Today, Ontario has reported another 1265 new cases of COVID-19, with 421 in Toronto. This continues the downward trend in cases that we’ve seen in recent weeks and has resulted in another decrease in our seven-day rolling average, which now sits at 1327.
These continued decreases in case counts are a good development and indicate that Ontarians are making a real effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. I want to pause here for a moment to say a very sincere thank you to everyone who has been taking steps in their own life to reduce community spread of the virus. Things right now are difficult, and I draw strength from the solidarity that I see every day in our community.
Along with the decrease in cases comes an announcement from the Ford government that they will be lifting some restrictions, on a region-by-region basis, over the next few weeks. Here in Toronto, our stay-at-home order will remain in place until at least February 22, at which point we will likely see a reduction in restrictions.
You can read more details about the planned reduction in restrictions here.
Now, as we see the province reopen, we must say clearly that the Ford government needs to make sure that this reopening plan doesn’t just lift the restrictions, but also includes measures to make our communities safer. It is vital that we get paid sick leave for our workers, invest in contact tracing, and take all the public health steps being recommended by experts.
If we do not make these simple changes, we are very likely going to be right back at square one soon. The second wave of COVID-19 that we are experiencing never had to be this bad, but because this government has prioritized money over public health, we’ve seen an explosion in cases since December.
We need to take steps to make the spaces we are reopening safe – that’s how we reopen safely.
In schools, we have seen similar issues, and now discussions have turned to March Break – which is just around the corner.
I believe that we need to move forward with March Break. Our students, parents, teachers, and education workers deserve the break.
To do this safely, it is vital that the messaging from the Ford government is very clear that this is not a time to go travelling. On top of that, let’s ensure that when our students do return, they’re returning to safer classrooms that have comprehensive testing programs, class sizes capped at 15, better ventilation, and touch-free faucets.
Let’s invest in keeping our communities safe. After all, what better investment can be made?
MPP for Toronto—St. Paul's