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Toronto's getting out more, and Tory doesn't like it

Mayor Tory scolded Torontonians for leaving their homes, warning that increased infection numbers could delay re-opening even longer
Feb.23, 2021

Don’t let the low numbers fool you.

Data shows people are starting to move around the city again, prompting Mayor John Tory to express his displeasure over the latest trend.

“We know, from the latest traffic and mobile phone data that, in fact, people are starting to move around more,” Tory said Monday.

“Perhaps thinking, incorrectly, that improved case counts mean that is OK. Unfortunately, that is not OK.”

Numbers are indeed decreasing as Toronto only reported 366 new cases on Monday, with 10 new hospital admissions and 64 patients in intensive care wards.

Traffic data from the city’s transportation department shows morning peak volumes and average travel times have increased “significantly,” he said.

“The lockdown has been working to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in our community, but please don’t get complacent or give up on this work.”

Last week, the province acquiesced to Toronto’s pleas to be left out of plans to begin transitioning districts out of lockdown, keeping Toronto under the current stay-at-home order until at least March 8.

Despite the falling case numbers, Toronto’s top doctor Eileen de Villa maintained the spread of COVID-19 variants is still a dire concern -- up from 35 cases on Feb. 15 to 71 as of Monday.

Many more suspected variant infections are still pending laboratory confirmation, she said.

Health officials fear a deadly third wave could be fuelled by the more infectious variants.

As for vaccine rollout, the city is seeing a decrease of positively rates in long-term care homes, Tory said -- dropping from 10.9% as of Nov. 1 to just 0.6% as of the second week of February.

“This is a good sign when it comes to the effectiveness of the vaccine,” he said.

As well, second doses are being administered to city paramedics and frontline firefighters this week.