TORONTO -- One thousand Torontonians have now died after contracting COVID-19, marking a grim new milestone in the pandemic.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa confirmed the number in a statement issued on Thursday, noting that the fatalities represent an “immeasurable loss” for “so many people across our city and beyond.”

“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,” she said. “One thousand people have died from COVID-19 and have left behind friends, family members and neighbours. These losses are deeply personal for those who knew and loved them.”

Toronto’s 1,000th COVID-19 death comes nearly three months after its first.

It was on March 21 that a man in his 70s that had returned from the United Kingdom passed away at Trillium Health Partners Hospital in Mississauga, becoming the first resident of the city to die after contracting the virus.

In her statement, De Villa said that the number of fatalities from COVID-19 in Toronto now significantly outpaces the 2003 SARS epidemic, which only resulted in 43 deaths across the GTA.

She said that it is also in line with the 1,000 Torontonians that die each year from heart attacks and related cardiovascular diseases.

“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 warned. “We have already lost too many people to COVID-19 and we must do everything we can reasonably do to prevent any more deaths.”

Toronto now accounts for nearly 40 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in Ontario.

Only Montreal has reported more deaths in people who have contracted COVID-19 among Canadian cities with 3,238.