Staying Informed - COVID-19 Update

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases outside of China, many Torontonians are understandably concerned. But now is not the time for panic or complacency. Rather, it is important to know the facts and take appropriate precautions. 

Toronto Public Health is working non-stop to prepare for, respond to, and prevent the spread of this virus. 

This morning I joined our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and Mayor John Tory to provide a full update on Toronto’s preparedness plan and response to COVID-19. Given the global circumstances, Toronto Public Health is carefully monitoring this matter, and actively working with our City and provincial and federal health partners. We are prepared to scale up additional measures as needed in response to this evolving situation.

More countries are now reporting cases of COVID-19. In response, the Ontario Ministry of Health has expanded the list of designated affected areas beyond mainland China to include Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Iran and Italy. It is important to note that there has been an increase in cases of COVID-19 in Iran, and a small number of individuals in Toronto with recent travel history in this country have contracted COVID-19. Toronto Public Health has followed up with each of these individuals and their contacts.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is now advising those with a recent history of travel in Iran to self-isolate for a period of 14 days after their last day in Iran. This is similar to the advice being given to individuals who have travelled to Hubei Province, China. Toronto residents who have travelled in these areas are asked to call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 within 24 hours of when they arrive in Toronto to receive support and further instructions.

Toronto Public Health continues to advise on the best measures to prevent infection and to avoid exposure to this virus:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds (if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer);
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • avoid close contact with people who are ill;
  • stay home when you are ill;
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands;
  • if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm; and
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

One of the most important things residents can do to prepare is to stay informed by regularly reviewing credible information sources including our website www.toronto.ca/coronavirus. Residents can also call 416-338-7600, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Again, I understand that for many Torontonians this is concerning, and that is completely understandable. The health and safety of Torontonians is our top priority, and Toronto Public Health continues to work non-stop to prepare for any scenario.