Province restricts gathering sizes in COVID-19 hot spots Toronto, Ottawa, Peel; a dozen cases confirmed in Simcoe County

Barrie's case count this week exceeded all of August

The province is pulling back some gathering size restrictions in parts of the province as the Ontario COVID-19 case count rises by 293 with a dozen cases locally.

On Thursday, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit announced 12 cases of COVID-19; five cases in Barrie, three in Bradford-West Gwillimbury, and one each in Wasaga Beach, Oro-Medonte, New Tecumseth, and Collingwood. However, the province’s biggest contributor remains Toronto, with 85 cases confirmed there. Hot spots also include Peel Region with 63, and Ottawa’s 39 cases, a slight decline over Wednesday’s 61.

28 cases of COVID-19 reported in Barrie so far this week

Overall, Public Health Ontario reported 293 cases of COVID-19, down from 315 the day before. There were also 179 recoveries and three deaths in Thursday’s update.

Premier Doug Ford calls this “concerning,” saying his government is moving to restrict private gathering sizes in the province’s three hot spots. Indoor crowds of no more than 10 people, and 25 for outdoor gatherings in Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa. This comes into effect on Friday, September 18.

This includes social events and gatherings like parties and backyard BBQs. It does not include events gatherings at staffed facilities like banquet halls or movie theatres.

Fines for those hosting get-togethers could reach $10,000, while those in attendance could be fined $750.

“We have been working hand-in-hand with our medical officials and our mayors to try and slow down and limit new cases in the regions with the highest rates of transmission,” added Health Minister Christine Elliott. “By limiting the number of people permitted at a social gathering in these regions, we will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe.”

This comes as health officials attest the rise in cases is coming “The cases acquired the infection, transmitted the infection, in social gatherings,” said Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, this week. “They were not in bars or restaurants, they were in private homes, they were in weddings, they were in private functions.”

data courtesy SMDHU HealthStats site

The province’s COVID-19 case count has seen a steady rise since mid-August; the daily caseload addition has surpassed the 300-mark twice this week alone. In Barrie, 28 cases have been confirmed since Monday. There were 26 in all of August.