COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - November 5th

Dear friends,

It's been a hard nine months, and we're facing a long winter. But this pandemic is not done with us. We don't have to accept a long and painful second wave, or even a potential third one – we can still beat this.

Other jurisdictions have provided us with the roadmap to containing COVID-19. A comprehensive test, trace, and isolation system. Enhanced supports for vulnerable and marginalized populations. Strong measures to protect frontline workers. And, our collective commitment to wearing our masks, washing our hands, and keeping our distance from anyone that we don’t live with. Together, these are the actions we need to take to beat the virus and enable a safe and sustainable re-opening.

I know that we've asked a lot of you this year. But time and time again, Torontonians have risen to the challenge. I know we can do it again.

Sincerely, 

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Ensuring a Safe Reopening for Our City
  2. Adapting City Facilities to Support COVID-19 Response
  3. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  4. Bag of Toronto - Supporting Local Businesses
  5. Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan Updates
  6. Toronto’s Voluntary Isolation Centre
  7. City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map
  8. COVID-19 Information and Resources

Ensuring a Safe Reopening for Our City

The most important thing when it comes to reopening our city is that we do so safely, and in a way that's sustainable. This means scaling up our public health infrastructure and pushing for more protections for frontline workers and vulnerable people in our communities.

This week, the Province of Ontario released their COVID-19 Response Framework, with Toronto set to enter the Orange-Restrict category on Saturday, November 14. The new Framework significantly amends public health restrictions and conditions for food and drink establishments, sports and recreation, meeting and event spaces, retail and other industries. The City is working to communicate with businesses to help owners and staff implement the new measures safely.

A safe reopening requires a comprehensive test, trace, and isolate approach. Toronto Public Health is scaling up work on case management and contact tracing, including adding 200 more staff members to this team – which is already the largest in the county.

While COVID-19 testing is led by the Province, Toronto Public Health and the City are partnering with Sunnybrook Hospital, Michael Garron Hospital, and Humber River Hospital to boost capacity. We're expanding the use of new communication technologies, and supporting partnerships to make COVID-19 testing more accessible through pop-up and mobile testing clinics.

We’re also pushing for protections for workers and residents, including asking the Province to increase sick days and ramp up supports for local businesses and essential workers, including staff in hospitals, grocery stores, long-term care homes, and food production facilities.

When it comes to our city, public health and the economy go hand-in-hand – we can't have a stable one without the other. Reopening safely means doing everything we can to make sure businesses, workers, customers, and Torontonians are protected.


Adapting City Facilities to Support the COVID-19 Response

This year, we've all had to find new and innovative ways to best use the space around us. As part of the City's response to COVID-19, we've adapted and transformed City facilities like parks, libraries, and long-term care homes to respond to urgent needs in our communities. 

Schools across Toronto are using more than 220 City parks for outdoor learning. Teachers and students are able to use these spaces for physical education, lessons that would traditionally be in-class and socially distanced recess.

In partnership with the Province, City-owned community centres have hosted 13 pop-up, low-barrier COVID testing sites for people, including those experiencing homelessness – with more to come.

Kitchens in 2 City-owned long-term care homes are used to prepare 3,600 meals every month for Meals on Wheels, and Toronto Community Housing buildings are hubs for seniors' services, including tenant wellness checks, mask distribution, and onsite flu vaccination.

At their peak mobilization, 12 Toronto Public Library branches were also working to feed their neighbours while community agencies put pandemic processes in place and resumed operations. By the end of September, Toronto Public Library branches had put together almost 14,000 hampers, and branches have now served more than 16,000 households, representing more than 46,000 people. Our libraries are now acting as hubs for free Wi-Fi and computer access. 

As we work together to defeat this second wave, we are continuing to explore ways to use the assets that we have to provide services that protect our most vulnerable.


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

On Wednesday, Dr. de Villa provided updates on how Toronto Public Health is working to support the safest reopening possible for our city. With the goal of lifting the temporary restrictions in the safest way possible, Toronto Public Health has asked the Ontario Government for additional time to ensure this can be done as safely as possible in our city – given our unique size and density, and the thousands and thousands of businesses that need clear information on how they can sustainably reopen. 

At present, our seven day moving average of case counts continues to increase, and we are starting to see more hospitalizations. These figures are concerning but must be examined in the context of the case count figures for several days on either side of it. The need to monitor the data relating to virus spread was another reason for a later reopening date.

Measures underway to implement the safest reopening possible include: 

  • Working with provincial partners to ensure a comprehensive testing approach and capacity
  • Scaling up work in case management and in contact tracing
  • Increasing use of technological innovations, including text messaging tools, robocalls for low-risk contacts, and online surveys
  • Ensuring supports are available for vulnerable and marginalized populations

Read Dr. de Villa’s full update for more details on Toronto Public Health’s work to ensure a safe re-opening


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. 

Support local businesses and two of our Ward 10 Business Improvement Areas (Ossington BIA and Queen West BIA) by ordering yours here: bagoftoronto.ca


Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan - November 2020 Updates

Implementation of the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan is continuing on schedule, with the opening of the Western Channel Promenade set for later this year. 

Staff are also continuing work on the rehabilitation of the Canada Malting Silos. City staff and the consultant team recently met to review detailed designs.

Learn more about the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan here



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

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