In the past two weeks, the average age of positive cases in the city was 39 years old
The average age of people infected with COVID-19 in Toronto is getting younger, Mayor John Tory said on Wednesday.
Over the past two weeks, the average age of positive cases was 39, Tory said during a press conference at city hall. The overall age of positive COVID-19 cases in Toronto for the entire outbreak is 52.
The proportion of COVID-19 infections in Toronto among people under age 19 and those between 20 and 29 has “increased significantly in the last few weeks,” the mayor added.
#COVID19 is still here in the community and we cannot for one moment let down our guard. Doing so would undo all the sacrifices we have made to save lives but we also have to move forward and open back up society so we can get the economy and people’s lives back on track. pic.twitter.com/kLObFJ2xmB— John Tory (@JohnTory) August 19, 2020
In Toronto, many young people live in multi-generational households and make up a large part of the city’s service workforce.
Younger people are less likely to become severely ill or be hospitalized with COVID-19, the mayor added, but they can still transmit the virus to others.
“I know no young person would want to bring the virus home to their family, parents, grandparents or give it to their friends, but that is the situation we’re worried about,” he said. “I urge them to be cautious and keep following the public health advice.”
To reach younger Torontonians, the city is exploring using social media platforms such as TikTok in addition to the usual marketing channels.
Since the provinces began lifting lockdown measures imposed in mid-March, the federal and Ontario governments have both noted spikes in cases among people age 20-39.
Ontario has confirmed 12,710 cases among people ages 20-39 since the outbreak began. (Though not all cases the province reports have a confirmed age.)
To date, 11 people between ages 29-39 have died from COVID-19 in Ontario and one person under age 19 has died.
On August 19, Ontario reported an increase of 102 new COVID-19 infections, including 42 among people ages 20-39 and one under age 19.
Through there have been photos of crowds in parks and beaches and reports of illegal indoor parties, Toronto Public Health (TPH) officials have said no specific gathering is associated with a large number of cases.
“Those under 19 or 20-29 have a proportion of cases from community spread,” said the city’s associate medical officer of health Vinita Dubey. “It’s not necessarily that they’re all pinned to one particular gathering.”
Amid anxiety over sending kids back to school in September, the Toronto District School Board passed a motion this week to make masks mandatory for all students.
Toronto schools will also try to reduce class sizes in areas of the city hardest hit by the virus.
Dubey said preventing community spread will be important in stopping spread among kids and teens in school.
“While we’re seeing a higher proportion of cases in those who are under 19, overall Toronto has seen quite a reduction in the total number of cases,” Dubey explained. “The total number of cases in that age group is still much lower than we saw earlier in the outbreak. Some of this is also related to the fact that the older adults are not getting sick, especially the elderly.
“That’s also a reason why the younger children are getting the infection,” she continued. “We know from our data about 60 per cent of those under 19 are getting their infections from close contacts – from household settings.”
To date, there have been 15,668 cases of COVID-19 in the city.
There are 49 people hospitalized in Toronto and 14,230 people have recovered from the virus – up by 30 since yesterday.
The city had no new deaths since yesterday. The virus has killed 1,164 people in Toronto since pandemic began.
As of August 19, more than 56 per cent of cases were spread through close contacts and 23 per cent were contracted through community spread.