Newly-released data indicates that Mississauga is a hotspot for COVID-19

 

Recently-released data confirms that Ontario’s densest cities, including Toronto, Mississauga, and Brampton, are hotspots for COVID-19. 

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie shared the data in a May 29 tweet, reiterating her long-held belief that the province needs to take a regional approach to reopening the economy.

According to the chart, there are currently 950 active (meaning unresolved) COVID-19 cases in Peel (the region that’s comprised of Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon). With Peel boasting a population of 1,605,952, that means the region is seeing 59.2 cases per 100,000 people.

I continue to maintain the province must take a regional approach to reopening, especially as we look to phase 2. More workplaces and larger gatherings pose a risk for a second wave. While I wish it wasn’t the case, [the Region of Peel] remains a hotspot. The numbers speak for themselves.” 

At a recent City of Mississauga press conference, Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, confirmed that a lot of community spread in the region is coming from homes and workplaces. 

Peel comes second only to Toronto in terms of active cases. According to the chart, there are 1,702 active cases in the city. With a population of 3,120,358, that means Toronto has 54.5 cases per 100,000 people. 

Other cities and regions rounding out the top 10 include the York Region with 288 active cases and 23.5 cases per 100,000 people; Windsor-Essex with 215 active cases and 50.6 cases per 100,000 people; Durham Region with 147 active cases and 20.6 cases per 100,000 people; Ottawa with 141 active cases and 13.4 cases person 100,000 people, Hamilton with 127 active cases and 21.4 cases per 100,000 people; Waterloo Region with 73 active cases and 12.5 cases per 100,000, Halton Region with 62 active cases and 10 cases per 100,000 people and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph with 51 active cases and 16.4 cases per 100,000 people. 

At a May 29 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford revealed that since the province has ramped up testing, it can now explore reopening the economy on a region-by-region basis.

I’m comfortable asking our officials to look at a regional approach to a staged reopening. This will be one option we consider as we move into stage two. This is one option we’re putting on the table. We’re only able to do this now because we’re getting our testing to where we need it,” Ford said.  

Ford said health officials are looking at what a regional model could look like and that work is “underway as we speak”. 

I know other jurisdictions have used this regional approach. I want to look at how this has gone in other areas and what lessons we can learn.” 

According to Loh, Peel region is meeting the provincial target of initiating contact tracing investigations on over 90 per cent of COVID-19 cases within 24 hours. 

On May 14, 2020, the province expanded its testing guidance to include a broader range of symptoms for all populations. The province says that no resident will be declined a test at an assessment centre, especially those who are symptomatic or who are concerned they have been exposed to COVID-19.

To date, Ontario has completed 680,687 tests, with 69,318 tests completed since May 24, 2020.

It is not yet clear how a regional reopening plan will unfold, but harder-hit cities have been asking to open at a slower pace than smaller and less dense areas with significantly fewer cases.

Mississauga took extra time to permit the reopening of some outdoor amenities, including off-leash dog parks and park and community parking lots. While some park parking lots were reopened on May 29, other amenities—such as park benches and picnic shelters, leash-free zones, BMX parks, skate parks, public tennis courts, community tennis clubs, seasonal washrooms and portable washrooms—cannot reopen until Monday, June 1. 

Playgrounds, outdoor fitness equipment, and the public boat launch at Marina Park remain closed until further notice (although the city says the boat launch will reopen when high water levels subside).

Mississauga has also moved to cancel major festivals and large events at city facilities and parks until at least Sept. 7, 2020. 

Cover photo courtesy of @idris.yyz

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