To date, there have been 2,563 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. "I am obligated to make that clear", de Villa said on Wednesday. Each region is now still under a stay-at-home order and is awaiting word on what colour zone they can expect to move into when lockdown restrictions are lifted.
"I have never been as anxious about the future as I am today", said Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen De Villa in a grim warning.
Ontario health officials are reporting just over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 as the positivity rate in the province continues to dip amid increased testing.
While we have been able to vaccinate many long-term care and high risk retirement home residents, staff and essential caregivers, we now have a largely unvaccinated population. With uncertainty related to supply, it is unclear when we will be able to continue to vaccinate large portions of the population. As we have seen in other jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom and Ireland, additional measures and strong lockdowns have been required to curb the increase of variant of concern transmission.
Ford's government began gradually lifting the stay-at-home order for parts of the province last week, with restrictions being loosened for the majority of Ontario this week. He added that public health authorities are still asking people to say home except for essential trips. Reopening in any degree influences public perception of risk and may give a false sense of security that the risk is no longer present. All those regions were transitioned back to the province's colour-coded restrictions system. Reg. 73/21 and O. Reg. 89/21) remain in place.
We recognize the importance of balancing economic recovery with protecting the health of the population. The decision, officials said, would allow for more time to ensure schools are reopening safely and to learn more about the super-contagious variants of COVID-19 spreading across the province. However, it is important to recognize the weariness the public is experiencing, particularly those who have been most impacted by COVID-19.
"I know everyone is exhausted, but I also know that we can't afford a third wave and a painful lockdown".
Provincial officials say over 65,000 tests were completed in the last 24 hour period and nearly 17,000 more Ontarians were vaccinated on Thursday.
We encountered an issue signing you up. Dr. Karim Kurji says while the new variants are concerning, an aggressive vaccine strategy, provincial and local restrictions and aggressive enforcement will help keep cases low.
She said there are currently 56 variant COVID-19 cases in Toronto, but there are 283 cases from the city that are still being confirmed in labs right now.
Loh and de Villa have requested the province keep their regions in strict lockdown for another two weeks.
The Progressive Conservative government has defended its decision to proceed with loosening restrictions for most of the province despite warnings it might set off a third wave. More information to come.