COVID-19 Updates - Dec 31, 2021

Dear friends,

With COVID-19 cases rising due to the Omicron variant, entering 2022 can feel tough. But, we must not forget that vaccines work. Getting a third dose has been proven to protect against severe health outcomes. 

In order to continue scaling up and expanding our capacity to deliver vaccine doses as quickly as possible, our pharmacy, hospital, and public health workers have been canceling their holidays to keep our vaccine clinics running. Staff across the Toronto Public Service are continuing to adapt and be redeployed when needed in order to maintain essential services, and keep our city safe.

Team Toronto has your back. We will continue to do everything — absolutely everything — to accelerate boosters, break down barriers, and reach everyone.

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy New Year, 

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Government of Ontario Announces Updated Public Health Measures and Guidance
  2. Team Toronto Holiday Vaccination Push — More than 3/4 Million Residents with 3rd Doses
  3. Proactive Redeployment and Rapid Testing Measures to Ensure Continuity of Essential City Services
  4. Safely Celebrating New Year’s Eve

1. Government of Ontario Announces Updated Public Health Measures and Guidance

On December 30, the Government of Ontario announced updated public health measures and guidance in response to the Omicron variant. 

Updates included are testing and isolation guidelines, return to class for students following the winter break, capacity measures for larger indoor settings, and fourth doses for long-term care residents. 

Toronto Public Health and the City of Toronto are continuing to review the new Provincial measures and guidelines, and we will continue to provide any additional updates as soon as they become available. 

Please visit the Government of Ontario website here for full details on updated measures and guidance


2. Team Toronto Holiday Vaccination Push — More than 3/4 Million Residents with 3rd Doses

On Christmas Day I visited our City-run mass vaccine clinic at Mitchell Field to thank the residents getting vaccinated, and the staff who have been working tirelessly throughout the holidays. 

The true heroes of this holiday season are our Team Toronto health care and frontline workers across our city. They have already sacrificed so much these past two years, and now they have stepped up to keep our vaccination clinics running on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, and every day in between. 

Thanks to them, we have now reached more than three quarters of a million people with a third dose and 43 per cent of eligible 5-11 year olds with a first dose.

From December 23 to 29, Team Toronto administered 195,244 adult doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at sites across the City, including 180,961 eligible adults receiving their third doses, and 4,740 brave 5-11 year-olds rolling up their sleeves to get their first dose.

While Torontonians prepare to ring in a new year, Team Toronto remains focused on getting first, second and third doses into the arms of all who are eligible. Holiday vaccination outreach will continue into the upcoming New Year’s weekend with approximately 14,000 appointments booked from January 1 to 3, 2022.

Visit the City’s How to Get Vaccinated webpage for information on booking appointments, transportation support to clinics, and homebound vaccination.


3. Proactive Redeployment and Rapid Testing Measures to Ensure Continuity of Essential City Services

As we continue to respond to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the City is working to urgently implement proactive redeployment and rapid testing measures to ensure essential City services, as well as vaccination efforts, continue to be delivered.

Preparations are in place to redeploy hundreds of City staff in support of critical and essential services. Their knowledge and experience from the first round of redeployment in 2020 will help to ensure a seamless transition as they step in to ensure service continuity.

The use of rapid antigen testing is also being expanded to include priority essential and critical services such as fire, paramedics, children's services, water, and public health as an enhanced measure in the City’s screening process to prevent workplace transmission.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, staff across the Toronto Public Service have gone above and beyond to prepare, adapt, and be redeployed when needed in order to maintain essential services, and keep our city safe. 

Click here to learn more


4. Safely Celebrating New Year’s Eve

The City of Toronto will safely ring in 2022 with a livestream featuring pre-recorded performances from iconic Toronto music venues and other locations leading up to fireworks across the waterfront. This year’s program allows Torontonians to enjoy the festivities safely at home, helping to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

At midnight, high-altitude fireworks displays will launch simultaneously across Toronto’s waterfront as part of the livestream broadcast. Fireworks will be viewable from anywhere with views of Lake Ontario. Please note that there are no fireworks happening at Nathan Phillips Square or the CN Tower.

This year’s livestream show and fireworks celebrates the progress the city has made confronting the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 21 months and honours our frontline workers, including all members of Team Toronto working non-stop to help residents get vaccinated.

The City’s New Year’s Eve programming is designed with guidance from Toronto Public Health (TPH). The City and TPH recommend that the public stay at home to safely watch the concert and fireworks via the livestream. Anyone viewing the fireworks out in public should keep two metres distance from people they don’t live with and wear a mask.

Click here to learn more.