Mississauga reported no new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in months today, but the top public health official for Peel Region is warning that the milestone “does not signify victory” against a virus which “continues to circulate in the community.”

At one point in April, Mississauga was regularly reporting in excess of 100 new cases a day, but on Wednesday, there were no new cases in the city for the first time since March.

The milestone came after another encouraging day on Tuesday when Mississauga reported only a single new case.

Brampton, meanwhile, reported 11 new cases on Wednesday. It has continued to see a higher, albeit, the declining level of infection than Mississauga.

During his weekly briefing at Brampton City Hall earlier on Wednesday, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh said that despite the disparity it is now increasingly clear that Peel Region is “close” to advancing to stage three of the province’s reopening plan and that a once “aspirational goal of zero daily new cases” throughout the region is possible.

Loh, however, warned residents against thinking that “life will be back to normal” with either the start of stage three or a further decline in new cases.

“I must be absolutely clear. Our first day with zero daily new cases will simply be a milestone in a long journey. It will not signify victory, not by a mile,” he said. “Let me repeat. Zero daily new cases does not and will not mean that all is like before.”

Spread of virus in U.S. continues to pose threat

On Wednesday, the province reported just 102 new cases and no new cases at all were reported in 19 of its 34 public health units, continuing a recent trend.

Loh said that while the data is encouraging, “victory will only be assured through continued vigilance.”

That, he said, means continuing to practice physical distancing and wearing a mask when in indoor settings or when unable to keep at least two metres distance from other people.

“For one the COVID-19 crisis in the United States continues to escalate and recalling that our deep integration with the U.S. nearly became our undoing in March we must remember that even with the border closed the U.S. remains accessible to essential travel. This means that seeding can occur in our community at any time,” he warned. “Asymptomatic spread also means that community transmission continues to lurk and may be seen in sporadic cases and clusters.”

‘Not realistic’ to expect no cases going forward

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been nearly 7,000 confirmed cases across Peel Region, including 3,668 in Brampton and 2,837 in Mississauga.

There have also been 314 deaths in people who have contracted the virus across the region.

Speaking with reporters at her own briefing at Mississauga City Hall later on Wednesday, Mayor Bonnie Crombie said that she is ecstatic with the news that there were no new cases confirmed in the city over the last 24 hours, but she echoed the warnings of the region’s top public health official in noting that it is “not realistic” to expect that to continue.

“There will be a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall, and it is up to us to develop good habits now to keep our numbers down and to reduce the severity of a potential second wave. We are all seeing what is happening south of the border, and frankly it is terrifying,” she said.