Startling COVID-19 infection numbers were released on Friday from the Ontario Ministry of Health indicating that Peel Region accounted for 72 of the 148 new cases in the province. 36 of the new cases were from Brampton. Premier Doug Ford was quick to respond, raising the prospect of rolling back Peel region to Stage 2 and saying that “something is clearly broken…and we won’t hesitate to shut it down”.
Despite the constant messaging from Peel’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Loh and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown to wash your hands, practice safe distancing and wear a mask, the region has consistently registered double-digit new cases over the last few weeks. In a recent posting on Twitter Mayor Patrick Brown said that the uptick in the numbers were related to international travel, a workplace outbreak and social gatherings.
This is not the first time that Brampton has been spotlighted for an unusual high number of cases and difficulty in containing large social gatherings. The most recent case was in late July, where a massive party with over 200 people attended in violation of Stage 2 protocol at a residence on Countryside Drive and Goreway Rd. prompting Premier Ford to say that the hosts need to face the “full extent of the law.”
While workplace outbreaks have occurred Dr. Loh has been reluctant to advise the public on where those outbreak have occurred citing “privacy issues” although no legal precedent was cited. Early in the pandemic an employee at an Amazon warehouse in Brampton said that the company failed to tell all employees that a worker at the facility was infected. For many small and medium sized businesses struggling to survive in Brampton, the possibility of rolling back to Stage 2 would be devastating.
Many students will be returning to class this week and there will be an increased focus on the case numbers. (Provincial School Re-opening Guidelines)
A recent post from Caledon Councillor Johanna Downey sums up the sentiment of many: