News Release
October 23, 2020

Toronto Public Health (TPH) is pleased to partner with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) local athletes and coaches to raise awareness on actions residents can take to reduce COVID-19 spread and help keep everyone safer as we live with this virus. Through this partnership, a series of public service announcements are being launched on social media to promote these important health messages at a critical time.

COVID-19 is on the rise in Toronto. There have been a total of 25,913 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 317 new cases today. There are 123 people hospitalized, an increase of 17 new people. In total, 21,777 people have recovered from COVID-19. To date, and sadly there have been 1,346 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Of the total COVID-19 cases in Toronto, approximately 37 per cent were reported since the beginning of September. Almost 30 per cent of all cases were reported in the last 30 days and over 15 per cent of all cases were reported in the last two weeks. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.

COVID-19 fatigue has contributed to the resurgence of infections in Toronto. The city came together at the beginning of the pandemic and residents took action to slow virus spread. This included wearing masks, washing hands often, keeping a physical distance from people outside our homes and making difficult choices to limit in-person social interactions. These measures worked to reduce virus spread in Toronto during the pandemic’s first wave. Based on the experiences of other jurisdictions, more COVID-19 activity was expected with reopening. We now need a renewed commitment to act differently and follow public health advice once again to slow virus spread, prevent illnesses and deaths in Toronto.

As the City moves forward through the resurgence stage of the pandemic, TPH is urging the public to stay informed with credible information sources and to keep following public health advice limit opportunities for virus spread. The MLSE partnership comes at a critical time to demonstrate and support the importance of ways we can all work together to stay safer as we live with COVID-19.

The first video features Toronto Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse, the second features Toronto FC Captain Michael Bradley and the third features Toronto Maple Leafs Forward Zach Hyman. TPH’s Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vinita Dubey also features in all videos. The video messages promote messages for youth on how to safely wear masks at school, the importance of physical distancing and advice leading teams through challenge. Further videos are in development, including with the Toronto Argonauts, and will be launched soon.

TPH thanks MLSE, the athletes, coaches and staff for their support to raise awareness about steps we can all take to reduce virus spread and stay safer living with COVID-19. Taken together, these actions will have a powerful impact on reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto.

The videos will be shared on social media and are available on TPH’s YouTube channel.

As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, TPH is stressing the important role the public plays in reducing virus spread by taking steps for self-protection. This includes to only consider leaving their homes for essential activities such as work, education, and fresh air and exercise. As much as possible, residents are asked to limit contact with people they do not live with, keep at least six feet apart from people they do not live with, and wear a mask when outside their homes, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult. Residents should wash hands frequently and remain home when unwell.

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 at 416-338-7600 or 311.


“Thank you to the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto FC for teaming up with our public health professionals to help our city confront COVID-19. We are working hard to promote ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. This team effort with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will help us reach young people and combat COVID fatigue. I encourage everyone to keep following public health’s advice to protect yourself, your family, your coworkers, your neighbours, and our entire city.”
– Mayor John Tory

“Whether you’re a frontline essential worker, public health nurse, head coach of the Raptors, or a left-winger for the Leafs, every single resident of our city has a role to play in beating COVID-19. On behalf of Toronto’s Board of Health, I’d like to thank Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment for stepping up, helping to share critical public health advice, and encouraging everyone to do their part.”
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York), Chair, Toronto Board of Health

“I sincerely thank Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and our local athletes for their time and support to share important public health messages to keep everyone safer. We need to get back on track with our COVID-19 prevention measures and make them as normal and routine as taking medicine while we are sick, or putting on a seatbelt when in a car. Watching your distance, wearing your mask and washing your hands may seem like simple measures, but they are powerful tools that when used together make it hard for this virus to spread.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health

“Over the past nine months, protecting our community, and ultimately defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a team effort and MLSE and our teams pride ourselves on being an important part of that community effort. These messages from our players and team officials are just a small way that we can support our public health officials in their work to educate and encourage all Torontonians to follow the health and safety protocols, including wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing, that will keep us safe.”
– Michael Friisdahl, President and CEO, MLSE

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.

Lenore Bromley
Toronto Public Health