Toronto has reached a grim milestone in its ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, with the city’s medical officer of health confirming Toronto has now hit 1,000 deaths.
Three months ago, on March 18, the city had experienced only 16 deaths connected to the novel coronavirus.
Dr. Eileen de Villa issued a statement Thursday, calling the current death toll a “tragic milestone.
“This is an immeasurable loss experienced by so many people across our city and beyond,” she said.
“It is so important for us to take a moment, to look beyond these numbers and remember that each death represents a unique life. An individual with a personal story, who had an impact on us and our community. One thousand people have died from COVID-19 and have left behind friends, family members and neighbours.”
De Villa also said Torontonians’ commitment to public health measures has helped the city avoid what could have been a “much worse” situation.
To contextualize the death toll, she noted that 44 people from the GTA died of SARS in 2003, and each year Toronto sees about 1,000 deaths from heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.
“Sadly, given that the virus is still circulating and there is no effective treatment or vaccine, we should anticipate that we will continue to see deaths from COVID-19 in our community,” she said.
Not everything is bad news, though. While deaths and positive cases have risen steadily throughout most of the pandemic, data suggests the situation in Toronto has improved over the past several weeks.
Deaths attributed to COVID-19 have effectively plateaued since early June.
In April, Toronto was routinely reporting upwards of 20 daily deaths.
The city has recorded 13,588 total confirmed cases of the disease, of which 11,397 people have now recovered.
Ontario is reporting 2,550 deaths province-wide. However, a CBC News count based on data from regional public health units puts the real toll at at least 2,603.
The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and on ventilators is also in a steady decline across Ontario.
Montreal has recorded the most COVID-19 deaths of any Canadian city by far, with its latest count showing 3,238 deaths.