More than 100 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Toronto on Friday and the significant jump in local infections is a trend that is likely to continue in the days ahead, Toronto’s top doctor says.

Speaking at a news conference at city hall on Friday afternoon, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa confirmed that there are now 457 cases of the virus in Toronto, up 118 from Thursday.

Approximately 25 per cent of cases in Toronto can be attributed to community spread, de Villa said.

She noted that 29 Toronto patients are currently in hospital, with 15 in intensive care, and 18 people in the city have officially recovered from the virus to date. There have been four COVID-19 related deaths so far in Toronto.

Cases have been reported at a number of long-term care homes in the city and there are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city's shelter system.

“These numbers are, as always, constantly changing and they are indeed increasing,” de Villa said. “We are seeing a significant increase and I expect that we will continue to see similar patterns in the coming days ahead."

De Villa added the new positive tests “are the result of infections that happened several days ago” and the number could continue to spike due to the recent return of March Break travellers.

"We know that most people who were travelling on March Break and on vacation were travelling in jurisdictions or in areas where there is active COVID-19 circulating," she said.

She said physical distancing measures are particularly important at this critical juncture.

Grocery shopping should not be ‘a social outing’

"There are stories of people shopping for groceries and essential items in groups or as a family, treating shopping as a social outing. And while under normal circumstances these kinds of actions may seem harmless, they are very concerning in our current situation," de Villa said.

"If we continue to see people selfishly ignore the recommendations that have been put in place to keep us safe, we should prepare to continue to see dramatic increases in local numbers."

She said residents should expect physical distancing measures and the closure of non-essential businesses to be in place for an extended period of time.

"The reality is that we need to be prepared for extended closures. Based on the experiences of other jurisdictions… it took several weeks of strong public health measures to start to see the effects of social distancing, the effects of physical distancing,” de Villa said. “We are fighting an invisible war with this virus.”