Ontario reports 1,588 COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths, breaking previous record
Saturday's daily case count for the province beats previous high set on Nov. 14
Ontario reported 1,588 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, along with 21 new deaths.
The new daily case count for the province is the highest seen in the pandemic so far, ahead of the 1,581 cases reported on Nov. 14.
In the Greater Toronto Area, there are 522 new cases in Peel Region, 450 in Toronto and 153 in York Region.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 1,363 more cases are marked as resolved and nearly 46,700 tests have been completed.
There are currently 513 people in hospital and 146 people in intensive care units — with 87 of those individuals on a ventilator.
Other public health units that reported double-digit case increases, according to the province, include:
- Durham Region: 56
- Halton Region: 53
- Windsor: 47
- Hamilton: 47
- Waterloo: 42
- Ottawa: 36
- Niagara: 34
- Middlesex-London: 26
- Simcoe Muskoka: 26
- Brant: 23
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 19
Lockdown begins Monday for Peel and Toronto
At a news conference on Friday, Premier Doug Ford announced that Toronto and Peel Region would move into lockdown at 12:01 a.m. on Monday. The lockdown will last at least 28 days, and Ford said it is necessary to curb growing numbers of COVID-19 cases.
The province also said it will fine people $750 for any violations of public health rules.
"Further action is required to prevent the worst-case scenario," Ford told reporters. He said the virus is spreading like "wildfire" and that "this is not where we want to be."
"In this darkest hour, we see what we're made of. We will endure, we will persevere, and we will get through this," he said.
WATCH | Health Minister Christine Elliott explains what's open and closed:
Elsewhere in the province, Durham and Waterloo regions are moving into the red-control zones, while Huron-Perth, Simcoe-Muskoka, southwestern Ontario and Windsor are moving to the orange-restrict zone on Monday.
Lockdown measures for Toronto and Peel include:
- No indoor gatherings with anyone outside a person's household.
- Individuals who live alone can have close contact with one other household.
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.
- Restaurants are limited to takeout, drive-thru and delivery only.
- Religious services, funerals and weddings are limited to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors.
- Gyms are closed.
- Non-essential retail and malls are limited to curbside pickup or delivery only.
- Personal-care services, casinos and bingo halls are closed.
- Post-secondary institutions move to virtual instruction, with some exceptions, such as clinical training.
- Pharmacies, doctor and dentist offices, grocery stores, essential services remain open.
- Schools will also remain open.
On Friday, Toronto Mayor John Tory expressed his support for the new lockdown measures at a news conference.
Tory said the city sent a letter to the province earlier this week asking for further restrictions. The mayor thanked Ford and his cabinet for making the announcement.
"We asked the province for further actions because the numbers continue to go in the wrong direction," Tory told reporters at city hall.
"We have to stop this virus now to save lives, protect our most vulnerable and, ultimately, to protect our economy," he said.
"We can't have a healthy economy and build back better if people are sick and continue to get sick in greater and greater numbers. We simply cannot have a healthy economy without healthy people."
He also said the municipality is working with other levels of government to expand supports for those hard hit by COVID-19, particularly in the northwest end of the city.
The <a href="https://twitter.com/cityoftoronto?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cityoftoronto</a> is working closely with our provincial and federal government partners to expand supports for these heavily impacted residents of our city and we will have more to share on this in the coming days.—@JohnTory
Additional measures in place in Peel and Toronto
In an update on Saturday, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she agrees with the provincial government that a lockdown is necessary.
"The sobering reality is that COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been rising at an alarming rate in Mississauga over the last month, and I firmly believe these new measures are the only way we can avoid school closures, further spread in our long-term care homes and overburdening our hospitals. It is the only way to avoid preventable deaths in Mississauga," she said in a news release.
In addition to the restrictions imposed by the province, Mississauga will implement the following measures:
- City community centres, including pools, fitness centres and arenas, will close.
- All indoor team sport activities, indoor in–person recreation programs — including pools, arenas, fitness and culture programs — will be cancelled (child-care facilities and other essential services will remain open).
- Cultural facilities will close.
- Public counters will be restricted to appointment only
- The library will offer limited services, including contactless holds pickup inside branches.
- Most services offered at city hall will be closed, with exceptions being made for mobile, business and marriage licences, which will be offered in-person, by appointment only.
Toronto similarly announced its own additional restrictions on Friday. Already closed or prohibited are Indoor dining, meeting and event spaces, casinos, bingo halls and indoor fitness classes.
Additional measures include:
- Closing all outdoor dining and patios. Takeout, drive-thru and delivery options remain available and are strongly encouraged to support local businesses.
- Closing malls, except for essential businesses.
- Closing all non-essential retail, except for curbside pickup; large retailers with a grocery section can remain open at 50 per cent capacity,
- Limiting big-box stores and essential businesses to 50 per cent capacity.
- Closing all indoor gyms and recreational programs, with some city-operated community centres open for community supports, such as food banks.
- Closing all hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and tattoo parlours.
"Having family or friends who are not members of your household in your home for a social visit is prohibited under provincial orders. Essential support workers and emergency repair persons are exempt," the city said in a news release on Friday.
Malls extend hours in anticipation of increase in visitors
Prior to Monday's lockdown for Toronto and Peel Region, several malls in the Greater Toronto Area are extending their hours Saturday and Sunday in anticipation of a rush of visitors.
Malls will be limited to curbside pickup or delivery only starting Monday as part of the new restrictions.
Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Scarborough Town Centre will now be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. this weekend as well.
Yorkdale is extending operating hours this weekend to safely manage an anticipated increase in visitors and to minimize congestion in the shopping centre. Our extended hours of 11am-9pm will make it more convenient for customers to avoid the peak shopping period between 1pm-4pm. <a href="https://t.co/5qSfKD0JVP">pic.twitter.com/5qSfKD0JVP</a>—@YorkdaleStyle
The malls are looking to encourage shoppers to avoid visiting at peak hours, which are typically from 1 to 4 p.m. on weekends, as they expect an influx of people will want to get their shopping done prior to lockdown, they said in a media release.
They said the shopping centres have worked closely with public health officials, and they encourage shoppers to use live chat features and mapping tools to plan out visits in advance.
The closing of malls comes as many people have begun their holiday shopping.
Travel to other regions discouraged prior to lockdown
Some regions are asking residents not to travel to areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases, and are asking people from hot spots not to tour less afflicted parts of the province.
The health unit for Prince Edward County and Belleville, Ont., urged people on Friday evening to avoid all non-essential travel, especially to and from areas with higher rates of COVID-19, to help the region stay in the green zone.
The region has 15 active cases of COVID-19, 14 of which are new cases reported in the last week, said the local health authority.
That means about 8.3 people per 100,000 in the region have COVID-19. If the rate rises to 10 per 100,000 people, Hastings and Prince Edward counties could enter the yellow zone.
Markham, Ont., Mayor Frank Scarpitti on Friday asked Toronto and Peel residents not to travel to York Region to gather or for holiday shopping.
The positivity rate in York Region is about six per cent, and the area opted against a possible lockdown, due to "high compliance" by the public and businesses.
But the region is calling on the province to tighten red zone rules around shopping centres, which it says is needed now that nearby Toronto and Peel will soon be in lockdown.
Closure of small businesses a 'punch to the gut': CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which represents 110,000 small and medium-sized businesse across the country, said Friday the news of a lockdown is devastating to business owners in Toronto and Peel Region.
"It is outrageous that today's restrictions once again create an unfair advantage for big-box operators like Walmart and Costco, leaving Main Street retailers to shoulder the burden alone," the federation said in a statement.
"That large department stores can be open while small retailers are forced to close during the busiest season of the year is a direct punch to the gut of independent businesses."
The organization also called on the province to provide full financial support to small businesses to ensure they can reopen, instead of having to close down for good following the lockdown.
"Current supports are a drop in the bucket — the province must open up its wallet to support small businesses through the lockdown period," the federation said.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called on the Ford government on Saturday to provide more supports for small businesses as COVID-19 hot spots head into a new lockdown.
Small businesses are suffering, and another lockdown with little-to-no support from the Ford government is not the holiday season they deserve. <br><br>I'm calling on Ford to support our plan that gives small businesses the help they deserve while following lock-down guidelines.—@AndreaHorwath
Her statement came as some small businesses have said they've been evicted, despite a provincial ban on commercial evictions.
Ford announced $600 million in funding on Friday for businesses affected by the new lockdown measures.
6 cases linked to fitness classes in Aurora
On Saturday, York Region Public Health announced that six cases of COVID-19 have been linked to fitness classes in Aurora, Ont.
The public health unit said the six attended fitness classes at Aurora Fit Body Boot Camp, at 255 Industrial Parkway South, between Monday, Nov. 9, and Saturday, Nov. 14.
With files from Olivia Bowden and Laura Glowacki