Today, Mayor John Tory, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and Toronto Fire Chief and General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management, Matthew Pegg, provided an update on the City’s continuing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto.
There are 60,054 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 1,069 new cases today. There are 345 people hospitalized. In total, 52,038 people have recovered from COVID-19. To date, there have been 1,921 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.
The City supports all efforts to reduce and eliminate the transmission of COVID-19 in the city to protect the healthcare system and save lives. Toronto entered the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework on November 23. Lockdown restrictions include prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining, closing in-person shopping at retail stores and malls (except for essential businesses), limiting the capacity of those essential businesses, closing gyms and recreation programs and closing personal services such as salons and tattoo parlours.
The Province of Ontario extended this lockdown to all of Ontario and through to January 23, 2021. Updates to City services are available online and updated as needed.
The City will be providing emergency child care for the children of essential workers during the provincially-mandated remote learning period from January 4 to 8. In addition to community child care centres approved by the province, three City-operated child care centres and the City’s home child care agency, have submitted applications to the Province to provide child care services to eligible essential workers during that time. More details are available in the City new release issued earlier today.
Toronto is also working to make sure students still have access to nutritious food during the lockdown. The City is the largest funder of student nutrition programs supported by Toronto Public Health. Earlier this month, the Board of Health approved student nutrition partners using those funds to purchase nutritious food for students who are learning remotely. Details of this initiative are available in the City new release issued earlier today.
As of today, the level of infection in every neighbourhood in Toronto meets, or even exceeds, the Province’s criteria for red zone designation. This means that should the lockdown be lifted, Toronto would still be subject to stringent and broader-scale measures and restrictions, across multiple sectors. Restrictions in the red zone category are still severe and would continue to impact businesses and services across the city.
All people in the city are strongly urged to stay home as much as possible. This action is critical in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the health care system. This is especially important to remember with New Year’s Eve approaching. Only celebrate in-person with the people in the same household; celebrate virtually with all others. Toronto, like many other municipalities across Canada, is celebrating New Year’s Eve virtually and is proud to collaborate with the CN Tower and CHUM1045 to host New Year’s Eve online, in a delightful celebration of light and sound.
Having family or friends who are not members of the household over for a social visit is prohibited under provincial orders. Essential support workers and emergency repairpersons are exempt. Outdoor public events or social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people; however, gathering with anyone from other households anywhere, including outside, is strongly discouraged at this time.
Residents should only consider leaving their homes for essential activities such as work, education and fresh air or exercise. As much as possible, residents are asked to limit contact to people in the same household, keep at least two metres (six feet) apart from people not in the same household and wear a mask when outside of their homes, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult. Non-essential travel outside of one’s own community is also strongly discouraged.
Reducing the number of people out in the community, directly reduces the number of potential contacts and exposures to COVID-19. To avoid future or prolonged restrictions, it is important that Torontonians follow the advice and orders of public health experts to protect the healthcare system and to save lives.
Washing hands frequently and remaining at home when ill are also essential to reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Following public health advice is even more important now that variants of the COVID-19 virus have been identified in many countries, including Canada.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check the City’s COVID-19 web page for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.