Ontario Reports 650 New Cases of COVID-19 on August 20, 2021

COVID Update

TORONTO – COVID-19 UPDATE – Ontario has reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases, with 650 new cases reported on Friday, in over two months.

Hotspots for the COVID-19 Virus are Toronto with 136 cases. There were 113 cases in the Peel Region, 63 cases reported are in York Region.

There are 55 are in Hamilton, 25 in Durham Region, and 19 are in Halton Region.

Windsor-Essex had 58 cases and Middlesex-London had 39 cases

Growing numbers of transmission of COVID-19 continue with a Delta Variant-driven fourth wave.

Officials with the Ontario Ministry of Health report there were 650 new cases of the virus confirmed by the province’s labs on Thursday, up from 510 at this time last week.

The rolling seven-day average, which better accounts for fluctuations in day-to-day testing volumes, now stands at 518. That’s up nearly 30 per cent from this time last week and up by 142 per cent from two weeks ago.

The rate of growth has slowed down from earlier this month when cases were doubling every eight days but the Ontario science table still pegs Ontario’s reproductive number at 1.17.

That means that for every 100 people infected they are passing the virus on to approximately 117 other people.

The growth in cases has, in turn, prompted a number of levels of government and businesses to institute mandatory vaccination employees, including the City of Toronto which has given its roughly 37,000 workers until Oct. 30 to be fully immunized.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, is strongly recommending local employers institute a workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and the public from COVID-19.

As part of the City of Toronto’s ongoing response to the pandemic, Toronto Public Health is launching a workplace toolkit including guidance on developing a workplace vaccination policy. The policy should explain its purpose, specific actions workers must take including providing proof of vaccination status or a medical exemption, and timelines.

The resources launched today will also allow Toronto businesses to apply to host an on-site vaccination clinic. Toronto Public Health will follow-up with applicants to discuss eligibility for an onsite clinic.

Dr. de Villa and Toronto Public Health strongly recommend that workplace vaccination policies require at minimum:
• Workers to provide proof of their vaccination series approved by Health Canada or the World Health Organization
• Unvaccinated employees to provide written proof of a medical reason from a physician or nurse practitioner that includes whether the reason is permanent or time-limited
• Unvaccinated workers to complete a vaccination education course on the risks of being unvaccinated in the workplace

Employers should also identify how workers’ vaccination status information will be collected and protected in accordance with privacy legislation and explain the level of risk posed by COVID-19 in each unique workplace setting.

de Villa says, she is strongly recommending all employers in the city to implement their own vaccination policies.

“I think its sensible and I think it is an indication of how seriously we have to take because we know the one thing that none of us want for sure is to go back to a time when we were having to lock things down or to put a situation in place whereby children at school, children in hospitals or adults are at risk of contracting this virus,” says Toronto Mayor John Tory. “We’ve seen in the United States, we’ve seen in Europe that the vast, vast majority like we’re talking 98 or 99 per cent, of people who are hospitalized and those who are dying are people who were not fully vaccinated or weren’t vaccinated at all. So if this is the best weapon we have against a Delta variant that is a threat and causing great consternation and problems in Europe and the U.S then we need to be armed against that.”

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