It was announced today that Ontario posted 1855 daily COVID-19 infections, a new record for the province. This news comes after two of the largest regions in the province, Toronto and Peel, went into lockdown on Monday. The large spike in cases is an alarming trend that is similar to other areas of Canada.
The increase in COVID-19 cases is causing a stress on the provincial health system. Hospital cases in Ontario have risen 63% over the past 4 weeks. It is estimated that by the end of the year there may be 200 people in intensive care and a daily new infection number of 9000.
There are many reasons for the spike in cases. Kids being back in school is one of them. While there are numerous safeguards in place (masks, sanitizing, distancing), at recess mask usage is not required and social distancing is not enforced. Beyond that most schools are not conducting temperature screening when students and teachers enter the building.
Most businesses in Toronto Region and Peel Region were forced to close on-site operations during the 4-week lockdown. A large number of essential businesses however are allowed to stay open. Peel Region is home to the largest food processing sector in Canada and also houses the largest national transportation logistics center. The large number of essential workers reduces the effectiveness of a shutdown, as people will continue to be out of home in a social working environment.
COVID-19 fatigue continues to grow throughout Ontario. Safeguarding against the virus is exhausting. It requires ongoing focus and commitment. Not seeing family and having close contact with friends is difficult. It's been months since we have all had the ability to be in close proximity of extended family and friends. Continuing to be vigilant and focused on stopping the spread of the virus is needed to limit infections.
Business-owners as well are facing numerous frustrations at the lockdown and continued spread of the virus. Sales in the final quarter of the year is incredibly important, especially in a disruptive year like 2020. With businesses being forced to cease in person operations, many small businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy.
It is the responsibility of the Ontario government and residents to get COVID-19 under control. This is done through forward thinking strategy and strict adherence to all safety protocols. Continue to wear a mask in all public settings. Social distance whenever possible. Stay home if you or a loved one is feeling sick. Wash and sanitize your hands. Conduct temperature screenings at all public locations. The spread of COVID-19 can be dramatically slowed down, if all Ontarians do their part to combat COVID-19.