It seems that academics are not the only thing returning this fall, as the Greater Toronto Area is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 case numbers yet again.
As stage three of the pandemic is in full effect, it appears that we may have gotten more than we bargained for as far as containing the virus goes. Ontario has officially reported the most cases in the province since June.
Health Minister Christine Elliott reported Monday that on Sunday, September 13, a total of 313 new cases emerged, the majority of which are in Toronto and the Peel Region. Elliott added that just over two-thirds of the cases are in people under the age of 40, and that it is a “disturbing and significant increase.”
Ontario has now gone two full weeks with case numbers at triple digits.
Despite continuous efforts from public officials, the general population is not adhering to safety guidelines as much as would be desired. The result yielded outbreaks across Ontario—one of which occurred in the York region.
York Region Public Health recently reported that a single wedding led to a spike of 23 confirmed cases. Eighteen of the cases are reported to be in the York Region, four in Durham Region and one in Peel Region. The events tied to the wedding took place in the last weekend of August at a residence in Whitchurch-Stouffville, a private residence in Markham, Rexdale Singh Sabha Religious Centre in Toronto, and Lakshmi Narayan Mandir Temple in Toronto.
Ontario has now gone two full weeks with case numbers at triple digits, and as children return to school and many adults find their way back to the workplace, this uptick is the last news that anyone wants to hear.
It was recently announced that Ontario would pause further reopening for another four weeks.
“I personally think people have gotten a lot more relaxed with COVID-19 after seeing relatively low numbers throughout July and August,” says Hartaj Brar, a fourth-year computer science student. “I believe people have begun to let their guard down as signs have looked encouraging.
“Furthermore, as restrictions were eased, people felt like they’ve been let out of a cage and begun to have gatherings that went against public health guidelines. I’m hoping that people will see the uptick in numbers and begin to take the precautions more seriously.”
Brar is not the only one who feels this way. It was also recently announced that Ontario would pause further reopening for another four weeks. Elliott cited that the latest trend in case numbers was a “concern” and that the decision to ease back on restrictions was not taken lightly.
When it comes to the York Region specifically, pharmacist Anju Vyas who works in the Department of Complex Malignant Hematology at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, urges people to continue taking the same actions they were taking earlier.
“Your every action counts. For fear of sounding redundant, wash and sanitize hands often, wear a mask anytime you are indoors with others or in situations where you cannot maintain social distancing and lastly, avoid crowds. Do spend time outdoors, exercise and find ways to detox and connect in other ways with friends and family whenever you can,” says Vyas.
At the time of publication, Ontario reported an additional 251 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.