With 170 new cases announced Thursday, Ontario's upward trend in COVID-19 continued, driven by high numbers in four populous regions — 55 in Toronto, 28 in York Region, 22 in Peel Region and 12 in Ottawa.
That means the number of active cases has increased as well, but there has not been a marked increase in patients needing hospitalization.
At his daily press conference, Premier Doug Ford reiterated that he does not believe that the increasing case numbers warrant any tightening of restrictions on gatherings, at least not yet, because of the concentration of the cases in the four urban regions.
"So if you take those out, we're doing very well as a province, but we have to keep our eye on the ball constantly and, and once it gets to a certain point, (Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams) will be advising us on the next step," he said.
Nor does he believe a crackdown on bars is required. He asked people in those large regions especially to avoid parties.
"Because what I'm hearing is that it's not coming from bars, it's not coming from restaurants, it's coming from large gatherings be it weddings or parties, or wherever," he said.
That message was echoed by Williams at his daily briefing, as he also blamed increases on private social and family gatherings. He also said there appears to be confusion about the province's limits on gathering sizes — 50 indoors and 100 outdoors, with physical distancing and mask-wearing recommended — but said he isn't ready to change them.
The province is also planning to provide guidance on how to celebrate Halloween safely. Ford said he thinks the province should play it by ear — he noted that the situation can change quickly, as there were nearly half as many cases a month ago than there are today.
"It just makes me nervous, kids going door to door with this — I'd prefer not to," he said, adding, "It would be a shame."
Williams said the province's experts are also considering what guidance to give for Thanksgiving, and he also noted that dental health is another concern at Halloween and food safety — i.e. turkey — is a concern at Thanksgiving.