Toronto moves closer to Stage 2 of reopening with steady decrease in COVID-19 cases

Toronto continues to see a steady decrease in COVID-19 cases, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said Friday.

To date, 11, 611 people have recovered, city's medical officer of health says

Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa says she's encouraged to see the daily case numbers for COVID-19 continue to decline. (CBC)

Toronto continues to see a steady decrease in COVID-19 cases and is inching closer to Stage 2 of reopening, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said Friday.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, de Villa said there were 54 new COVID-19 cases in Toronto, adding that she's encouraged to see the daily case number continuing to decline.

"We have continued to see a steady decrease in our local COVID-19 cases and I'm encouraged by this good news, which is the result of your continued efforts," de Villa said, addressing Torontonians about the job they've done following public health edicts and recommendations.

"I'm also pleased to share that to date, 11,611 people have recovered, an increase of 110 since yesterday."

14 consecutive days of decline, closer to Stage 2

On another positive note, de Villa reported that the COVID-19 monitoring dashboard was updated Friday, and it shows the seven-day moving average of new cases has hit the goal of 14 days of consecutive decline.

"Within this achievement, the virus spread and containment section of our dashboard has now been updated from a yellow to green status," she said.

"Further progress is still needed in this area, and as such our overall status remains yellow.

"However, given that we are at gold for three out of four indicator categories, we should soon be able to join other communities across the province in Stage 2 of reopening our city," de Villa added

Premier Doug Ford said as of Friday, June 19, the following areas of the province will move into stage two:

  • Durham.
  • Hamilton.
  • York.
  • Halton.
  • Niagara.
  • Haldimand-Norfolk.
  • Sarnia-Lambton County.

For regions in Stage two, shopping malls can reopen, restaurants and bars can serve customers seated outdoors, barber shops, hair salons and tattoo parlors can operate, and swimming pools and campgrounds can reopen.

De Villa said residents should continue to follow the guidelines, including wearing a cloth mask and practising social distancing.

"As we move towards Stage 2 of reopening our city and more people are mixing and moving around, the last action I'm asking you to take is to keep track of where you are when you're outside your home," she said.

"Whether it's by using a mobile app like the one announced yesterday, or keeping a log of where you have been by taking photos with your phone with your location settings on, or simply by recording your activities in a daily log or calendar."

If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, de Villa said this information will help public health to quickly identify close contacts.

Mayor 'very hopeful' we'll have 'sweet news' soon

Meanwhile, Mayor John Tory, who also spoke at the news conference, said he's happy with what the dashboard is showing and he's very optimistic Stage 2 reopening will happen soon.

"I'm very hopeful. The reason for that is they are looking at the same numbers we are and we're looking at the same numbers they are," Tory said.

"One of the things we did earlier on was to sort of base our dashboard on provincially originated factors … It's always been about those numbers,  they are moving in the right direction, so I'm very optimistic we're going to have some sweet news very soon after some of the bitterness that comes from being patient."

Mayor John Tory says he's optimistic city will get 'sweet news' about reopening very soon. (CBC)

Virtual Canada Day

Meanwhile, Tory announced Friday Toronto will help citizens mark Canada's 153rd birthday virtually on Wednesday, July 1 through a livestream show, Canada Day 2020.

The show, made possible in part by the Canadian government, will aim to engage local residents, connect diverse communities and honour COVID-19 front-line workers.

Throughout the day, the show will offer a mixture of live and pre-recorded performances streamed on YouTube.

City resumes marriage licence service

Tory also announced that the city is resuming the issuing of marriage licences by appointment only beginning Monday, June 22.

Toronto residents who wish to obtain a marriage licence must book an appointment online.

They will need to complete an online application three days prior to an appointment. Applicants with appointments will need to travel to the North York Civic Centre. All other civic centre and city hall service counters remain closed.

The city is required under the Marriage Act to process marriage licence applications in person for people wishing to marry in Ontario.

The city has been issuing urgent marriage licences on compassionate grounds since mid-March.