On September 21, Public Health Ontario reported 552 new Covid-19 cases were identified in the province. Ontario also saw a rate increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases, from 0.91 per cent on September 20 to 1.34 per cent on September 21.
This is an increase of 0.43 per cent within 24 hours.
The first wave of Covid-19 resulted in empty grocery store aisles, sold out toilet paper, and endless amounts of gloves, sanitizer, and masks. In recent weeks, it seemed cases were dwindling. Businesses were opening up again, friends were meeting up in-person, and it appeared as if the world was going back to normal.
However, provincial data shows that cases in Ontario are now doubling every ten days. September 21 also saw two Covid-19 related deaths in Ontario, and Mississauga and Oakville schools confirming active cases.
Now, many are speculating Covid-19’s second wave is quickly approaching.
In response to the recent developments, Premier Doug Ford has released new social gathering restrictions. Indoor gatherings must be limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25. Premier Ford also announced that the Ontario government will be releasing the province’s plan to deal with the second wave in the coming weeks. Some of these measures will include a ramp-up in testing quantity and frequency.
Health Minister Christine Elliott also stressed the importance of getting the flu shot this year. Elliot argues that the flu season will undoubtedly complicate the situation and bring about new issues in addressing and treating symptoms.
More recently, a draft document was acquired by CBC News, which revealed Ontario’s Covid-19 plan. The document outlined three different scenarios that are anticipated to take place during the second wave, according to a small, moderate, or large spread.
The plan is structured around the provincial government’s objective to avoid a widespread lockdown. CBC News also provided a statement from the plan that outlined Ontario’s new Covid-19 strategies.
“If there is a resurgence of Covid-19, either locally or province-wide, targeted action may be taken to adjust or tighten public health measure,” read the statement. “The return to an earlier stage of provincial re-opening, or even regional approaches to tightening would be re-opening in favour of organization-specific or localized changes.”
Travis Krann, Ford’s director of communications, told CBC News that “[The document] should not be considered complete” and that the government’s plans have “evolved considerably” since the leaked draft.
Another critical factor playing into the second wave is the re-opening of schools. Local news sources have revealed an alarming number of confirmed Covid-19 cases throughout school boards in the region.
The Peel District School Board reported five cases, while the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board has three confirmed cases, totaling to eight known Covid-19 cases in Mississauga schools. It is also important to note that all of these schools remained open following the confirmation of the cases.
News sources in the Peel region announced that while the new social gathering limit is 10 people indoors, schools continue to exceed that number. However, these restrictions do not apply to classroom situations because schools have adjusted their scheduling in favour of smaller class sizes and alternating daily delivery, which reportedly decreases the risk.
Moreover, parties and other social gatherings continue to break the social gathering restriction. Social gatherings are the main drivers of new cases in Ontario. Events such as house parties and parking lot parties have been, and continue to be, one of the primary sources of Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
On a more localized level, Peel Region is taking steps to prevent the second wave spread. The Star reported new testing sites are set in place for asymptomatic individuals.
The Mississauga location was opened temporarily on September 21 and will remain operational until October 4. The testing location, exclusive to asymptomatic individuals, is based at the Peel Regional Paramedics Kingsway Satellite Station at 7120 Hurontario Street.
Residents who feel they may need testing are encouraged to go to the site between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday.