Ontario officials are pleading with young people in the province to follow public health guidelines amid recent instances of individuals in younger age groups contracting the novel coronavirus at social gatherings.
“You may feel you’re invincible and you’ll get through it,” Premier Doug Ford said.
“It’s not just about yourself getting through it. Yes, you’re healthy, you’re young. It’s about your parents and your other family members and your grandparents. That’s what you have to think about.”
The province’s associate chief medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, said a recent spike of cases in Ottawa is directly connected to young people attending gatherings.
“The vast majority of these new cases are in people in their 20s and they are largely related to having attended private parties,” Yaffe said.
“This is a trend that we have seen over the last few weeks — more young people testing positive for COVID-19.”
Over the weekend, Ottawa reported a total of 35 cases and an additional 20 on Monday.
The number of active cases in the city sits at 118, which is double the amount from a week ago.
The province reported a total of 135 cases on Monday, 134 of which were classified by age. Fifty-two were among those aged 20 to 39 and 23 cases were among those aged 19 and under.
“It’s easy for people to forget that we’re still in a pandemic and to go back to what they used to do,” Yaffe said.
“You will see the effects of that.”
Officials said people must continue physical distancing with those outside of their social circle, wearing a mask when distancing isn’t possible, and washing their hands frequently.
Concerns have also been raised recently about the opening of indoor bars. Both the Ontario Medical Association and Toronto Mayor John Tory have expressed concerns with the rules regarding bars in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan.
Ontario’s medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said Monday that local authorities are able to implement additional restrictions as need be and noted that different jurisdictions are having different experiences with regards to the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s opening up bars in the new normal. That means distancing,” he added.
— With files from Craig Lord
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