Peel Region faces 'dire situation' as new daily COVID-19 cases reach record number

·2 min read

Peel Region faces a "dire situation" with officials reporting 458 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a new daily record for the region now in the provincial "Red-Control" zone.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Peel Region means the situation has become grim with hospitals in Brampton at or above capacity and being forced to cancel elective surgeries. Crombie said small and large social gatherings, not people going to restaurants, bars and gyms, are driving the daily case counts in Peel Region. The region has had an average of 340 new daily cases over the past week and there's been an average of 105 new daily cases in Mississauga. "The local reality is that we are seeing widespread transmission throughout our community," Crombie told reporters at a weekly update on Tuesday. "The sobering reality is that the Region of Peel is in a dire situation." Mississauga now has a test positivity rate of 6.5 per cent due in part to the Thanksgiving long weekend and a large outbreak at a manufacturing plant, Crombie said. "Simply put, the second wave of COVID has hit the region harder than just about anywhere else in Canada. We need to do everything in our power to stop the movement of this virus. If we can't, the reality is we'll see more and more COVID-19 hospitalizations, more patients in the ICU, and eventually more deaths."

Peel Region businesses had expected they would go into the "Orange-Restrict" zone on Tuesday, according to a provincial government announcement, but on Friday, the regional government decided to place Peel in the "Red-Control" zone effective on Saturday.

Then Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region's medical officer of health, announced new restrictions later on Saturday because of the growing number of daily cases. Crombie acknowledged that communication by the region to businesses, residents and faith-based organizations could have been better. She said businesses have told her that they felt "blindsided" by the rapid changes. But she added she supports the new restrictions and the placing of Peel Region into the "Red-Control" zone.

"This allows us to take a tailored approach to the local realities here on the ground in Peel."

Crombie urged all residents to limit "all close, in-person contact" to members of their households. Everyone who plans to celebrate Diwali in the next few days should celebrate only with their immediate families, she said.

"Everyone in our community has to step up right here and right now," Crombie said.

Loh reported that 237 people have died of COVID-19 in Peel Region as of noon on Tuesday.

Peel Public Health has investigated 6,229 cases in Mississauga since the pandemic began.

A total of 705 are active, with 5,287 marked as resolved in Mississauga. Loh said the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.