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De Villa fears another Christmas-like spike in COVID cases with Easter, holidays on horizon

Diana Blaikie, left, and Bonnie Ryder have a cocktail on a outdoor patio at the Grain Urban Tavern while enjoying the warm weather along the boardwalk during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Thursday, March 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Passover is already on, Easter is days away, and Ramadan comes the following week.

But if you just got your COVID-19 vaccination, Toronto’s top doctor is out with a reminder that it doesn’t mean it’s safe to gather for the holidays.

That’s the message Eileen de Villa, who says the shot needs two weeks before it can really keep you safe.

“Don’t gamble with it yet,” said de Villa.

“Especially with the variants dominating infections in Toronto, case counts rising, and particularly if it’s just the first dose you’ve had.”

Dr. de Villa says Toronto’s track record around the holidays is not good as case counts saw a considerable increase after Christmas and she fears that history is ready to repeat itself.

The COVID case count went from about 600 at Christmas to about 1,000 just two weeks later leading to a province-wide lockdown that was only recently modified.

She also says variant cases are turning up more and more in younger people and she’s hearing about some of those patients going directly into the ICU.

Mayor John Tory says he and the other GTHA mayors have sent a request to the upper governments to consider, when it comes to deciding how to allocated vaccination doses, how this part of the province is a hotspot for the virus.

“An extra amount of the firepower that we have to allocate against this enemy that is the virus should be allocated to a place where it’s needed in order to fight something that is more prevalent here than it might be elsewhere,” said Tory.

As of Monday, the City is vaccinating residents born in 1951 and earlier at five of the Toronto-operated mass immunization clinics.

These include the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto Congress Centre, Scarborough Town Centre, Malvern Community Recreation Centre, and Mitchell Field Arena.

On April 5, a City-operated clinic at The Hangar will open.

A total of 2,031,735 vaccine doses have been administered in the province so far.

Toronto is reporting over 600 new COVID-19 cases in the City, with 13 being confirmed as variants of concern.

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