toronto covid cases

Toronto told public health interventions could take weeks to show benefits

Toronto residents were shocked and disheartened this weekend when, more than two weeks after gyms, bars and indoor restaurants were forced to close again, new cases of COVID-19 hit a record daily high of 1,042 infections across Ontario.

Sunday's provincial data drop marked the first time we'd ever seen daily case numbers surpass the four-figure mark, and of the more than 1,000 cases reported, 309 were from Toronto.

Have the sacrifices of so many business owners and employees been for nothing?

It's still too early to say, according to Mayor John Tory.

"We knew the recent public health interventions would take two to three weeks until we would start to see the benefits of such action and just as importantly for the effects of the Thanksgiving weekend to show," said Tory in a statement on Sunday after Ontario's Ministry of Health reported the new record-high case increase.

"That is why we urged public health officials to provide advice on measures that would help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community and why we urged the province to adopt those measures," Tory continued.

"I am still hopeful that some positive results from the interventions will begin to show themselves in the coming days especially in light of the sacrifices being made by so many."

As Tory alluded to, some of the measures currently in place for Toronto and other hot spot regions had been recommended by local public health officials long before Ontario reached a new record increase rate of 939 new infections overnight on October 9.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that very afternoon that public health regions with higher than average rates of transmission — Toronto, Peel and Ottawa — would be pushed back into a modified version of Stage 2 reopening plans.

On October 10 at 12:01 a.m., gyms, casinos, cinemas, tourist attractions and the indoor dining areas of bars, restaurants and clubs were shut down in all three regions for at least 28 days.

York Region joined the hot spot club on October 19. Durham and Halton will find out later today whether or not they're next, and with case numbers once again on the uptick province-wide, residents fear that further restrictions could be put in place across all public health regions.

Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, continues to ask that residents only leave their homes for essential trips, and that they avoid contact with anyone outside their own household.

"The most valuable contributions individual Torontonians can make right now is to follow public health advice to stop the spread of the virus: wear a mask, wash your hands, and, except for work and school, only spend time with the people you live with," said Tory on Sunday.

"We are working non-stop to confront the COVID-19 virus," the mayor continued.

"This weekend, I have spoken repeatedly with Dr. de Villa, Premier Ford, health experts and community leaders to continue to coordinate our ongoing response so that we can get through this current resurgence and help affected businesses reopen safely."

Ford is expected to announce on Monday afternoon if further restrictions will be put into place for hotspot regions, or for those beyond the GTA and Ottawa.

Lead photo by

Dominic Bugatto

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