coronavirus in toronto

25% of COVID-19 cases in Toronto now attributed to community transmission

The 2019 novel coronavirus continues to spread at an exponential rate in Toronto, with 339 cases confirmed by the city as of 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, revealed the latest figures in her daily COVID-19 briefing this afternoon alongside Toronto Fire Services Chief Matthew Pegg and Toronto Mayor John Tory, who himself just finished a 14-day-long self-quarantine period after travelling internationally.

With an increase of 31 cases relative to yesterday, Toronto just saw its highest one-day jump in COVID-19 patients to date — and officials aren't taking it lightly.

De Villa noted during her press conference that approximately 25 per cent of all cases in Toronto can now be attributed to community transmission, as opposed to travel or close contact with a recent traveller.

The fact that the virus is now spreading quickly between Torontonians is of grave concern to city officials, who are now warning of stronger restrictions on public life if social distancing reccomendations aren't followed.

"We continue unfortunately to see COVID-19 cases in our community that have affected our most vulnerable residents," said de Villa. "And this is why we have worked hard to increase physical distancing actions."

With 22 people now hospitalized, 10 in intensive care and four dead, de Villa says "we have to implement social or physical distancing measures to protect our community at this critical point in time."

"If people do not follow these protective measures," she said, "then stronger ones affecting our civil liberties will be out in place to protect our city."

Canada-wide, more than half all coronavirus cases are now thought to be spread in the community from an unknown source (read: with no link to travel or a previously-confirmed case.)

Ontario has been less forthcoming with its transmission statistics, listing the method of infection as "pending" for all cases that aren't related to travel or close contact so far.

The only way to minimize the spread of the deadly virus locally is by practicing strict social distancing (staying home, avoiding crowds and standing at least two metres from other people, to start.)

To help encourage this behaviour, various levels of government have put emergency measures into place such as shutting down schools, non-essential businesses and, as of yesterday in Toronto, public park amenities.

"In the event of community transmission, these actions will continue as long as feasible to interrupt chains of transmission in the community and to delay and reduce an outbreak where possible," reads the federal government's COVID-19 resource site.

May we all do our parts to ensure community transmission slows to a halt before we are actually put into lockdown.

Lead photo by

City of Toronto

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