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Protesting COVID-19 measures 'just nonsense' — Windsor-Essex's top doc – Windsor Star

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“They think, ‘I know more than them — but I never went to any university or any school. I read something on the Facebook or I heard someone say that,’” Ahmed said. “It’s just nonsense.”

Ahmed said he is disturbed by the spread of misinformation, and lamented the “confusion and chaos” that lead to large numbers of people ignoring COVID-19 guidelines.

“Not following those measures results in what we are seeing right now in the U.S., what we are seeing right now in other areas of the country,” Ahmed said.

“I really worry about these people. They are doing a complete disservice to the entire community.”

Expressing his exasperation with anti-mask protesters, however, wasn’t Ahmed’s purpose for speaking with media on Friday.

In an update on the region’s COVID-19 situation, Ahmed noted that — in recent contrast to parts of the province like Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa — Windsor-Essex is doing well on most metrics.

For example, a new graph by the health unit shows that the percentage of local COVID-19 cases resulting from community transmission has not increased. Indeed, the figure dropped this month: as of Oct. 22, the proportion of new cases in Windsor-Essex that were acquired in the community is 25 per cent, going by a seven-day average.

A graph presented by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in an update on the region’s COVID-19 situation on Oct. 23, 2020. Photo by Windsor-Essex County Health Unit /Windsor Star

“It’s not bad compared to some of the other regions, and what it could be,” Ahmed said.

Local hospitalizations resulting from COVID-19, going by a 14-day moving average, have remained in the single digits since the beginning of September — a trend the health unit considers “low and stable.”

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Record number of new coronavirus cases reported in Ontario as lockdowns begin in Toronto, Peel – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario is reporting a record number of new cases of COVID-19 just as Toronto and Peel enter a lockdown to control the rapid spread of the virus.

The Ministry of Health says that there were 1,589 new instances of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus confirmed on Sunday as we all as another 19 deaths, 11 of which involved residents of long-term care facilities.

It is a new record caseload for any single 24-hour period, just barely topping the previous high of 1,588 that was reported on Saturday. It also represent a more sizeable increase on the 1,487 new cases that were reported last Monday.

Meanwhile, the seven-day average of new cases increased again and now stands at 1,429. That, however, is still down from this point last week when it stood at 1,443.

The latest positive cases came on just 37,471 tests, repeating a trend that typically sees the province report fewer results at the beginning of the week due to a drop off in testing over the weekend.

The positivity percentage over the last 24 hours was 4.6 per cent. It is the highest that number has been since last Tuesday.

The vast majority of the new cases do continue to be clustered in Peel (535 cases), Toronto (336 new cases) and York (205 new cases) with those three regions accounting for more than two-thirds of all new infections.

But the transmission of the virus does seem to be accelerating in communities across Ontario, as officials have warned.

On Monday there were 83 new cases reported in Waterloo, as the region officially moved into the red zone in Ontario’s COVID-19 framework. There was also another 41 new cases in Durham, 53 in Halton and 61 in Hamilton.

“The main thing people can do now is please stay home,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told CP24 on Monday morning. “It matters less in the context of achieving the result which kind of stores are closed and not closed. It matters more whether people decide to follow the advice, which is if it is at all possible just stay home.”

Modelling had warned of higher case counts by now

Modelling released earlier this month had warned that Ontario could see about 2,000 to 2,500 cases a day by this point en-route to 3,500 to 6,500 daily cases by mid-December but it would appear that we have fallen off that pace somewhat.

There are, however, still alarming indicators that point to challenging days on the horizon.

There are now 156 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment in the ICU and some hospitals have already had to cancel some elective surgeries and procedures to accommodate the influx.

Deaths are also steadily increasing after lagging behind the rise in case counts for months.

Over the last seven days an average of 19 COVID patients have died each day, up slightly from this time last week when the seven-day average was 18.

If there is reason for optimism, it comes in the form of encouraging news on the vaccine development front.

On Monday morning AstraZeneca reported that its vaccine appeared to be up to 90 per cent effective in late-stage trials. Moderna Inc. and Pfizer have also reported that their vaccines are more than 90 per cent effective with the latter having recently applied for emergency use authorization from U.S. officials.

“With these vaccine studies it is great news and it is always OK to take a stop along the way and smell the roses and a have a small celebration but we have to stay the course,” infectious diseases expert Dr. Issac Bogoch told CP24 on Monday, prior to the release of the latest numbers. “Our masks, our distancing, our hand sanitization, getting vaccinated for the flu. Just continue to adhere to these public health measures and it is clear that things are going to get better and better and better but we are not there yet. So just double down, hold the fortress, continue to practice our public health measures and we will be ok. We really will.”

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Ontario reports record-high 1,589 new COVID-19 cases as Toronto, Peel lock down – CBC.ca

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Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference beginning at 1 p.m. at Queen’s Park. Ford’s office says he will be joined by several cabinet members, including the minister of health. 

You can watch it live in this story.


Ontario reported 1,589 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday, another single-day record as Toronto and Peel Region move into a second lockdown.

The new cases include 336 in Toronto, 535 in Peel and 205 in York Region. They drive the seven-day average up to 1,423 after six consecutive days of increases.

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in today’s update were:

  • Waterloo Region: 83
  • Hamilton: 61
  • Windsor: 56
  • Halton Region: 53
  • Durham Region: 41
  • Ottawa: 40
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 25
  • Niagara Region: 24
  • Brant County: 16
  • Thunder Bay: 16
  • Middlesex-London: 13

[Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary, which include data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.]

Sixty of the new infections were school-related, including 51 students and nine staff members. A total of 676, or about  14 per cent, of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly-funded schools have reported at least one case of COVID-19. Three schools are remain closed due to the illness.

The additional cases come as Ontario’s labs processed 37,471 test samples for the novel coronavirus, and 18,394 were added to the queue to be completed. The province reported an overall test positivity rate of 4.6 per cent.

There are currently 13,004 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 in the province, the most at any point since the outbreak began in late January. 

Nineteen more people with COVID-19 have died, the province said, pushing the official death toll to 3,505. The additional deaths include a man in his 20s, the fifth person in their 20s to die with COVID-19 in Ontario. So far this month, 360 people with infections of the novel coronavirus have died provincewide.

Meanwhile, Toronto and Peel Region have entered the most restrictive tier of Ontario’s pandemic protection plan.

It means that for at least the next 28 days, non-essential retailers can only offer curbside pickup, while restaurants are closed to all but takeout and delivery orders.

Personal services have also been forced to close, but schools and child-care centres remain open.

Premier Doug Ford announced the move on Friday, but it didn’t come into effect until 12:01 a.m. today.

That gave residents of Toronto and Peel the chance to stock up over the weekend, and many did — flooding local malls, even as those facilities extended hours in an effort to prevent too many people from coming at once.

While Toronto and Peel face the strictest measures, other areas of the province are also seeing rules tighten.

Durham Region and Waterloo joined York Region in the red classification today. The rules limit restaurants, gyms and food courts to 10 indoor patrons with social distancing, with even tighter restrictions on private gatherings.

The areas around Huron, Perth, Simcoe, Muskoka, and Windsor-Essex have moved to the orange classification, which caps gatherings at staffed businesses to 50 people indoors, or four per table at restaurants.

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Toronto and Peel Region enter lockdown for at least 28 days – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Toronto and Peel are officially under the lockdown stage of Ontario’s framework for COVID-19 restrictions, meaning that all non-essential retail stores are limited to curbside pickup only and a wide swath of other businesses are closed entirely.

The hard-hit regions entered the category at 12:01 a.m. and will remain under the added restrictions associated with it for at least the next 28 days.

It means that retail stores, with some exceptions for grocers, hardware stores, discount and big box retailers selling groceries, and corner stores, will be prohibited from allowing customers into their stores. Personal care services, like barbers and salons, have also been forced to close and restaurants are now limited to takeout only.

Meanwhile, new rules have went into effect in Toronto and Peel to limit all indoor gatherings to only those who live in the household. The limit for outdoor gatherings has also been lowered from 25 to 10 people.

What is allowed and what is not under a lockdown

“The main thing people can do now is please stay home,” Mayor John Tory told CP24 on Monday morning. “It matters less in the context of achieving the result which kind of stores are close and not closed. It matters more whether people decide to follow the advice, which is if it is at all possible just stay home.”

The province announced the added restrictions for Toronto and Peel on Friday as new cases of COVID-19 continued to surge in both jurisdictions.

In anticipation of the rules going into effect, several malls extended their hours over the weekend and there were reports of long lineups at stores.

Speaking with CP24, Tory said that the strict new rules are an important, even if there is not a lot of data pointing to widespread transmission in settings like retail stores, for example.

“We don’t really know in every single case exactly where people picked up this virus, we just know it is spreading and was spreading in a fashion last week and the week before and the week before that that was clearly unacceptable in terms of the trend line we were on,” he said. “Look it is a sad day today just to see this kind of thing having to happen but again the choice was to not do these kind of things and have a much longer, much broader, much worse kind of lockdown happen latter when we had completely lost control of this thing as you have seen elsewhere in the world.”

While the lockdown will shutter a number of businesses across Toronto and Peel, schools and childcare centres will remain open as will services deemed essential like dentist offices and physiotherapists.

Industries like film production and construction that were largely shut down in the spring will also continue top operate with restrictions.

That means that several major Hollywood productions currently being shot in the GTA will not be halted, including a movie featuring comedian Kevin Hart.  

“I am a little bit concerned that this shutdown doesn’t focus on the largest area of spread. In Brampton our largest source of transmission is industrial settings. Our largest two sectors are transportation logistics and food processing and neither of those sectors are shut down because they are considered essential,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown told CP24 on Monday. “So this isn’t truly a lockdown for Brampton. Small businesses have been shut down but with the largest portion of our workforce being essential workers nothing has really changed.”

In addition to the new rules in Toronto and Peel, Durham Region and Waterloo have also been moved into the red category alongside York Region as of today. The rules for that category limit restaurants, gyms and food courts to 10 indoor patrons at a time.

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