Toronto again saw the most new COVID-19 cases in Ontario on Wednesday, recording 338 new cases following a single-day record a day earlier.
At a news conference Thursday, Dr. Eileen de Villa said the city’s seven-day average of cases is on the rise, as are hospitalizations. Currently, 159 people are hospitalized as a result of the virus, and 36 people are in intensive care, she said.
Speaking to reporters, De Villa said Toronto Public Health is working to support Toronto’s reopening, adding both business and health need to be supported.
Her comments echoed those of Mayor John Tory, who welcomed the province’s new framework to support businesses.
However De Villa also called on the province to enact sick day provisions, saying governments must continue to support employees and businesses to financially sustain them through the pandemic, and implement workplace supports and protections for essential services.
“Our objective is to reopen in as safe a way as possible to create the conditions and public health infrastructure to support that,” she said.
De Villa also addressed Torontonians directly saying: “The single biggest mistake you can make is letting your guard down in terms of protecting yourself against COVID-19.”
De Villa also said Toronto Public Health is working to increase its contact tracing back to full capacity. The city had reduced its tracing to focus on high-risk settings earlier this fall.
That meant it had paused contacting close contacts of people infected with COVID-19 outside of outbreaks in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, homeless shelters, schools and childcare centres.
On Tuesday, the province announced other parts of the GTA would be able to reopen gyms and restaurants for indoor dining, but Toronto would take an extra week before doing so at Tory’s request.
That means lifting the provincial regulation on Nov. 14, though de Villa said she will seek an extension to that timeframe if the data suggests it is required.
Peel Region, which had the second highest level of infections Wednesday with 299, is moving to reopen as of Saturday.
For more on Ontario’s COVID-19 situation, click here.
You can find a detailed breakdown of the COVID-19 situation in Toronto via the city’s dashboard.