Toronto is reporting the highest single-day death count since the second COVID-19 wave began with 22.
On Wednesday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said that 21 of the deaths occurred in long-term care homes. And since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,100 deaths in long-term care and retirement homes.
There has been a total of 1,490 reported deaths in the city.
“We need to limit our exposure to people we don’t live with,” de Villa said. “This is the risk of socializing, the virus can enter settings without you knowing.”
Toronto’s top doctor also noted that the positivity rate, or the number of people who receive a positive test, has increased to 6.2% — a week ago it was 5.9%. The number is considered alarming when it surpasses 3%.
She added that the positivity rate is 7.5% in teenagers aged 14 to 17 and 8.2% in 18 to 23 year olds.
“For parents this is something to think about seriously,” she said.
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Mayor John Tory reiterated the importance for parents to ensure their children are not socializing with friends after school, or spending time in the mall, imploring them to ensure younger people are “careful for the next few months.”
“We are seeing increased test positivity in young people,” Tory said. He added that the City has tried to reach more people with messaging in TikTok, where his videos have almost reached one million views.
The mayor also asked that employers “please step up and take action on your workplace” to ensure that everyone is following public health measures.
And for any who are worried that they might not get a paycheck or could be fired if they contract the virus, Tory asked for the private sector to not punish employees if they need to take time off work.
On Wednesday there were 445 new COVID-19 cases reported with 191 hospitalized and 44 in ICU.
Toronto moved into the red zone on November 14 but has additional restrictions imposed by de Villa. These include closing indoor dining, fitness classes, cinemas, and reducing gatherings to just immediate households with one or two essential supports.
However, Premier Doug Ford said that new stringent measures could come to hotspots like Toronto, Peel, and York Region, as soon as Friday, to curb the spread of the virus.