BY CLOVER STERLING
Mississauga has been highlighted as one of the province’s hotspots for COVID-19 cases since the outbreak escalated in March, and with a second wave in effect, residents should stay vigilant even as recovery efforts occur, the city’s top officials said Wednesday. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Dr. Lawerence Loh, Medical Officer of Health, Peel Region, gave residents a COVID-19 update and a recovery plan for the city at their virtual press conference this past week.
With the province recording up to 800 confirmed cases daily, Peel Region is averaging more than one hundred cases per day. In Mississauga, the case count has averaged at fifty for the past week and is escalating, which is cause for concern, said Loh.. While cases are rising, they remain steady and manageable, Loh said Wednesday morning. “The primary goal of our pandemic response (is) to save lives, protect our healthcare system and minimize societal and economic impacts as much as possible,” said Loh. “Always assume that anybody you meet might be carrying the virus. Of course, that doesn’t mean living in fear: it means taking precautions when you do meet to keep yourself and the people you love safe.”
Loh reminded residents that COVID-19 is a virus that transmit from person to person, particularly in close contact such as crowded places and confined settings; He said it cannot transmit if human beings do not meet, so residents must remember that less is more, which means less in-person, more virtual; less people per gathering less proximity and more distance. “Start by shrinking your close contacts to your immediate households and immediate supports such as caregivers or child care providers that you rely on for daily assistance,” Loh said. “These are the only people that you should be sharing a two-meter bubble with. Otherwise, leave your house only for essential reasons such as work, education, exercise and fitness, healthcare appointments and accessing food, drink, gas and automobile maintenance.”
He also advised residences to get out for the flu shot to stop influenza this season. ”For every other reason to meet instead, cancel and go virtual in order to keep numbers low and stick to the core four of distancing,” which are masking, handwashing, spacing and staying home if you feel sick. “In doing this right, reducing our contacts will drive down case numbers and will make contact tracing quicker and easier. If an exposure does occur; it also means that hopefully if we do this right, that this pause will not last longer than absolutely necessary.”
Crombie also addressed the business community, which has moved into a modified stage two framework until at least Nov 7. She acknowledged that the rising cases caused by the pandemic forced her to reach out to Premier Ford to request an immediate lockdown in Mississauga in order to curb the spread. As a result, Crombie agreed that the lockdown does affect businesses greatly, but assured owners that the final decision was made by the province to best protect the health and safety of residents, not only in Mississauga, but across the GTA. Continued on Pg 12