Ontario reports 1,534 COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths
Number of new infections remains high 1 day before 2 public health units move into lockdown
Ontario reported 1,534 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, along with 14 new deaths.
The new daily case count comes one day before Toronto and Peel region are set to move into lockdown on Monday at 12:01 a.m. for at least 28 days.
In the Greater Toronto Area, there are 490 new cases in Peel Region, 460 in Toronto and 130 in York Region.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 1,429 more cases are marked as resolved and nearly 46,400 tests have been completed.
A record-breaking 1,588 cases were reported on Saturday.
Currently there are 484 people in hospital and 147 people in intensive care units (ICU). Of those in the ICU, 89 are on a ventilator.
According to the province, other public health units that reported double-digit case increases include:
- Hamilton: 66.
- Durham Region: 50.
- Waterloo: 54.
- Halton Region: 48.
- Ottawa: 32.
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30.
- Windsor: 29.
- Simcoe Muskoka: 24.
- Niagara: 22.
- Grey-Bruce: 16.
- Brant: 12.
- Thunder Bay: 11.
- Haldimand-Norfolk: 10.
Elsewhere in the province, Durham and Waterloo regions are moving into the red-control zones on Monday, while Huron-Perth, Simcoe-Muskoka, southwestern Ontario and Windsor are moving to the orange-restrict zone on Monday.
Premier urges shoppers not to panic buy
Officials are urging residents to avoid panic buying. The warning comes after shoppers gathered Saturday in malls in Toronto and Peel region ahead of Monday's lockdown that will see shopping centres shuttered.
"We know this is a difficult time, but we need everyone to be patient and ensure there isn't unneeded pressure on our supply chains. Please don't stockpile or panic buy," said Premier Doug Ford in a statement to CBC News, when asked about increased crowds this weekend.
Several malls in the Greater Toronto Area announced extended hours for Saturday and Sunday ahead of Monday's lockdown.
WATCH | What you need to know about lockdown restrictions
Malls will be limited to curbside pickup or delivery only starting on Monday as part of new restrictions.
Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Scarborough Town Centre will now be open until 9 p.m. on Sunday. Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga will be open until 9 p.m. this weekend as well.
Increased crowds gathered at malls on Saturday and parking lots were packed with cars.
When asked about concerns about an influx of shoppers and whether malls are doing enough to control crowds, Cadillac Fairview told CBC News that the health of employees, clients and guests are its "first priority."
"While this is disappointing news for our community, with everything we know right now, we believe this is the best course of action amid the current COVID-19 environment," Cadillac Fairview said about the lockdown.
"We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and work with provincial and public health authorities as required."
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and researcher based at Toronto General Hospital, said seeing more people visit malls this weekend is to be expected ahead of a lockdown.
"It's really important people have what they need, because we're not supposed to be leaving our houses much and we're only going to be going out for essential goods and essential services. We've got to prepare for this," he said.
The regions that are going into lockdown contain thousands of people who had 48 hours to get their affairs in order, he said.
Brampton needs 'real help' for essential workers: mayor
In an interview on Sunday with the CBC's Rosemary Barton, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said discussions from other levels of government about shutting down restaurants and retailers ignore what residents really need to combat COVID-19.
"I'm exhausted about having debates about that, when the real help we need is an isolation centre for our essential workers, sick benefits for people who are frankly going to work with symptoms because they can't afford to miss a paycheque," he said.
Brampton neighbourhoods that are seeing a high number of COVID-19 infections also house a higher proportion of factory workers and essential workers. There have been 116 workplace outbreaks in industrial settings in the city, Brown said.
Dr. Amanpreet Brar, a general surgery resident physician, told CBC News that she is concerned about her mother who works in a Brampton factory. The lack of paid sick leave, especially for temporary workers in industrial settings, creates ripe conditions for the virus to spread, she said.
Workplace inequities is one factor. Secondly, housing: overcrowded basement apartments and houses due to lack of affordable housing and child day care services. Unsung essential pandemic heroes struggling on minimum wage <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/onpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#onpoli</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/NaheedD?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NaheedD</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/COVIDzeroCanada?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@COVIDzeroCanada</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ananya_tb?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ananya_tb</a> 2/4—@iPreetBrar
In response to Brar's concerns, Brown said Brampton desperately needs an isolation centre for essential workers who do not have space at home to isolate properly. "I needed that yesterday, I needed that three months ago," he said.
He said he has spoken to provincial and federal levels of government about the importance of sick leave, saying people are forced to go into work because they can't miss a paycheque, even if they are sick.
Industrial sectors are not shutting down and governments have not adequately dealt with the challenges for workers that are coming out of that industry, he said.
"There's some scapegoat of some of these essential workers and people living in Brampton," he said. "You need to thank one of these essential workers. They're going to work, they're taking on a higher risk and we need to have their back. The very least we can do is sick benefits and an isolation centre."
Brown said, while the province has given 70 more public health workers and two more testing centres, other levels of government need to work more quickly to address Brampton's concerns.
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.
- A previous version of this story stated that Bill C-4, "An Act relating to certain measures in response to COVID-19," was still making its way through the Senate. In fact, Bill C-4 received royal assent on Oct. 2, 2020.Nov 23, 2020 9:29 AM ET
With files from The Canadian Press