1 in 3 new COVID-19 cases in Toronto are young people, says de Villa

Toronto's Medical Office of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said Monday that younger people account for a concerning number of recent cases of COVID-19.

Toronto saw 670 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths on Monday

Toronto Mayor John Tory speaks during a news conference on Feb 29, 2020. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

Younger people account for a concerning number of recent COVID-19 cases, warned Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa on Monday.

The city reported 670 new cases of COVID-19 — the most anywhere in the province. There were 302 people in hospital, including 53 in the ICU, and two more deaths, said de Villa.

Just shy of 35 per cent of new cases were people aged 20 to 39.

"Anecdotally, I am hearing from colleagues at Toronto hospitals that increasingly admissions are of younger people and often directly to the ICU," de Villa said at a Monday press conference.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the Toronto's medical officer of health. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Toronto has also now seen a total of 7,752 cases of variants of concern, de Villa said.

She said the data paints a picture of "worsening resurgence and escalating cases" and warned that the virus could spread further with Good Friday and Ramadan approaching. 

"Now is not the time to gather. We are not well enough protected," she said.

This past Christmas, the seven-day moving average increased from 660 cases to about 1,000 cases in two weeks, said de Villa.

"There is no reason to believe that history won't repeat itself," she said. "In fact, we have every reason to believe it could be worse given the transmissibility of variants of concern."

Toronto to provide at-home vaccinations 

Health-care workers have administered 481,000 vaccine doses at 19 clinics in Toronto as of Monday, said Mayor John Tory.

"There is no time better than the present to get this protection," Tory said.

Toronto will now provide homebound vaccinations for people who can't leave their homes due to physical, social or mental barriers, said Tory. About 3,500 residents are eligible and will be contacted by their home care agency or primary care provider.

Ontarians aged 75 and up, some accompanied by relatives and caregivers, attend a COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic at the East York Town Centre mall, in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood, on March 24, 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Two more mass vaccination sites opened in Toronto Monday, and anyone 70 or over can book a spot. The mass vaccination sites now running are:

  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre
  • Toronto Congress Centre
  • Scarborough Town Centre
  • Malvern Community Recreation Centre
  • Mitchell Field Arena

Mayors and regional chairs from the 11 largest regions in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including Tory, called on the Ontario and federal governments to provide additional vaccine supply on Monday.

"We are saying as a region, as one, as 11 municipalities, that this is a hot spot," Tory said

"We were unanimous in asking that that be taken into account for vaccination allocations along with other hotspot regions in the country."

Vaccination clinics seeing short wait times, fire chief says 

Toronto Fire Chief and head of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg said there were 42,000 vaccinations this week at five city-run mass immunization clinics.

He added that lines are now short for most patients.

"The majority of clients are in and out of the clinics in about 30 minutes," he said.

Anyone born in 1951 or earlier can now book their vaccination through the online booking system or by calling 1-888-999-6488.

For more information on how to book a COVID-19 vaccine, check out this guide: