With seven times the case rate compared to early August, Peel sees first class closure; 38 schools now have infections
It’s not a pretty picture across hard hit parts of Ontario that have seen COVID-19 rates explode compared to the same time last month.
Over a five-day period, from September 15 to 19, Ontario reported 1,667 cases, compared to just 404 cases in the five days from August 11 to 15. That’s an average of 81 cases a day over the five-day period a little more than a month ago, which ballooned to an average of 333 cases a day in Ontario for the recent five days including Saturday.
Peel’s numbers are even worse. From August 2 to 6, there were 62 cases reported, an average of 12 each day for the five days near the beginning of last month. For the five days up to and including Saturday, Peel had 434 cases, an average of 87 each day. That means, in a little over a month, Peel saw more than seven times the number of cases in the recent five-day stretch compared to early August.
Brampton continues to be the main problem in Peel; this daily case chart shows infections in the city have rapidly increased since early August, approaching numbers not seen since the worst part of the pandemic.
Brampton continues to be the biggest problem in the region. It accounted for an average of 53 of Peel's 87 daily cases, on average, for the recent five-day period. The province set up a pop-up testing facility in the city at the end of last week, to help fight the surge of cases Brampton has struggled with for about a month. Its testing capacity is far below where it should be according to provincial targets and it has become the worst hotspot in the province.
The accelerated viral spread comes as children are back to in-person learning, and one school has been forced to shutdown a classroom.
The Peel District School Board reports that Edenrose Public School, near central Mississauga, has closed one classroom, after a single infection was reported in the school. There are now 38 schools in the two boards that serve the region reporting COVID cases, with two reporting multiple infections. Goldcrest Public School near the Bramalea area of Brampton and St. Raphael Catholic Elementary in Mississauga’s Malton neighbourhood each have two reported cases. All of the information was updated at the end of the day Friday.
View COVID-19 Map of Peel Schools in a full screen map
Responding to rapidly increasing case rates in Peel, Toronto and Ottawa, the province originally reduced social gathering limits in each of the three regions, which took effect Friday. But with cases in other parts of Ontario climbing, the stricter measures were applied across the whole province.
“Over the past several days, we have seen an alarming growth in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province,” Premier Doug Ford said Saturday.
“Clearly, the numbers are heading in the wrong direction. That’s why we are taking decisive action to lower the size of unmonitored private social gatherings in every region of Ontario.”
The provincial leader said the drastic step was necessary “in order to prevent another province-wide lockdown, and protect all our citizens, especially the elderly and the vulnerable.”
Gathering limits across all of Ontario were decreased from 50 to 10 for indoor events and from 100 to 25 for outdoor events.
The new reduced size limits for gatherings do not apply to events or get-togethers in properly staffed businesses or facilities such as bars or restaurants.
Those hosting events or functions that exceed the new limits can be fined $10,000, and guests are now subject to $750 penalties.
“This is a serious situation folks,” Ford said. "We will throw the book at you if you break the rules. We can’t afford to let a few rule-breakers reverse all the hard work and progress the people of Ontario have made over the past six months.”
Ford has come under fire over the past week for enforcing social gathering rules and reducing limits, while school cases continue to mount and his government has failed to adequately reduce class sizes. Parents and students have pointed out that classes across many parts of the GTA have 25 to 29 students, almost double the number that would allow for safe social distancing.
It remains unclear how Ford will respond if infections in schools continue to rise, putting students, teachers and families at risk, after the measures taken by the provincial government to reduce social gathering sizes in other public settings.
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