Toronto’s top doctor is asking parents to warn their teenagers about the seriousness of the novel coronavirus as positivity rates among young people are rising.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa says teens need to follow health and safety measures, including staying home, physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands regularly, as cases surge across the city amid the second wave of the pandemic.

According to de Villa, the current positivity rate for young people between the ages of 14 and 17 is 7.5 per cent and 8.2 per cent for those between 18 and 23 years old.

The rates are well above the city’s current overall positivity rate of 6.2 per cent. A week ago Toronto’s positivity rate was 5.9 per cent.

De Villa is urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of the virus before it’s too late.

“As a parent to teenagers, I know that as younger people become more independent it doesn’t always appear that they’re taking our advice seriously. But I know first-hand that our advice is seldom ignored entirely,” de Villa said during a press conference on Wednesday.

“I know that in these circumstances as parents we will all want to have said and done everything we could have to help keep our children safe. I urge you not to find yourself wishing you’d said something when you had the chance,” de Villa added.

On Wednesday, the city recorded 445 new COVID-19 cases, a drop from 559 cases on Tuesday and 538 on Monday.

There are currently 191 people hospitalized with the virus in Toronto, up from 176 on Monday. Of those hospitalized, 44 people are in intensive care units compared to 42 a day ago.

Twenty-two more people have died from the virus in the city, marking a single-day record high since the second wave began in September. Of today’s fatalities, 21 were from long-term care home settings.

Currently, Toronto is in the red “control” level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework with a ban on indoor dining, the closure of movie theatres and strict limits on gym capacities.

But at a press conference today Premier Doug Ford hinted that further restrictions will be announced for COVID-19 hot spots, including Toronto, Peel Region and York, on Friday.