It will be at least another 12 weeks of implementing COVID-19 measures in Toronto, Mayor John Tory said on Wednesday, following new and enhanced recommendations from the city’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The news comes on the same day the city confirmed that cases of COVID-19 have gone up 500 percent in the last two weeks.
On Wednesday, the city said the number of confirmed cases climbed to 653 – an increase of 25 new cases in the city. The number of people in hospital sits at 75 with 35 of those patients in the intensive care unit.
The city also reported that a total of 31 doctors, nurses and health care workers in Toronto have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Using her powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, Dr. Eileen de Villa said she is ordering those with COVID-19 or who have close contact with someone who has the virus to stay home for 14 days.
Also, anyone who is not ill or has not travelled, is also directed to stay home except for the following reasons:
- Accessing healthcare or medication
- Shop for groceries once per week
- Walk their dogs
- Get daily exercise while maintaining physical distancing of at least two metres
De Villa said she wants these new measures to go into effect “immediately” and they need to be in place for up to 12 weeks.
As he has done all along during this pandemic, Tory agreed with de Villa, saying 12 weeks would be the earliest possible timeline for these measures to end – which would bring us into summer.
He said he knows Torontians want to visit and hug friends and family, he knows they want to go out on a patio and have a beer, and he knows people want to be able to go out this summer and watch a ballgame, but that won’t happen if people keep putting themselves and others at risk.
“Getting to those better days will depend on our collective response as a city,” he said.
He once again reiterated that the success of these measures largely depends on people complying – practicing social distancing, only leaving the home when it’s absolutely necessary, and abiding by the 14 day self-isolation if you’ve just returned from abroad.
“All of us have had doctor’s orders before … when you follow doctor’s orders when you’re ill, you get better,” Tory said.
He added that they have drafted a bylaw which would enforce social distancing rules across the city but that he is not willing to bring it forward until it’s absolutely necessary – relying on people to continue doing the right thing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The mayor even suggested people only leave their homes once a week, if necessary, to buy essentials and, if they can, to help out a neighbour so another person doesn’t have to go outside.