Toronto

Stay in your own 'household bubble,' Toronto medical officer of health says

A day after Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced his daughters had visited his home over the Mother’s Day weekend, Toronto’s medical officer of health is advising people to keep interactions within their own households.

Comments come a day after Premier Doug Ford said he had his daughters over

Dr. Eileen de Villa is Toronto's medical officer of health. She says residents should not yet be spending time with people who they don't live with, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rozenn Nicolle/Radio-Canada)

A day after Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced his daughters had visited his home over the Mother's Day weekend, Toronto's medical officer of health is advising people to keep interactions within their own households.

"The current recommendation now is to still stay within your household bubble, as it's come to be known, in order to reduce the likelihood of disease spread throughout our community," Dr. Eileen de Villa said on Metro Morning Tuesday.

"That has been the recommendation for several weeks, it continues to be the recommendation for now in our city."

At his daily COVID-19 news briefing on Monday, Ford said two of his daughters who live in different households visited his home last weekend.

The premier said his family gathering was limited to six people, "direct family" only, with none of his daughters' husbands or boyfriends present.

"I really trust the judgment of the people of Ontario. If you have an elderly mother or father, and their health isn't great, I wouldn't chance it," Ford said.

"I'd keep with immediate family. That would be my recommendation. I wouldn't get into the big gatherings. That just can't happen. We want to keep it with immediate family just for a little bit longer."

Ford made the comments just days after Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, expressed concern that some 55 per cent of new coronavirus infections are still being contracted through community spread.

De Villa said Tuesday that community spread actually most often means "household spread," through close contact with another person who has the virus.

"When we look at our Toronto data, the greatest risk factor is being the household contact of somebody who actually has COVID-19," she said.

Other places, like Newfoundland and New Brunswick, for example, have allowed residents to expand their "bubbles" to include other households — though it's important to note those provinces have drastically lower case counts when compared to Ontario.

Ontario reported 361 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, meaning the province has now seen 20,907 infections since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus began in late January. Nearly 74 per cent of those cases are now resolved.

"I think this is a very human desire to want to do that, to connect with other families, or to connect with our extended family," de Villa said.

"But at this time, that's not the recommendation."

 

With files from Metro Morning

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