Toronto’s top doctor announced indoor dining and group fitness will remain prohibited for another 28 days due to rising COVID-19 cases.
On Tuesday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said the restrictions will start on Saturday, November 14, when the modified Stage 2 orders will end and the city enters the province’s Red – Control level.
In addition to indoor dining and fitness classes being closed, meeting and event spaces will also remain closed, as will casinos and gaming venues.
At businesses and workplaces, de Villa said she is strongly recommending they promote work from home wherever possible and to regulate ventilation in the building.
Social gatherings are also to be restricted to household members and for residents to just be in contact with those they live with and essential supports.
De Villa said she is using her powers under section 22 of provincial legislation.
De Villa also said that Toronto currently has a 5.9% rate positivity meaning that out of all residents who tested from November 1 to November 7, just shy of 6% tested positive.
“The spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto,” she said.
Mayor John Tory supported the new measures and urged people who attend religious services to have them virtually.
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Tory said that “we are indeed in the second wave and while we knew it was coming this wave continues to build at a pace that is alarming.”
He added that the measures will protect the most vulnerable in long-term care homes and schools, and to keep health systems from being overwhelmed.
According to the mayor, the test positivity rate was 1.3% in September, showing a 4.6% increase to the present numbers.
He noted that rates are higher in younger people, in northwest neighbourhoods of the city and, in elderly populations. Now the rate positivity amongst people who are 80, has increased to 7.9% with more outbreaks occurring in long-term care homes.
“Act like the virus is everywhere because it is everywhere,” he said.
Cases have been reaching record highs in Toronto with 533 cases on Tuesday and 504 on Monday. The total over the last four days is almost 2,000 new cases.
The seven-day moving average has now increased to 352 with active daily outbreaks in institutions averaging 50 a day.
In Ontario’s Red – Control level, social gathering limits remain the same from modified Stage 2 with 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Toronto’s enhanced measures limits social gatherings to household members only.
Also, restaurants and bars can reopen for indoor dining at this level but can only have a maximum of 10 people inside- this will not be the case in Toronto with the added restrictions. However, interior dining spaces in malls will be closed.
When it comes to gyms, there can be 10 people indoors for areas that have weight and exercise equipment. While the province’s guidelines allow for fitness classes to reopen with 10 people indoors, the city has vetoed this option.
To date, there have been 31,908 total cases with 26,814 recovered and 1,411 reported deaths.