Toronto sets new single-day COVID-19 case record, top doctor warns holiday surge still to come

·2 min read
Toronto sets new single-day COVID-19 case record, top doctor warns holiday surge still to come

Toronto officials reported a single-day high of 1,069 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday morning.

It is the second consecutive day of record case numbers in the city, following Tuesday's count of 957 new infections.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, reported the numbers with a warning that case counts are likely to continue surging in the coming days, when possible infections related to holiday gatherings emerge.

"It is now reasonable that we should brace for an extended period of potentially unsettling and discouraging case numbers," de Villa said.

Ontario also reported a new case record Wednesday with nearly 3,000 tallied across the province.

WATCH | Toronto's medical officer of health warns that case counts are likely to continue rising:

There are now 345 Toronto residents who are being treated in hospital, with 92 of them in intensive care units.

The city reported four additional deaths after reporting 10 on Tuesday.

"I urge you to double down on keeping apart," de Villa asked of residents.

New Year's Eve will 'test' city's resolve

Officials are urging residents to avoid social gatherings on New Year's Eve, which could amount to another serious test of the city's public health recommendations.

Residents have been asked not to gather with any people from outside their immediate household.

About one in five respondents to a survey conducted by the city from Dec. 14 to 20 said they gathered with people outside their household during that period. De Villa said that the true number of people who flouted health recommendations is likely higher.

"This will be the test of whether or not we can be disciplined enough to post better numbers in the first few weeks of reports we get in 2021," Toronto Mayor John Tory said of the looming New Year's Eve celebrations.

There have now been 60,054 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto. Toronto Public Health said a total of 52,038 people have recovered from the virus.

Toronto has been in the province's grey lockdown zone since Nov. 23.

A lockdown for all of Ontario began on Dec. 26, which resulted in small changes to the provincial restrictions in place in Toronto.

Restrictions will continue in southern Ontario until Jan. 23, but will be eased in northern Ontario on Jan. 9.

When provincial lockdown restrictions are lifted for southern Ontario, Toronto will have been locked down for 60 days.