Mississauga reporting zero new daily COVID-19 cases for first time since pandemic broke

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In a city press conference today Mayor Bonnie Crombie said counts of new COVID-19 cases in Mississauga are continuing to decline, with an average of six new daily cases over the past week, just under 100 active cases, and — for the first time since the pandemic began — zero new cases reported today (Wednesday, July 15).

Additionally, the city saw only one new case reported yesterday, July 14.

“While I’d love to see the number stay at zero, we also know that this is not realistic,” said Crombie. “This pandemic is far from over. We need to continue to take it seriously, and we cannot rest on our success.”

The mayor says she’s confident that the city, which has been in Stage 2 of the province’s reopening framework for three weeks now, will be entering Stage 3 very shortly — possibly on Friday, July 24 or even earlier.

The province will reassess the situation on Monday, July 20 to determine when regions in Ontario can expect to enter Stage 3, which will allow for the reopening of virtually all public spaces and businesses as well as greatly expand social gatherings.

“This is not something we should take lightly, nor should we rush it. Our goal throughout this pandemic has been to move forward and never once look back,” said Crombie, who advised that there would likely be a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall.

“It’s up to us to develop good habits now to keep our numbers down and reduce the severity of the potential second wave in the fall.”

The mayor said she was pleased with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to keep Canada’s border closed to non-essential travel, adding that what’s happening south of the border is “terrifying.”

“They are very much still fighting the first wave,” she said.

Crombie says the city is seeing great compliance with the new bylaw requiring residents to wear a face covering in all public spaces, particularly on transit.

In terms of the pandemic’s financial ramifications, it was reported that COVID-19’s financial impact on Mississauga in 2020 is estimated to be $107 million.

The city has taken a number of steps to offset these costs, including laying off 2,000 temporary staff, instituting a hiring freeze, and cutting all discretionary spending.

“These measures have helped us find $47 million in savings,” said Mayor Crombie. “But it’s not enough — not even close. The bottom line is we’re staring down at unrecoverable losses in 2020 of over $60 million.”

Over the next three years, non-recoverable losses are expected to balloon to $140 million.

Crombie says Mississauga and other municipalities across the country are counting on the the support of the provincial and federal governments for financial relief.

The mayor extended her thanks to Premier Doug Ford, who she says is continuing to advocate for cities as he attempts to strike a deal with the federal government for financial support. “He has been working very hard.”

According to Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region’s Medical Officer of Health, Peel Public Health has investigated 2,837 cases of COVID-19 in Mississauga. Of these cases, 2,518 have recovered, 96 are active, and 223 residents have passed away.

The region’s seven-day moving average of new daily cases is continuing to decline, and most long-term care homes are not dealing with an outbreak at this time.

However, the region can’t breathe easy yet, with Loh noting that one lapse could wipe out the gains that have been made thus far as COVID-19 continues to circulate.

“Stage 3 is the third period, and we have played COVID-19 to a 1-1 tie,” said Loh. “Our opponent is tenacious. I know we are tired, but we must play at least another 20 minutes. And if a vaccine doesn’t show up by the end of regulation time, then we go into overtime.”

Loh echoed Crombie’s sentiments regarding the U.S., stating that “our deep integration with the United States until mid-March was almost our undoing.” He added that many cases in Peel came from residents who had travelled back from the States.

When asked about the possibility that the higher number of COVID-19 cases in Brampton (which reported 11 new cases today) could potentially hold the region back from entering Stage 3 soon, Loh said Peel Public Health is continuing to monitor the situation but expects that it will be easier for Peel to reopen as a region rather than have any one municipality reopen before the other.

Photo courtesy of The Canadian Press

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