Following a week of triple-digit increases in new COVID-19 cases across the province, sources from the Ontario government are confirming that the province is looking at reducing gathering limits both indoors and outdoors, specifically for the Toronto, Peel and Ottawa regions.
The three regions have seen a significant rise in COVID-19 cases as of recently and have been reported to account for the majority of Ontario’s daily COVID-19 case counts each day.
Previously, the gathering limits set out by the government were 50 people allowed indoors and 100 people allowed to gather outdoors.
During a press conference from Queen’s Park, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that starting on Friday, September 18, 2020, private gathering limits will be reduced to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors for the regions of Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa.
Although the new limits significantly reduce the number of people that can gather at private gatherings, the province has said that the limits do not apply to schools and businesses and will not apply to any regions outside of the three “hotspots”.
“This includes social events and gatherings like private parties in your backyard or BBQs held in your home backyards and parks,” said Premier Ford at his daily press conference on Thursday.
“At this time, it does not include events and gatherings held in staffed business or facilities such as movie theatres, restaurants, banquet halls, gyms, or convention centres.”
The Ontario Premier also reiterated public health measures such as physical distancing and limiting social bubbles while emphasizing a minimum fine of $10,000 for organizers or hosts of illegal social gatherings.
Also, Premier Ford said that there could be additional fines of $750 for individuals who attend these illegal social gatherings and parties.
“This is a serious situation folks,” cautioned Premier Ford. “We will throw the book at you if you break the rules.”
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, said these types of private parties and events contribute to the COVID-19 cases in the community and that “invariably can roll back and infect our schools”.
Ontario’s COVID-19 Update for Thursday, September 17, 2020
As of Thursday, Ontario has reported an additional 293 new cases of COVID-19 as more than 35,000 tests have been completed in the previous day.
Health Minister Christine Elliott took to Twitter to announce that 85 new cases were found in Toronto, 63 cases in Peel and 39 in Ottawa.
Additionally, the Health Minister also reported that 70 percent of the new cases were found in people under the age of 40.
According to the epidemiology reports, a majority of the new COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the month have been concentrated in the province’s most densely populated urban areas.
Ottawa and five public health units in the Greater Toronto region have accounted for 84 percent of the current active cases of COVID-19.
Of the more than 2,300 currently active cases in Ontario:
- The suspected method of exposure for 54 percent of cases is either unknown, missing or labelled as “no epidemiological link,” which means the novel coronavirus is being spread in the community.
- More than one-third of active cases are among people in their 20s, even though that age group makes up only 14 percent of the province’s population.
- More than half of active cases are in just two public health units — Toronto and Peel Region.
COVID-19 Stats as of Thursday, September 17, 2020:
- Confirmed: 45,676
- Recovered: 40,424
- Deaths: 2,825
- Confirmed: 140,550
- Recovered: 122,838
- Deaths: 9,199
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