April 3rd - COVID-19 Updates and Information

Dear friends,

The spring weather we’ve all been waiting for is finally arriving, and I know you want to be outside in the parks and on the streets. But as our public health officials have told us, the window is closing to prevent significant loss of life and the overwhelming of our healthcare system. If you’re not an essential worker, it is critical that you stay home as much as possible. This is about saving lives. 

Our Medical Officer of Health has been clear. The spread of this virus and the amount of time we have to keep up with all of these measures — school closures, work closures, and staying at home — is entirely up to all of us. 

The sooner we all agree to follow the rules, the faster we can make it through this challenging time.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is a marathon, not a sprint. This virus will not go away tomorrow, next week, or even next month. As a city, we must rise to meet this test — and I know we will.

We are all in this together.

Sincerely, 

 

Joe

 


Ontario Government Releases COVID-19 Projection Numbers

Today, the Ontario Government released the projection numbers for where our province is heading in the COVID-19 pandemic. These numbers are serious. How long the pandemic lasts, how many people are infected, and how many lives are lost — it's all up to how much action we take.

As Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. de Villa has said, the projections show that both success and disaster are possible. The measures we have put in place so far have saved thousands of lives. But it’s not enough. Right now, Ontario is on a similar trend path as the US.

If public health measures hadn't been in place, Ontario could have seen 100,000 deaths. But if we don’t continue to stay at home, if we keep gathering in public, if we keep acting like the rules don't apply to us — this could still become our reality.

It’s important to note that even if all public health measures are followed correctly, there will still be loss of life. This is a crisis. There is great uncertainty. But we know that what we’ve already done has saved many lives, and doing more in the weeks ahead will save thousands more.

The province’s numbers tell a clear story. The moral is this: stay home. Limit trips to the grocery store or errands to once a week. Only go out for essential activities. Take care of each other. I believe we will get through this, together.


City of Toronto Measures to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

Over the past few weeks, the City of Toronto has taken a series of actions to limit the transmission of COVID-19. But as the number of cases in our city continues to rise, it’s clear that we need to step up our response. We need to use absolutely every tool we have in order to fight this pandemic and save lives. 

On Wednesday, under the recommendations of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, the City of Toronto announced new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. These orders are the strongest tools that the City has to require people to stay home and maintain physical distance from others. 

The following measures are to take effect immediately, for up to 12 weeks: 

  • All individuals with COVID-19 are ordered by the Medical Officer of Health to stay home, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, for 14 days
  • All individuals who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are also ordered to stay home by the Medical Officer of Health for 14 days
  • People returning from international travel must stay home for 14 days (under federal order)
  • Anyone over the age of 70, as the province announced this week, is strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible
  • All other individuals, who are not ill or have not travelled, are strongly directed to stay home, except for the following reasons
    • Accessing healthcare or medications
    • Shop for groceries once per week
    • Walk their dogs or get daily exercise
    • Must maintain a physical distancing of at least 2 metres at all times 

We are asking residents to adhere to these orders in the interest of public health and safety. While the City is educating the public in understanding why these measures are important, there will be fines associated with non-compliance. 

Yesterday, the City of Toronto also announced a new bylaw requiring physical distancing in all City of Toronto parks and public squares. Any two people who don't live together, who fail to keep two metres of distance between them in a park or public square, will be subject to prosecution and will be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 upon conviction. The City has asked the Chief Justice of the Province of Ontario to issue a set fine for this offence.

The City has taken this action – which is in effect for at least the next 30 days - to further drive home the message that people have to keep their distance from each other to avoid spreading COVID-19 in our city and to save lives.

These are the boldest actions that we as a City are able to take. We will continue working with our federal and provincial partners to coordinate province-wide and national responses. 


Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health and the Head of the Office of Emergency Management 

Our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, the head of the City’s Office of Emergency Management, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, and other City division leaders have been providing daily updates on the current situation and response to COVID-19 in Toronto. You can view the daily press conferences live at 3:45pm, and access past updates here

Update from Dr. Eileen de Villa

Today Dr. de Villa stated the importance of the COVID-19 projection numbers released by the provincial government. Toronto is home to about 20% of the population of Ontario, therefore, using the provincial numbers, they roughly estimate that Toronto may see somewhere between 600 to 3,000 deaths by the end of this pandemic. Although these numbers are stark, we hope that they are a wakeup call.  We all need to see this as an opportunity and personal responsibility to prevent this from happening. This is why everyone who can, everyone who is not an essential worker or a healthcare worker, needs to stay home now. 

Dr. de Villa reminded us that these are more than just numbers, they are our friends, our families and our neighbours. They are our essential workers, our healthcare workers, they are the people that work each and every day to keep us safe. Most of all, that these deaths are preventable.

Read all of Dr. de Villa’s statements here

Update from Fire Chief Matthew Pegg

Today Chief Pegg provided a reminder of the new bylaw introduced yesterday requiring physical distancing in all City of Toronto parks and public squares. Toronto Police and Bylaw Officers are preparing for the weekend ahead, with a focus on public education about this new bylaw and the importance of physical distancing. 

Read all of Chief Pegg’s statements here.


City of Toronto to Resume Yard Waste Pickup for Two Weeks

The City of Toronto is resuming yard waste collection for a period of two weeks, beginning Monday, April 6 to Friday, April 17. The start of seasonal yard waste collection was suspended as part of the City’s COVID-19 response to ensure staffing levels to continue the core collection of garbage, blue bin (recycling) and green bin (organics).

Residents are asked to put their yard waste out before 7 a.m. on their regularly scheduled garbage/yard waste collection day. To ensure health and safety, residents should only use yard waste bags, not open-top containers.

If yard waste is not picked up on collection day, residents are asked to leave it out. There is no need to call 311 to report a missed collection. Crews will be making their way across the city. Yard waste should not be brought to drop-off depots, which remain closed to the general public.

After the two-week period, the City will assess if it can continue to maintain the service during the COVID-19 response.

For more info about the COVID-10 impacts to Solid Waste Management Services, click here.


Advice from Toronto Public Health – Staying Emotionally Healthy and Resilient During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

We’ve all had to endure a great deal of change over these last couple of weeks – from practicing physical distancing, to working from home, to caring for children home from school, to keeping a distance from our elderly family members and friends – it’s an adjustment, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to not feel okay. But through all of this, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. 

It’s also important for all of us to remember to care for our own mental health during this time. In my last update I shared tips and resources from Toronto Public Health on staying emotionally healthy and resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please click here to view and share. 


Community and Social Supports for Torontonians 

Although many places across Toronto have been closed due to physical distancing measures, there are still social services supports available for residents in need. Through 211, operators can connect residents to income supports, distress lines, and mental health supports to name a few. Call 211, text 21166, or live chat with 211 agents Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., or visit 211toronto.ca to search for services.

A City-Community Response Table meets daily and includes representatives from more than 30 agencies across Toronto and 11 City divisions. This group is working together to identify new and emerging issues affecting vulnerable Torontonians during the COVID-19 emergency and to plan city-wide responses to address and resolve these issues. 

Residents who need to access, or are seeking information on, social and community supports and services, should call 211 for non-emergency requests and information. 211 is a 24/7 help line and web service that connects residents to social and community services.

211 is working closely with community agencies to ensure they are continually updating their database with the most up-to-date programming and resource information.


Resources for Seniors

For seniors not living in long-term care facilities, the City continues to provide essential support services to seniors requiring assistance with personal care, medication reminders, and safety checks through our Supportive Housing program. Many community agencies offer supports to seniors including Meals on Wheels, transportation to appointments, personal support, and adult day programs. Seniors and caregivers should check with the individual agencies to confirm continuity of service delivery. Call 211 (available 24/7 in 150+ languages) to obtain up-to-date information.

Other resources for seniors include:

  • Toronto Seniors Helpline:416-217-2077 or 1-877-621-2077, for support and referral to services

  • Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Home Care: 310-2222 (no area code required) to find out about services in their area

  • Distress Centres of Toronto: 416-408-4357, 416-408-HELP

  • Seniors Safety Line (Elder Abuse Ontario): 1-866-299-1011


Physical Distancing  We All Need to do Our Part

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, we need everyone to stay home, as much as possible. Avoid close contact and keep a distance of 6 feet (2 metres) from others. Everyone has a role to play. The actions you take will protect you, loved ones and those most vulnerable in our community. It’s time to step up, not out. #StayHomeTO

Limit your trips outdoors

  • Minimize trips for groceries, medication and other essentials, ideally to once a week
  • Offer to pick up essentials for neighbours, especially vulnerable community members
  • Ideally, order supplies online
  • Avoid crowded places when exercising or walking the dog outdoors
  • Consider doing aerobics or online exercise classes at home
  • Limit the number of people in elevators to keep distance and use an elbow to press buttons
  • Wash or sanitize your hands when entering and exiting buildings
  • Use tap to pay rather than handling money
  • Greet others from a distance with a wave or a nod

When taking transit or taxi

  • Travel during non-peak hours to avoid prolonged close contact with others
  • Take shorter trips rather than one long trip
  • With taxi and ride share, sit in the back and open windows
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often and avoid touching your face

Avoid physical gatherings

  • Work from home, if possible
  • Facilitate virtual meetings (video or teleconferencing)
  • Cancel all group gatherings, parties or playdates with other children
  • Gatherings with more than 5 people are not allowed (excluding people who live together)
  • Do not go to playgrounds
  • Schedule virtual parties or playdates
  • Connect with loves ones by phone, email video or social media
  • Do not visit loved ones in long-term care homes, retirement homes or other care settings

If sick, stay home and self-isolate

  • People are most contagious when they are sick, or 48 hours before they show symptoms
  • Limit contact with household members
  • Refer to fact sheets on how to self-isolate

What is Self-Isolation?

Self-isolation is when you have been instructed not to leave your home and to separate yourself from others, with the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus, including those within your home. 

You must stay home and self-isolate if you have:

  • A lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection, do not require hospitalization, and a medical practitioner has indicated that you can recover at home
  • Symptoms of COVID-19, even if you have not been tested
  • Been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms
  • Travelled outside of Canada, including the United States, within the past 14 days

For your protection, you should self-isolate if:

  • You are over 70 years of age
  • You have a weak immune system
  • You have a medical condition

Read more about how to self-isolate here


Working Collaboratively for Spadina-Fort York

The rapidly-evolving COVID-19 response requires all levels of government to work closely together. 

I am in regular contact with my Provincial and Federal counterparts regarding the evolving COVID-19 response and how to best support Spadina-Fort York residents, businesses, institutions, and organizations.

Please visit their websites for more information on the Provincial and Federal responses:

MPP Chris Glover
MP Adam Vaughan


COVID-19 Information and Resources

Now is not the time for panic or misinformation. Now is the time to stay informed through credible sources, and to follow the advice of our public health professionals. Together we can limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Please visit the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for the up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19

Government COVID-19 websites

City of Toronto
Province of Ontario
Government of Canada

Telehealth Ontario
Call if you develop symptoms.
Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Telephone: 416-338-7600
TTY: 416-392-0658
Email: PublicHealth@toronto.ca

311 Toronto
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services.
Telephone: 311
TTY: 416-338-0889