“It is now reasonable that we should prepare for an extended period of potentially worrying and disheartening numbers in terms of COVID-19 infections in Toronto,” said Dr Eileen de Villa.
Toronto reported a record 1,069 new cases on Wednesday, breaking a previous record of 957 cases set a day earlier.
It is the fourth record this month and Villa said the latest data indicates infections are spreading throughout the city.
“The level of infection is such that every neighborhood in Toronto meets the province’s criteria for designation as the red zone,” de Villa said.
She said it was too early to say for sure whether the Christmas gatherings played a role in the rise in the number of infections, data collected in the days leading up to the holidays between December 14 and December 20 indicate that ‘about one in five people have caught the virus. had met in a private house with people who were not members of their household. And that number could be a low estimate.
“We’re concerned that these results actually underestimate the degree to which people mingled while on vacation,” de Villa said.
De Villa noted that since November 8, the city has also seen a 55% increase in the seven-day moving average for hospitalizations.
She said Toronto Public Health will introduce new measures for workplaces next week to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
“These steps in Toronto Public Health are aimed at creating as much distance and safety as possible while respecting the need for many people to work, and many companies are rightly allowed to continue operating in order to supply the goods and services that we all need in everyday life. Said de Villa.
She also urged people to do their part to stop the spread.
“For all of us, we have no choice but to resolve to stay on the sidelines as much as possible to limit the spread at those levels, or at any level,” de Villa said. “It’s possible, but it takes resolve, patience and conviction. We can lower the level of the virus. ”
The city also reported four new deaths on Wednesday.
During the briefing, Mayor John Tory pointed out that 78 Torontonians have died from COVID-19 since Christmas Eve and urged people not to gather during the New Year.
“Imagine losing a loved one on Christmas. Seventy-eight Toronto families have had to endure this this year, and we offer our condolences to all of those grieving families, ”said Tory. “We are still a long way from gaining the upper hand with this deadly virus and we have another chance to show how much better we can do to follow public health advice with the upcoming New Year’s Eve and the weekend ahead. .
De Villa urged people not to accept the vaccine rollout slated for 2021 as permission to stop tracking infection prevention measures or give up due to the surge in numbers.
“Now is the time to focus on the steps of our own protection and the protection of others, as the risks around us intensify,” she said. “The next few months cannot be seen as a mere lapse of time between vaccine trial results and needles in our arms or just waiting until it’s our turn for the vaccine.
“We have to be active, we have to be vigilant, determined and patient as we wait our turn. I urge you to redouble your efforts to separate yourselves.
She said staying away from others as much as possible was the best way to prevent the spread of the virus and ultimately lower the numbers.
“It’s not impossible and it won’t be easy. We need to be clear about this as we move into the New Year, ”said de Villa. “However, it can be done and we can do it. It is not a question of whether we can. But we have to win this one.