The increasing numbers of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Mississauga has resulted in public concern. In recent weeks, restaurants, recreational centers, and schools in the Peel region have seen an increase in reported Covid-19 cases. Public Health Ontario is reporting 782 new Covid-19 cases in Peel as of November 4. Peel officials have been following up about their concerns with opening up restaurants and gyms to public use by November 7.
On November 4, Mississauga News reported that, between the dates of August 1 and October 24, the areas with the greatest infection rates in Peel were schools and industrial environments. They accounted for a fifth of all cases. Moreover, “outbreaks related to gyms, restaurants, bars and religious services accounted for under five percent in that time frame, according to the province’s numbers.”
With the staggering increases in Covid-19 cases, residents of Mississauga should take precautionary measures to decrease the ongoing trend of infections. During the Peel Council meeting on November 4, Dr. Lawrence Loh, medical officer of health voiced his concerns and strongly recommended residents to “halt get-togethers in and outside private homes beyond those people already living there, until further notice.”
While Peel began moving back from Stage Two in early October, residents have been questioning when they will enter Stage Three. Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie has claimed that, according to provincial data, gyms and restaurants weren’t a major source of infection. Crombie also emphasized the importance of reopening these facilities safely and swiftly.
Dr. Loh echoed the mayor’s statements but reiterated the importance of establishing additional safety measures as a precaution.
“All the factors suggest that if we are going to reopen as planned on November 7 […] we’re going to have to take some other measures within the Region of Peel to counterbalance the reopening of these high-risk settings that drive transmission in our community,” stated Loh.
Based on the provincial rules, a maximum of 10 people are allowed to take part in private events such as house parties, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. “If implemented, the recommendation would put gatherings related to upcoming holidays like Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa in question,” said Loh.
Dr. Loh recommended postponing all wedding receptions until February 1, 2021, and limiting indoor religious services and ceremonies to 50 people. The province’s rules state that indoor religious ceremonies are only allowed to fill in less than a third of the room’s total capacity at maximum. After November 7, restaurants will have to confirm that all individuals who wish to be seated together at a single table are residents of the same home.
Ontario has responded to the large numbers of new Covid-19 cases to ensure the health and safety of all residents. The official Ontario government website reports that hospitals have increased their monitoring of travel histories and contact tracing.
Moreover, Covid-19 has officially been specified as a “disease reportable under Ontario’s public health legislation” which would allow frontline workers to operate more efficiently. Medical personnel are now able to conduct more examinations at a much faster rate.
Loh pointed out to the Brampton Guardian on October 26 that restrictions should not be lifted at the end of November 6 as per his initial recommendation. He stated that the region should experience a steady decline in confirmed cases for an extended time period—around two or four weeks—before withdrawing the existing safety measures.
Despite the medical officer’s concerns, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced during the daily provincial news briefing on November 3 that the Peel region will begin the process of reducing Stage Two safety measures in local business establishments, including gyms and restaurants.
To put it into perspective, the rise of Covid-19 cases will cancel any and all upcoming holiday celebrations if individuals do not participate in the precautionary measures to “flatten the curve.” Continuing to wear face masks and social distancing is currently the most effective way residents can help prevent a further increase of infections. The Peel regional officials will continue to regulate safety measurements in communities in Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga.