City of Toronto working with Province and healthcare partners to vaccinate all long-term care residents, workers and caregivers; working with hospitals to vaccinate frontline paramedics

The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19. Today, Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Fire Chief and General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg provided an update on the City’s measures to combat the resurgence of the virus in Toronto.

There are 65,521 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 837 new cases today. There are 406 people hospitalized. In total, 56,410 people have recovered from COVID-19. To date, there have been 1,988 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform: www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/covid-19-status-of-cases-in-toronto/.

The Province of Ontario requested Toronto Public Health, Peel Public Health, York Region Public Health Services and Windsor-Essex County Health Unit support in the vaccination of all residents, health care workers and essential caregivers in long-term care homes by January 21.

The City and the Immunization Task Force are committed to ensuring the most vulnerable residents in the city receive the vaccine in the safest and most efficient means possible, working with the Province and hospital partners to achieve this goal.

Long-term care homes operate under the authority of the Province. There are 87 long-term care homes in Toronto, with the City directly operating 10 of those homes.

Thirty long-term care homes, including five City-run homes, have begun to receive the COVID-19 vaccine since December 31.

Approximately 1,800 staff and residents within City-operated long-term care homes have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, including residents and staff from Bendale Acres, Castleview Wychwood Towers, Fudger House, True Davidson Acres and today, Kipling Acres. There are approximately 2,600 residents and 3,000 staff in City-run homes. More then 80 per cent of residents in City-run homes have already provided their consent to be vaccinated. Doses will continue to be administered this week and into the weekend.

As well, starting tomorrow, through a partnership with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Humber River Hospital, and the University Health Network, Toronto Paramedics who wish to be vaccinated will be able to obtain the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at one of three designated sites.

Toronto Paramedic Services’ Community Paramedics will be trained on how to administer these vaccines to other Toronto Paramedics at the three designated sites, accommodating up to 50 paramedics each day, per site, with administrative support from Sunnybrook Hospital, Humber River Hospital, and the University Health Network.

The 1,300 Toronto Paramedics are considered an extension of hospital Emergency Department teams. This is an important step in protecting our frontline paramedics, hospital staff, other first responders and the residents of Toronto that we serve in our communities every day.

The Government of Canada is responsible for obtaining the supply of COVID-19 vaccines; the Province has responsibility for distributing the vaccines and administering them to priority groups established under the Province’s framework; and Toronto is responsible for supporting the administration of the vaccine in accordance with provincial prioritization and scheduling frameworks as vaccines are provided by the Province.

To reduce and eliminate the transmission of COVID-19, protect the healthcare system and save lives, Toronto Public Health continues to strongly encourages everyone to only leave their home for essential reasons and observe the prohibition against indoor gatherings. Please review the City’s simple “Dos” and “Don’ts” guide for recommended and mandatory public health measures. The guide communicates what is, and what is not, permitted under the  provincial Lockdown Regulation that remains in effect to help stop the spread of COVID-19: www.toronto.ca/lockdownguide.

Quotes:

“While overall vaccination policy and the parameters of this long-term care initiative are the responsibility of the province, this is an all-government, all-hospital, all hands-on deck effort as you would expect for some of our most frail and elderly residents. Much of the vaccine rollout is beyond our control but I am determined and I know Chief Pegg and everyone on our Immunization Task Force are determined to do all we can at the municipal level to get as many people vaccinated in our city as quickly as possible. Beyond long-term care workers and residents, we are working on getting other frontline workers vaccinated as quickly as possible. That’s why we have worked with three hospitals to start vaccinating our frontline paramedics. Thank you to everyone who is working to get people vaccinated right now and thank you to all our frontline healthcare workers who have already stepped forward to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is absolutely, positively the right thing to do.”

– Mayor John Tory

“Since Day One, our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been focussed on protecting the most vulnerable in our communities. With that in mind, the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health are ready to support the Ontario Government’s immunization plan for long-term care homes and residents. Over the past year we have seen the devastating impact this virus has had in long-term care homes across our city and province. We are prepared to do everything we can to ensure all residents and workers have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.”

– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health

“Throughout the pandemic, our paramedics have worked tirelessly to keep us all safe. These men and women have gone above and beyond their work as first responders, supporting pop-up and mobile testing clinics, attending voluntary isolation centres and providing in-home COVID-19 testing for those who can’t leave – ultimately helping thousands across our city. We should all be grateful that they will soon receive their vaccinations, improving their safety as they continue their vital work.”

– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“My team is committed to moving forward as quickly as possible to support COVID-19 vaccinations for residents, staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes. All local health partners have come together and are working collaboratively. I have full confidence we will meet the January 21 deadline to vaccinate all long-term care staff, residents and their essential care providers in Toronto. I know this is welcome news for those living and working in the long-term care system and all of us who have watched with sadness the terrible toll COVID-19 has taken in these settings.”

– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health

“I am very proud of the progress our Immunization Task Force and partners are making in coordinating and carrying out the immunization of vulnerable long-term care residents and staff and our vital first responders. This life-saving work is extremely important, and we continue to work around the clock with provincial, public health and hospital partners to ensure we are ready to carry out vaccinations without delay as the rollout progresses.”

– Chief Matthew Pegg, Toronto Fire Services, General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management

“I am pleased to confirm that starting today Toronto Paramedics are being offered a COVID-19 vaccination. This important action is a critical step in protecting our frontline paramedic staff and their patients. We thank our partners at Sunnybrook and Humber Hospitals and the University Health Network for their help and support in getting this program up and running with record speed!”

– Chief Gord McEachen, Toronto Paramedics Services

“We are very happy to be partnering with Toronto Paramedic Services to ensure our front-line, emergency medical responders are being offered COVID-19 vaccinations through UHN. Paramedics are an integral part of our emergency room team.”

– Gillian Howard, Vice President – Public Affairs & Communications, University Health Network

“Toronto Paramedic Services’ 1,300 Paramedics are considered an extension of Sunnybrook’s Emergency Department Team.  It only makes sense that Toronto’s paramedics be included in our vaccination plans. We are happy to support them in receiving immunizations as soon as possible.”

– Dr. Andy Smith, President and CEO, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

“Paramedics have been on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic since it began and are our partners in care. We value the role they play in keeping Ontarians safe and are thrilled to welcome them to Humber River Hospital to receive their vaccine.”

– Barbara Collins, President and CEO, Humber River Hospital