Toronto is introducing stricter social distancing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, said in the press conference this morning, “This virus, which was only discovered in early January, has amounted to almost 900,000 cases and over 42,000 deaths globally.”
According to de Villa, “It’s been 91 days since the start of 2020, 64 days since we’ve had our first case, and 50 days since WHO gave the disease the name COVID-19.” The pandemic has had a significant impact around the world and in our city.
To date, in Toronto, there have been 628 confirmed cases, 165 probable cases, 65 hospitalized, and 33 patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The numbers are only increasing. “There has been a 500 per cent increase in the last two weeks. I am deeply concerned,” she announced.
The stricter rules in Toronto will include:
- All those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have travelled outside of the country are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.
- As of today, the medical officer of health is ordering the public to stay home and only go out for essential needs. These include: accessing healthcare or medication, getting groceries (once a week) or getting them delivered if possible, walking dogs and getting daily exercise while maintaining physical distance of two metres.
- Enhance follow up for recent travellers by federal and local governments who are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Greater protection for those most vulnerable, including the homeless population.
- Support those 70 years and older to stay at home.
These measures may need to be in place for 12 weeks to control the virus spread. “It’s entirely in our hands to control the spread. The more we can adhere to these measures and recommendations, the more successful we’ll be in preserving and protecting health care services,” said de Villa.
According to Mayor John Tory, who also spoke at the press conference, “The numbers are presently headed in the wrong direction, in Toronto.”
Both de Villa and Tory suggest that it will likely be 12 weeks of social and physical isolation but there will be constant monitoring during this time.