COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - June 17

Dear friends,

Build every bridge and break down every barrier to vaccination: that's been our commitment from Day 1. That's the purpose of our #VaxTO campaign – to connect with Torontonians in every corner of our city.

Since we launched VaxTO in late May, we've reached:

  • 870,000+ Torontonians through interactive voice message broadcasts
  • 840,000+ people through targeted media ads
  • 58,000+ people through the initial telephone town hall session
  • Connected 6,200 people to vaccine bookings through our text line

The VaxTO text line at 1-833-750-0888 now includes 14 different language options, and a postal code lookup feature that makes it easy for Torontonians to find the City-run immunization clinics and pharmacies closest to them.

Our VaxTO campaign will continue to scale up, while across the city, 155 local agencies and 280 neighbourhood ambassadors are doing on-the-ground outreach, providing information and helping people get their shots.

A successful immunization campaign means reaching everyone, everywhere. That’s the work at hand. We won’t stop until we get there. 

Sincerely,

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Toronto Reaches New Milestone in Vaccination Rollout 
  2. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  3. City of Toronto Partners with Toronto Region Board of Trade to Distribute COVID-19 Screening Kits to Help Businesses Safely Reopen
  4. Ontario Line Update – Transit-Oriented Development Plans
  5. Virtual Women’s Safety Panel – Recording Link
  6. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses
  7. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
  8. COVID-19 Information and Resources

1. Toronto Reaches New Milestone in Vaccination Rollout 

Earlier this week, our city achieved a new milestone in our immunization rollout: 20% of Toronto adults (age 18 and up) have now been fully vaccinated, with two doses of vaccine. At the same time, nearly 75% of Toronto adults have now received their first dose. 

Today, the City announced that along with our Team Toronto partners we have administered more than 7,000 first vaccine doses to all people who were initially identified for in-home vaccination. Team Toronto vaccination partners are now working to complete  in-home second doses of COVID-19 vaccine for homebound residents.

This is great progress, but we’re not even close to done yet. Toronto Public Health and our Team Toronto partners will continue breaking down barriers to vaccine access. 

Earlier this week, the Province of Ontario opened accelerated second dose bookings to individuals who received a first dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine on or before May 9, and people who received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine eight weeks or more ago. People who currently qualify for an accelerated second dose can visit: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/

Additional blocks of appointments are often released throughout the week. If you have difficulty finding an appointment through the provincial book system, please check back on the following days. Additionally, eligible people may be able to book an accelerated second dose at a participating pharmacy. More information is available here

Everyone age 12 years or older is encouraged to book a first dose appointment as soon as possible by clicking the blue “Book a Vaccine” button at the City’s COVID-19 webpage or through phone by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.

More information on vaccine eligibility is available here. 


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 the ongoing risks posed by the Delta variant. While Public Health England has confirmed that vaccines are over 90%  protective against hospitalization from the Delta variant, this is only the case after two doses. With only one vaccine dose, protection is significantly lower, and it is lowest for people that have neither of their shots. 

The Delta variant is estimated to be at least 50% more contagious than the UK variant of COVID-19, and more than 90% of new COVID-19 cases in the UK are now the Delta variant. The Delta variant is here in Toronto and we must continue to stay vigilant and get vaccinated so that we do not let it take over.

Dr. de Villa also spoke briefly about the supply of Moderna vaccines that are coming in to Toronto this week and next, and will be administered both at the City’s mass immunization clinics and our vaccination partner network. Dr. de Villa confirmed that Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization or NACI has found “no important difference” between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. They are essentially interchangeable, and people who received either vaccine for their first dose should get whichever one is available to them first for their second dose, so that they can complete their vaccination and be protected as quickly as possible.

You can read Dr. de Villa’s full remarks here


3. City of Toronto Partners with Toronto Region Board of Trade to Distribute COVID-19 Screening Kits to Help Businesses Safely Reopen

The City of Toronto has partnered with the Toronto Region Board of Trade to provide free COVID-19 rapid screening kits to small- and medium-sized businesses across Toronto. Businesses in Toronto with 150 or fewer employees are welcome to participate in this voluntary initiative.

Use of rapid screening kits by employees of small- and medium-sized businesses can help identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace, thereby reducing the spread of COVID-19 at work, at home, and in the community.

Eligible businesses can visit https://bot.com/rapidscreening to order their initial four-week supply of testing kits from the Toronto Region Board of Trade and book a time slot for pickup.

Click here to learn more.


4. Ontario Line Update – Transit-Oriented Development Plans

On June 15, the Province of Ontario released new information on their development proposals associated with the Ontario Line, including plans for mixed-use developments at the Exhibition, King-Bathurst, and Queen-Spadina transit stations. Having just received this information, my office is now working with City staff to gain a comprehensive understanding of the proposals and the formal review process, including public engagement opportunities. 

Our fast-growing neighbourhoods in the downtown core need new rapid transit. We also need more affordable housing, and integrating new homes with development of transit stations makes sense. However, it is vitally important that the Ontario Line, including any development associated with stations, is designed and planned in active collaboration with the public, includes new affordable housing, and helps create sustainable and diverse neighbourhoods.

There are no trade-offs here: we can – and we must – build rapid transit along with liveable, affordable, and well-planned downtown communities.

I will continue to advocate to the Province for a development process that includes meaningful engagement with the local community and members of the public, as well as the City of Toronto. As my team and I follow up with the Province and City staff to learn more about these proposals, we look forward to providing you with regular updates. 


5. Virtual Women’s Safety Panel – Recording Link

On June 2, Councillor Wong-Tam hosted a Women’s Safety Panel in partnership with Dixon Hall, to discuss safety concerns expressed by female-identified community members in the Downtown East area, and to provide strategies and accessible resources.

The panel included presentations from special guests Susan Davis (Executive Director, Gerstein Crisis Centre), Pauline Larson (Director of Economic and Community Development, Downtown Yonge BIA), Uppala Chandrasekera (Social Worker), Scott McKean (Community Safety & Wellbeing Unit, City of Toronto), and Inspector Susan Gomes (Toronto Police Services, 51 Division).

Click here to view the recording of the panel

Click here to access the women’s safety resource guide.


6. 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:

Ask the Expert: Marketing & Sales
Marketing your business has never been as important as it is today. This webinar will show you how to successfully market your product or service using easy and affordable sales and marketing tactics.
Friday, June 18, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Register 

Starting a Home-based Food Business
Interested in starting a food business from home? This course provides a review of food safety requirements and regulations, along with best practices to ensure any home-based food business is set up to operate safely.
Monday, June 21, 9:30am – 11:30am
Register 

Click here for more upcoming webinars


7. 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. 


8. 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