COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - April 22

Dear friends,

Right now, we are dealing with two realities: vaccine supply is limited, and the pressure on our hospital and health care system is very serious. That’s why the City of Toronto, Toronto Public Health, and our hospitals and healthcare partners are doing everything we can to get vaccines to our most vulnerable, as quickly as possible. 

This means prioritizing areas that have been the hardest hit in our city, and where the largest number of essential workers live. Many of these neighbourhoods are in Toronto’s northwest and Scarborough. At the same time, Toronto Paramedics and Fire Services are actively working with our healthcare partners to create new mobile vaccination teams. These teams will provide on-site shots to vulnerable people, with a focus on shelters, drop-ins, encampments and other service areas. 

We know that the story of this pandemic is a story about work. It’s the essential workers who can’t work from home and who have kept us safe, who are at highest risk. That’s why this week, our Medical Officer of Health announced new actions to tackle workplace outbreaks. But we know that more needs to be done: essential workers still need paid sick leave. I will continue to push for the Province to implement our recommendation and mandate 10 days of paid sick leave for all workers, effective immediately. 

I know this is a very hard and uncertain time. But by staying home if we are able, wearing our masks, and looking out for each other, we will get through this. 

Together, we can do this.

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Team Toronto Sprint Strategy to Increase Vaccinations in 13 Highest-Priority Neighbourhoods
  2. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  3. Registration Open for Virtual Spring Recreation Programs
  4. Update on New Affordable and Supportive Housing at 222 Spadina Avenue
  5. Virtual Town Hall: How to Win Affordable Housing for Our City
  6. Bag of Toronto - Supporting Local Businesses
  7. The Laneway Project: Winterways at McDougall Lane
  8. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses
  9. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
  10. COVID-19 Information and Resources

1. Team Toronto Sprint Strategy to Increase Vaccinations in 13 Highest-Priority Neighbourhoods

Yesterday the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health announced our Team Toronto Sprint Strategy. This is a partnership between the City, our hospitals and healthcare partners, and community organizations -- all working together to vaccinate adults 18+ in 13 of the hardest-hit areas, based on available vaccine supply. 

I know that many people have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in hot spot postal codes that were identified by the Province of Ontario, two of which are located in Ward 10: M5V and M6K. Due to limited supply, there is unfortunately not enough vaccine to immediately hold pop-up and mobile immunization clinics for those 18+ in all 53 of the hot spot postal codes identified by the Province. As a result, mobile and pop-up clinics are being prioritized to serve the highest-risk communities.

The 13 highest-priority areas identified by postal code for mobile and pop-up clinics throughout the Sprint Strategy are:

  • Northwest: M9W, M9V, M9L, M9M, M9N, M6M, M3K, M3J, M3N, M3M
  • Central: M4H
  • East: M1J, M1G

High-risk areas have been determined by Toronto Public Health and our health care partners based on ongoing and historic high rates of COVID-19 transmission, hospitalization and death. 

As Ward 10 neighbourhoods are not at highest risk and vaccine supply remains limited, details on pop-up/mobile clinics for Ward 10 are not yet available. I am working closely with Toronto Public Health and our health care partners to plan for bringing vaccines directly to those who are most vulnerable in our local communities as vaccine supply increases, followed by wider availability to everyone in all hot spot postal codes.

If you live in M5V or M6K:
People age 50 or older (or who are turning 50 this year) can currently book vaccination appointments at our City-run immunization clinics online at www.toronto.ca/covid-19 or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).

If you live in Ward 10 but not in M5V or M6K: 
Those age 60 or older (or who are turning 60 this year) can currently book a vaccination appointment at a City-run immunization clinic regardless of where they live in Toronto, at www.toronto.ca/covid-19 or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).

All Torontonians age 40 and above can book a vaccine appointment through the Province’s Pharmacy Program by contacting a participating pharmacy, regardless of what neighbourhood you live in. A list of participating pharmacies can be found here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations

It is important to note that vaccine supply is still limited. Opportunities for more people to be vaccinated will be announced as vaccine supply increases. I will provide an update as soon as more information on immunization opportunities for Ward 10 residents becomes available.


2. 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 on Mondays and Wednesdays at 2 pm, and access past updates here.

On Wednesday, Dr. de Villa spoke about how serious the current wave of the pandemic is. She noted that the current numbers of people who are hospitalized, who are in the ICU, and who are intubated in Toronto are the highest they have been at any point during the pandemic.

She also noted that thus far, 2,970 people have died from COVID-19 in our city. If the loss of life continues as it has, we can expect to pass a death toll of 3,000 very soon. With this in mind, Dr. de Villa reiterated that we must keep staying home, staying apart, keeping a careful distance outdoors when we’re around people we don’t live with, wearing a mask, and getting vaccinated as soon as you can. 

You can read her full remarks here


3. Registration Open for Virtual Spring Recreation Programs

Registration is now open for virtual spring recreation programs. The City is offering numerous virtual programs to provide safe, at-home activities for all ages and abilities, including art, fitness and martial arts programs.

The new virtual spring recreation programs are aimed at children, youth, and older adults. Programs are live and interactive, delivered weekly via WebEx and range from 30 to 60 minutes in length. Participation will require a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer with internet access. Fees vary depending on the program. Adapted, inclusive programming is free. 

Registration opens on April 22 for approximately 1,000 available spaces, and programs will begin the week of May 3.

Learn more here


4. Update on New Affordable and Supportive Housing at 222 Spadina Avenue


We can't solve Toronto's affordable housing shortage with half-measures. We need bold steps – like acquiring a private hotel in our downtown core and turning it into permanent affordable housing with fully-integrated supports for people in our community.

Last week we announced that with support from the Federal Government, we're turning 222 Spadina in downtown Toronto – formerly the Super 8 Hotel – into deeply affordable studio, 1-bed, and 2-bed apartments for 84 people, with on-site health and social supports. These units will be ready for people to move in this year.

The announcement about 222 Spadina also includes the City and Federal Government's partnership in purchasing 877 Yonge, a 15-storey former retirement residence that will provide new affordable, supportive homes for 250 people.

I’m pleased to share that today the Planning and Housing Committee approved recommendations to advance this initiative. 

Visit my website to learn more.


5. Virtual Town Hall: How to Win Affordable Housing for Our City

Join Progress Toronto, Social Planning Toronto, ACORN, and Parkdale People's Economy for a virtual town hall on winning affordable housing for our city. 

Wednesday, April 28th
6:30 PM on Zoom
Register and learn more here: http://tinurl.com/townhall-affordable-housing


6. Bag of Toronto – Supporting Local Businesses

It's more important than ever that we celebrate and support local businesses. One way to do this is through Bag of Toronto – a curated assortment of specialty products, delivered right to your door. 

Bag of Toronto is back for a special Mother’s Day edition. 

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

A portion of the profits and all tips will support local charities in each neighbourhood. 


7. The Laneway Project: Winterways at McDougall Lane

The Laneway Project is launching their Winterways project in Queen Street West. Winterways is an adaptation project that will use permanent improvements – lighting, shelter, and colour – to transform McDougall Lane into a welcoming place for outdoor public life in the winter. 

Project design will take place in Spring and Summer 2021, with installation in September 2021.

The kick off and site analysis e-meeting will be on Tuesday, May 4, from 6-7:30 pm. Come and share your observations and ideas about the laneway, winter challenges, and opportunities. You can find more information here: www.thelanewayproject.ca/winterways-mcdougall-lane


8. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses

Sign up for BusinessTO News, a weekly newsletter that focuses on available resources and supports to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on Toronto businesses. Learn about the current health situation, changes to City services, resources, and economic support. 

Upcoming free webinars:

General Small Business Tax Literacy Seminar
Geared toward unincorporated businesses, this seminar will help participants understand their tax obligations and provide them with the resources needed to navigate the tax system.
Friday, April 23, 9:30 a.m. – noon
Register 

Social Media for Your Business
Social media is an invaluable tool for small businesses, whether you’re just starting out or have been established for years. Learn how to leverage the power of social media to grow your online community, drive sales and reduce marketing costs.
Tuesday, May 4, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Register 

Click here for more upcoming webinars


9. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website

Protect yourself and others, get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s your turn.

Visit toronto.ca/covid19vaccine for up-to-date eligibility information. 


10. 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: [email protected]

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