Only one new case of COVID-19 reported in Peel over 24-hour period, but don’t go running out the door yet
Weeks ago, the spread of the novel coronavirus created a sense of foreboding among residents, forced cities to lay off thousands of staff and postpone projects.
While the stress still simmers for many, Brampton and Mississauga have moved to a slight shift from the previously restrictive measures imposed across the province, as the number of positive cases continues to taper.
As of April 30, there were 2,456 confirmed and probable cases in Peel Region, an increase of only one case from Wednesday. The region confirmed 41 new cases on Tuesday. Of Thursday’s total, 1,083 are in Brampton and 1,301 are in Mississauga. Ontario reported 16,187 confirmed cases Wednesday. This is an increase of 459 new cases from the 15,728 reported the day before.
A breakdown of cases within the Region of Peel as of April 30.
In the City of Brampton, the reduced rate of COVID-19 spread has allowed the city to reintroduce transit routes which had previously been reduced or suspended at the start of the pandemic. The changes include the 511/511A Züm Steeles – which will see buses running every 10 minutes instead of 20 – between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Previously suspended routes, such as the 20/20A East Industrial route for example, will see services resume during the weekdays.
“The additional service and increased frequency on the routes…will be reintroduced to help support access to healthcare facilities and employment areas in Brampton, and to improve access and connections to other Brampton Transit services. Best efforts will be made to sustain these services with the resources we have,” a press release states. The changes are set to be implemented May 4.
The news comes as Brampton and Mississauga look to the federal government for financial assistance. Both cities are projecting tens of millions of dollars in deficits by year-end, numbers that are expected to increase the longer physical distancing measures remain in place. While both cities have reserves they plan to rely on if no help comes from upper levels of government, it’s not an ideal option. So far, the federal government has not committed any funding to the municipalities, despite acknowledging the hardships cities are facing.
“We are very aware of the urgency of the situation that municipalities across the country face. They are providing essential services and at the same time they have seen their revenues fall precipitously through no fault of their own,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said last week.
If current measures continue until the end of the year, the City of Mississauga could be faced with a $100 million deficit.
While the city has had to scale back services, it’s continuing many of its construction plans, with certain restrictions in place. All projects under the Roads and Stormwater Capital Programs are deemed essential and can continue under provincial regulations, a press release from the city states; 21 planned construction projects will be worked on, as well as eight continuing from 2019. Projects include road resurfacing and bridge repairs.
Certain construction projects in the Region of Peel deemed essential are continuing during the pandemic.
“As Mississauga continues to grow and mature, it’s important that our key infrastructure be kept in good repair,” Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a press release. She credits residents staying home as part of the reason such work can be completed, as the lighter traffic will make it easier to implement road resurfacing projects.
Residents staying home across the province, practicing social distancing, are being credited as the reason why the peak of COVID-19 cases came well before May, the original period the province’s top doctors projected for the surge in numbers. This welcome reality comes as Dr. Lawrence Loh, the acting Medical Officer of Health for the Region, said more tools are needed to continue the work of contact tracing – identifying people who are infected, tracking all their movements since contracting the virus and notifying anyone who might have picked it up as a result. It’s a crucial tool to dramatically slow the spread and is credited for completely eliminating the virus in some jurisdictions around the world.
“To support a gradual return to public life, we will need greater investment and resources to bolster our contact tracing efforts to ensure that we can deal with any update in cases,” he said at a Wednesday press conference. He credited contact tracing as playing a partial role in the apparent peak of the novel coronavirus in Ontario coming earlier than expected and at a much lower level.
While community spread of the virus appears to be slowing, it’s a much different story in many congregate settings across the province, including long-term care homes. Late last week, the province announced five long-term care homes will be receiving assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces, Grace Manor in Brampton being one of them.
Help started April 29, an update from Holland Christian Homes, the company that runs Grace Manor, states.
The team consists of individuals trained as military medics and nurses who will assist with infection control and prevention, Mark Nesbitt, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, told The Pointer. Other military staff will also be assisting on site. As of April 29, 51 residents at Grace Manor tested positive for COVID-19, according to numbers from Peel Public Health. In total, six residents have passed away, with one death coming in the last 24-hours; 24 staff members at the facility have also tested positive for COVID-19.
A summary of ongoing outbreaks in Peel long-term care and retirement homes.
Ivan Franko Homes in Mississauga is the latest retirement facility in Peel to be hit with an outbreak, which was declared April 29. Faith Manor, also run by Holland Christian Homes, declared an outbreak on April 25, after one resident tested positive. As of April 29, all 119 residents residing in the building have been tested, resulting in no new cases. One staff member at Faith Manor has also tested positive, as the organization waits for the results of other staff members.
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