Toronto's top doctor says residents will have to be on 'high alert' for 'foreseeable future'' as Ontario reports nearly 1,900 new COVID-19 cases
Published Wednesday, December 9, 2020 10:15AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 9, 2020 5:32PM EST
Toronto’s top doctor says that COVID-19 is “spreading widely” in the city and that residents will need to be on “high alert” for the “foreseeable future.”
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa made the comment during a briefing on Wednesday afternoon, just hours after the province reported nearly 1,900 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Of the new cases reported by the province, 517 occurred in Toronto.
“There has never been a time in the pandemic where it is more important to limit as much as possible our contact with others and to focus on what’s in front of us so we can get through it to better days ahead,” De Villa said. “There is a real risk January could be extremely difficult for us in terms of COVID-19 related illness if we gather together as usual this month. However, if we make up our minds to celebrate differently and to keep apart rather than to gather together it is entirely possible to limit the degree to which COVID-19 will continue to spread.”
Provincial health officials recorded 1,890 new infections on Wednesday and 28 more deaths, up from 1,676 cases and 10 deaths reported on Tuesday.
Ontario logged a record-high 1,925 new infections on Monday, 1,924 cases on Sunday and 1,859 infections on Saturday.
Most cases continue to be in the Greater Toronto Area, including 517 in Toronto, 471 in Peel and 187 in York Region.
Toronto saw a day-over-day decrease in cases as it recorded 588 infections on Tuesday, while Peel saw a surge in daily cases as 349 were logged a day ago.
Elsewhere in the GTA, Durham Region logged 75 new cases, relatively unchanged from Tuesday, while Halton recorded 96 new cases, up from 66 a day ago.
Meanwhile, Hamilton reported 97 new infections, an increase from the 51 cases recorded on Tuesday.
The province processed 48,546 tests in the past 24 hours, a notable rise from the nearly 39,200 tests processed a day ago.
The uptick in testing brings the province’s positivity rate to at least 4.4 per cent, down from five per cent on Tuesday.
The seven-day rolling average now stands at 1,839, compared to 1,719 a week ago.
“What is clear today is that case counts in the mid-500s or into the 600s on any given day are in no way a good thing,” De Villa said on Wednesday as she discussed Toronto’s numbers. “Additionally, we are continuing to see new hospitalizations and so bed occupancy in hospitals can be expected to rise for at least a few more weeks. This puts more pressure on the health care system, both to provide care for COVID infections and to provide care for anyone else who needs it, whether for other physical or mental health needs.”
Provincial health officials say there are 1,924 more resolved cases in the province bringing the number of active cases down to 16,089.
Since January there have been 132,800 cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario and 112,875 people have recovered from the virus.
Ontario’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 3,836.
Of those fatalities, 11 were long-term care home residents, compared to five deaths in those settings a day ago.
There are currently 115 long-term care homes with an active outbreak of the disease.
COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to climb in the province as the number of patients hospitalized for the disease surpassed 800 on Wednesday.
There are currently 811 people with the virus in hospitals across Ontario, compared to 794 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 221 are in an intensive care unit and 129 are breathing with the help of a ventilator.