Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is urging residents to keep their bubbles as “small as humanly possible” amid a resurgence of COVID-19, even as the top public health official for the region acknowledges that Peel hasn’t entered the second wave of the pandemic “yet.”
Back in June the province began permitting residents to form social bubbles of up to 10 people but during a briefing on Monday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said that the “concept no longer reflects the circumstances in which we live” and urged residents to avoid close social contact with people outside of their households.
Speaking with reporters during her regular briefing at Mississauga City Hall on Wednesday afternoon, Crombie largely echoed de Villa’s remarks. She said that while the bubble concept may have worked at some point, the time has come for residents to “reassess” their social calendars and begin limiting the people that they come into close contact with to the greatest extent possible.
“As we work to reduce the severity of a second wave it is time to consider shrinking your bubbles to the most essential people in your lives. Whether that is the people you live with or work with, keep it as small as humanly possible,” she said. “Ultimately it is up to each of us to make the right choices in the weeks and months to come. Only we can move this virus and only we can stop it.”
Peel not in second wave yet
Public health officials have said that the number of new cases of COVID-19 has been doubling in Ontario every 10 to 12 days and could surpass 1,000 a day sometime in the first half of October.
The increase in cases in Peel Region, however, has not been as pronounced as in some other regions like Toronto.
During the first week of September Peel Region added 350 new cases. That number then went up to 394 cases the following week and 484 cases this past week.
Meanwhile, Toronto has seen its rolling, seven day average of new cases go from 41 as recently as Sept. 1 to 214.
“Since Labour Day we have kept our new daily cases on a slow linear burn in Peel and we are still able through our investigations to identify the exposure source for 85 to 90 per cent of the transmissions in our community. This means we are not quite seeing a second wave picture her in Peel yet but the operative word is yet,” Peel Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh warned during Wednesday’s briefing. “With cases rising around us and in Peel I urge all residents to shrink your circles and bubbles. Limit your close contact to your immediate household and essential supports.”
Loh said that the transmission of COVID-19 in Peel continues to be driven by social gatherings. He said that in some cases that means large-scale events like house parties or weddings but in other cases it means more benign interactions like “coffee dates and Friday night dinners.”
“It is up to all of us to keep this under control,” he said. “Remember that COVID-19 spreads from person to person through close contact. This means that our interactions are crucial.”