News Release
September 18, 2020

The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19. Toronto Public Health is reporting a resurgence of COVID-19 in the city and the Province of Ontario yesterday announced lower limits for unmonitored social gatherings and organized public events for Toronto and other regions demonstrating the highest levels of COVID-19 community transmission.

There are 17,259 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, an increase of 142 today. There are 24 people hospitalized. In total, 15,202 people have recovered from COVID-19. To date, there have been 1,178 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.

New COVID-19 infections are widely spread across the city, indicated by new cases confirmed in neighbourhoods across Toronto. The infections behind today’s case counts occurred as far back as two weeks ago, a timeframe that includes the Labour Day weekend. It is reasonable to believe socializing around this end-of-summer milestone helped to drive the recent rise in case counts. Toronto Public Health data also suggests increasing infections traced to people in bars and nightclubs. Those with weekend plans that include activities related to venues like this are encouraged to take steps to minimize health risks and the risk of becoming infected and compromising the health of someone less able to withstand COVID-19 related illness.

Approximately 50 per cent of COVID-19 cases reported to date in Toronto are confirmed as having acquired the illness from a close contact, meaning from someone they know who had COVID-19. Close contact includes exposure from family members, at social events, in workplaces, and other occasions when people are not physically distancing. Close contact carries greater risk anywhere that masks are not being worn and physical distancing is not happening, and in places where people let their guard down. Residents are reminded to wear a mask any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, even when with friends and family.

About 20 per cent of cases are from community transmission, meaning the infection cannot be traced to a known link. Community transmission usually accounts for 20 to 25 per cent of cases in Toronto. There has recently been an increase in cases linked to travel outside of Ontario. Between August 2 and September 13, 13.4 per cent of cases list travel as their source of infection. Many of the cases linked to travel reported travelling to other locations in Canada.

Torontonians should expect case counts to rise in the next few weeks. Residents need to act to limit case count increases through a combination of self-protection steps including watching your distance, wearing a mask and washing your hands. Everyone should strive to limit contact with people they don’t live with as much as they can. Many people, necessarily, will have key contacts they must sustain, such as home care. People should choose low-contact activities where possible, take steps for self-protection and act with awareness to limit virus spread. It is possible to have a positive impact on the spread of COVID-19 in the city, but this will require a determined effort by all residents.

Following the Province of Ontario’s announcement yesterday and amendments to orders under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, the maximum number of people permitted to attend social gatherings and organized public events in Toronto – including parties and dinners – is now 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. The City’s COVID-19 enforcement team continues to respond to complaints and enforce provincial orders and bylaws, including the mandatory mask or face covering bylaw, across the city, including in bars, restaurants and parks.

Yesterday, the City received 33 complaints and issued two tickets related to parks use and physical distancing. Officers responded to eight complaints related to businesses and issued two notices. This month, officers have cautioned nearly 1,200 people about physical distancing, bonfires and littering bylaws.

Toronto Public Health encourages residents to download the COVID Alert app, which can help to notify individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 in the community. Residents are asked to be more mindful of where they go and who they interact with and are encouraged to take steps to aid their memory – such as keeping a list of places visited in a notebook or on their phone – in the event you are asked to help Toronto Public Health understand potential infection risk through the contact tracing process. Providing accurate contact information when asked helps public health to follow up quickly with COVID-19 cases and close contacts and help reduce potential COVID-19 transmission.

The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media Relations