to identify any further controls that could help curb the spread of the virus during jury selection.

It called for, among other things, a staggered arrival for prospective jurors, mandatory face masks for the public and staff, and a deferral for any members of the public unable to wear a mask for medical reasons.

Toronto mosque urges calm, vigilance in wake of caretaker’s fatal stabbing

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

A Toronto mosque urged worshippers Tuesday to be vigilant of their surroundings after a volunteer caretaker was stabbed to death.

But the International Muslim Organization of Toronto said the incident should not discourage congregants from attending service, despite the fear it has created in the community.

Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, 58, was outside the mosque controlling entry to the building when he was fatally stabbed. The suspect took off and remains at large.

“At this point, we still cannot say definitively what the motive of the attacker was,” said the board of the mosque in a statement.

Insp. Hank Idsinga, the head of Toronto’s homicide unit, said Monday the death may be linked to another homicide after a homeless man who lived under a bridge several kilometres away was stabbed to death five days earlier.

Idsinga said both victims were men with brown skin and stabbed in “blitz-type attacks.” He did not discount that it could be the work of a serial killer.

He said no evidence currently suggests the incidents were hate-motivated, but it remains a possibility.

But the mosque urged caution about those theories.

“Toronto Police Service is entertaining multiple theories – and that means that nothing has been ruled out, including the potential for a hate crime, or even that this is a part of a series of targeted killings,” the mosque said.

“However, we must be clear – the fact that theories have not been ruled out should not lead us to spreading news that a hate crime was committed or that a serial killer is on the loose, as has been shared by some sources.”

The mosque said there have been sleepless nights for many in the community since the stabbing.

“We urge our congregants to keep our brother in your prayers and to of course continue to be vigilant about any suspicious activity in the area,” the mosque said.

“At this point, we are not encouraging mosques in the Greater Toronto Area to shut down or to discourage worshipers, as there is insufficient evidence to make such a recommendation at this point.”

Police said they have increased patrols in the area.

A funeral will be held for Zafis on Wednesday.

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