Toronto again saw the highest number of new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario on Wednesday, registering 338 new cases after a single day’s record the day before.
At a news conference on Thursday, Eileen de Villa said the average seven-day cases in the city are increasing, as are hospitalizations. Currently, 159 people are hospitalized for the virus and 36 people are in intensive care, she said.
Speaking to reporters, De Villa said that Toronto Public Health is working to support the reopening of Toronto, adding that both business and health need to be supported.
His comments echoed those of Mayor John Tory, who welcomed the province’s new structure to support business.
However, De Villa also called on the province to enact sickness days provisions, saying that governments should continue to support employees and businesses to financially support them during the pandemic and implement workplace support and protections for essential services.
“Our goal is to reopen as safely as possible to create the conditions and public health infrastructure to support this,” she said.
De Villa also addressed the Torontines directly, saying: “The only biggest mistake you can make is to let your guard down in terms of protection against COVID-19.”
De Villa also said that Toronto Public Health is working to increase its contact tracking to full capacity. The city reduced its tracking to focus on high-risk environments earlier this fall.
This meant that he had interrupted contact with close contacts of people infected with COVID-19 outside of outbreaks in hospitals, long-term care homes, nursing homes, shelters for the homeless, schools and daycare centers.
On Tuesday, the province announced that other parts of the GTA could reopen gyms and restaurants for indoor dining, but Toronto would take another week before doing so at Tory’s request.
That means suspending the provincial regulation on November 14, although de Villa has said he will seek an extension of that deadline if the data suggest it is necessary.
The Peel region, which had the second highest infection rate on Wednesday at 299, is expected to reopen on Saturday.
For more information on Ontario’s COVID-19 situation, click here.
You can find a detailed analysis of the COVID-19 situation in Toronto through the city panel.