COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - November 27th
Almost nine months after our first lockdown, Toronto and Peel Region have entered another. While the Ontario government’s measures are necessary to combat rising case counts, hospitalizations, and fatalities, they come with a big cost – especially for the residents and communities that have been hit hardest by this virus.
As we hunker down again, we need to ask three questions of all levels of government: What are you doing to protect affected vulnerable people, workers and local businesses? What are you doing to help people manage isolation and get through this winter? And how will you use this time to develop the public health infrastructure to make sure we don’t have to do this again?
In my op-ed in the Toronto Star this week, I ask these questions, and look at what we need to do to get through this lockdown – and prevent another one.
We know that this winter will be tough for everyone. But we don’t have to accept a long, painful second wave, or a third wave as inevitable. We can still beat COVID, if we work together.
In this Edition
- City Council Approves Board of Health Recommendations
- Lockdown Guide for Toronto Residents
- Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
- COVID-19 Pop-up Testing at Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre
- City Reopening CurbTO Registration for Temporary Pick-Up Zones to Help Small Businesses
- Council Calls on Province to Abandon Proposed Child Care Changes
- Supporting Outdoor Recreation this Winter
- City Services Modified to Adhere to Provincial Lockdown Measures
- Planned Road Closures on Lake Shore Blvd E
- Trustee Stephanie Donaldson’s Ward Forum
- Bag of Toronto – Supporting Local Businesses
- City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map
- COVID-19 Information and Resources
City Council Approves Board of Health Recommendations
This week City Council endorsed recommendations from the Board of Health calling for paid sick leave and income supports as part of the Provincial and Federal government COVID-19 response. These supports would go a long way in protecting the communities and residents hit hardest by this virus.
City Council also voted to scale up supports for high-needs communities in the northwest and northeast, with funding for community agencies as part of Toronto's COVID Equity Action Plan.
The City is rolling out immediate measures for these communities, as announced on Monday. The targeted measures build on work that the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health began in March, and include updates on the following areas:
- Improving access to COVID-19 testing
- Partnering with trusted community organizations to share public health information
- Connecting individuals and their families to critical supports
The City is working with the Province of Ontario to scale up testing by using city-owned facilities as additional testing sites, improving transportation to testing sites through the city's vehicles, and expanding mobile testing and site hours.
We are also partnering with community agencies to increase education and outreach in areas that have been hard-hit by the virus. That includes expanding case management and community supports, equipping residents with masks, and applying a family-inclusive approach to the City's voluntary isolation centre. It also means reaching out to people who may be hesitant or afraid to get a COVID test due to loss of work or income if they test positive, and connecting them with income and health supports.
We also know that workers and owners of small businesses are struggling right now. That's why Council is calling on the Province and Feds to scale up financial support for employees and businesses that have been directly impacted by public health restrictions.
Click here to read all of the Board of Health recommendations approved at City Council this week.
Lockdown Guide for Toronto Residents
To help Torontonians keep track of changes to public health guidelines and provincial regulations, the City has created an easy-to-follow Lockdown Guide.
As with every City webpage, it can also be translated into 51 languages with the translate icon at the bottom of the page.
Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
Our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and other City division leaders have been providing twice-weekly updates on the current situation and response to COVID-19 in Toronto. You can view the press conferences live at 2pm, and access past updates here.
In her update on Wednesday, Dr. de Villa shared the map below which shows the neighbourhoods in Toronto that meet the Provincial Red zone criteria of greater than 40 cases per 100,000 people for the week of November 8.
In Toronto, the three neighbourhoods with the highest rates are at 514 cases per 100,000, 427 cases per 100,000 and 361 cases per 100,000 people.
Even if your neighbourhood isn’t currently red, it could swiftly become so, given the level of inclusion is 40 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.
Dr. de Villa spoke about these numbers, and how they show the urgent need to limit contact to only those in your household as much as possible. At these levels of infection, the risk from contact with other people is significant, and we must continue to keep our distance.
COVID-19 Pop-up Testing at Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre
On Monday November 30th, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre will be hosting the delivery of a pop-up testing site.
City Reopening CurbTO Registration for Temporary Pick-Up Zones to Help Small Businesses
The City of Toronto has re-opened registration for CurbTO temporary parking pick-up zones to help support main street businesses while Toronto is in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.
Throughout the summer, around 100 Temporary Parking Pick-Up Zones helped by repurposing parking locations along main streets for short-term parking (no more than 10 minutes). Potential customers and delivery agents have used them to expedite food, medicine and other merchandise pick-ups by making parking spots immediately available near main street businesses offering curbside pick-up and delivery.
With Toronto in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework, the message from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is that the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is for residents to stay home and only go out for essentials. Making short-term parking available for curbside pick-up or delivery services supports both public health measures and local businesses.
Main street businesses and BIAs can register or learn more about the program at toronto.ca/curbto.
Council Calls on Province to Abandon Proposed Child Care Changes
At this week’s meeting, Toronto City Council unanimously endorsed staff recommendations that object to the Province of Ontario’s proposed changes to the child care system.
In October, the Province quietly rolled out a series of proposed changes, including:
- Mixing infants and toddlers into one group;
- Lowering the age that a child care may be placed in a Preschool group to 24-months of age; and,
- Loosening qualification requirements for staff working in licensed child care.
The City’s report was built on engagement and feedback from parents, service providers, and other stakeholders. The overwhelming majority of feedback was critical of the changes, which would place some younger children into larger groups, with fewer qualified staff.
We know that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on parents having access to safe and affordable child care. This is especially true for women. Instead of undermining our child care system, the Province should be supporting child care staff, and investing in new affordable child care spaces so that all parents can return to work.
Earlier this month, I joined Councillor Layton (Ward 11, University-Rosedale), the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care for a virtual press conference to draw attention to the objections to the Province’s changes, and call for more investment in accessible, affordable child care.
Supporting Outdoor Recreation this Winter
It's more important than ever that we take care of our physical and mental health this winter. That's why we’ve announced Toronto's Winter Parks and Recreation Plan for safe outdoor activities we can all enjoy during the cold winter months.
While we need to continue to keep our distance from anyone that we don't live with, the City's Winter Plan has lots of safe outdoor activities you can enjoy with your household, at the City's 54 outdoor ice rinks and 30 natural rinks, 23 toboggan hills, and 8 new snowshoe trail loops.
To increase access to our 160 parks and 60 km of paved recreational trails, we're scaling up snow maintenance and washroom access. The City is doubling its supply of open winter park washrooms this year, from 64 to 143.
Some new systems will be in place, like reservations for the City's ice skating rinks and reduced capacity limits. But we're continuing to ensure everyone in our city has access to exercise, fresh air, and fun outdoor activities this winter.
City Services Modified to Adhere to Provincial Lockdown Measures
The City of Toronto has updated facility and service information with changes that came into effect, Monday, November 23, when the city moved into the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.
The City supports all efforts to reduce and eliminate the transmission of COVID-19 and is acting to protect the healthcare system and save lives.
A list of how services and programs are impacted can be found on the City’s website here.
Planned Road Closures on Lake Shore Blvd E
Lake Shore Boulevard East, between Jarvis Street and Parliament Street, as well as part of Sherbourne Street at Lake Shore Boulevard, will be fully closed in both directions on Saturday to accommodate filming. The closure will take place from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and residents should be aware that part of the filming will include stunt driving sequences. Transit riders can expect impacts to the following routes during this closure: 6 Bay, 65 Parliament, 72 Pape, 75 Sherbourne and 121 Fort-York Esplanade.
Trustee Stephanie Donaldson’s Ward Forum
Bag of Toronto - Supporting Local Businesses
It's more important than ever that we celebrate and support local businesses. A new way to do this is through Bag of Toronto – a curated assortment of specialty products, delivered right to your door. A portion of the profits and all tips will support local charities in each neighbourhood.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map
The City of Toronto has created a COVID-19 Essential Service Mapping Tool.
This tool has up-to-date service listings across Toronto, including food banks, meal delivery programs, community health services and more. Additional layers and details are being updated daily by 211 Toronto.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
It is important 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
Call if you develop symptoms.
Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services.