TORONTO – Toronto is at a critical juncture in the spread of COVID-19, with the virus spreading in a serious way. At today’s COVID-19 update, Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, asked Torontonians to carefully plan their Thanksgiving and advised everyone to limit contact to the people they live with. The Medical Officer of Health urged people to not hold a big Thanksgiving dinner and please limit Thanksgiving dinner to people living in the same household. For those that live alone, the safest option is to join with others virtually. Mayor John Tory asked all people to comply with public health advice, stressing responsible behaviour right now presents the best chance of more normal holiday celebrations later in the year.
There are 20,941 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 301 new cases today. There are 77 people hospitalized. In total, 17,246 people have recovered from COVID-19. To date, there have been 1,305 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.
The City continues to work closely with the provincial and federal governments. As Toronto Public Health looks at ways to interrupt transmission and reduce infection rates, the Province of Ontario has supplied additional resources for contact tracing and case management – complex processes that require great compassion and expertise. The Province also released new amendments to the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA), that align with City bylaws:
• Mandatory masks or face coverings for businesses and organizations for indoor areas accessible to the public and common areas, including vehicles and domestic settings like apartments and shelters
• 50-person limit in banquet halls and event spaces with seating limited to six people per table
• 50-person limit in gyms and fitness centres with indoor classes limited to 10 people per room
• Contact tracing information including full name, address, and phone number for every restaurant and bar patron
Under the ROA, private gatherings in Toronto remain limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. This includes social gatherings in private residences, backyards, parks, and other recreational areas for parties, dinners, barbecues, and wedding receptions. In bars and restaurants, the City bylaw limiting capacity to 75 patrons comes into effect on October 8. The bylaw also requires contact tracing information for each patron and that music be no louder than the level of conversation. People are reminded that while going to bars and restaurants is legally permitted, public health advice remains to only go out for essential reasons and practice physical distancing from those not in your household.
The City’s COVID-19 enforcement team continues to respond to complaints and enforce provincial orders and bylaws across the city, including in bars, restaurants and parks. From Friday to Sunday, the City received 50 complaints related to parks use and physical distancing and 127 complaints related to businesses. Officers issued three tickets and 15 notices to businesses and one ticket related to park usage. Preliminary numbers indicate 23 complaints related to gatherings on private property, with eight notices issued.
All people in Toronto should be adopting steps for self-protection. Individuals should only consider leaving their homes for essential activities such as work, education and fitness. As much as possible, residents are asked to limit contact with people not in the same household, keep at least six feet apart from people not in the same household and wear a mask when outside of their homes, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult. Residents should wash hands frequently and remain at home when ill. Toronto Public Health also encourages residents to download the COVID Alert app, which can help to notify individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 in the community.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports, and economic recovery measures. Check http://www.toronto.ca/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.