Dr. de Villa explained the per cent positivity figure for Toronto – the percentage of positive cases of COVID-19 per 100 individuals tested in a given week – is 4.4 per cent, for the period from October 11 to October 17, 2020. The percent positivity was 3.2 per cent from October 4 to 10, 2020. This per cent positivity data is updated on a weekly basis. Because the incubation period is 14 days, it can take around two weeks to observe if new infections are on the decline. The impact of provincial restrictions and changes in the provincial testing strategy may also take time to impact trends.
Toronto Public Health expects the number to continue to grow, particularly given the experience of case growth in other countries. Rising numbers in other countries have led to measures including a six-week lockdown in Ireland. In addition, there will be a nighttime curfew in Paris and other cities in France.
As seen in the first wave, there were many small peaks and dips, which can be dependent on factors including who is getting testing, how many people are getting tested, and active outbreaks that are identified. Toronto Public Health knows that the public health measures work, as seen when Toronto residents managed to flatten the curve in the first wave. The choices people in Toronto make now will help prevent increasing COVID-19 spread and more restrictive public health measures.
A big part of outsmarting the virus is getting a flu vaccination. A flu shot is free for anyone six months of age and older who lives, works or goes to school in Ontario. Flu shots are available through family doctors, at participating pharmacies and at Toronto Public Health clinics. The flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, but it will protect people from the flu or reduce the severity of illness from the flu. It will also prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed with additional patient visits, and it may even reduce the need for COVID-19 testing, as the symptoms are very similar. More information is available online: https://www.toronto.ca/flu.
All people in Toronto should also be adopting steps for self-protection. Dr. de Villa recommends individuals only consider leaving their homes for essential activities such as work, education and fresh air and exercise. 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.
Province of Ontario regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act set social gathering and organized public event limits at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, prohibit indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, limit capacity for certain activities, prohibit games and scrimmages for sports teams and more.
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. Yesterday, the City received 20 complaints related to parks use and physical distancing, 52 complaints related to businesses and one complaint related to gatherings on private property. Officers issued two notices to non-compliant businesses.
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.