March 13th, 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

I want to ensure you are receiving up to date information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the City of Toronto. I know many of you are concerned, so I will be updating you regularly.

Please monitor the Toronto Public Health website at toronto.ca/coronavirus for the latest information, resources and facts.

Current Situation

Toronto Public Health (TPH) is monitoring 41 positive cases of the novel coronavirus: COVID-19 in Toronto. To date, there have been four other confirmed cases reported in Toronto. All four of these people have since recovered from their illness. TPH continues to work with our provincial and federal health colleagues along with airports in response to this situation. At this time the virus is not circulating locally, however given the global circumstances, TPH is actively working with City and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread.

If you have travelled from Hubei Province (China), Iran or Italy within the last 14 days or have had close contact with a person ill with COVID-19, please self-isolate and contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 within 24 hours of arriving in Toronto. Information about self-isolation is available in the Other Resources section below.

If you have travelled from anywhere else outside Canada , please monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough or difficulty breathing) for 14 days after you arrive back in Canada. If you develop symptoms, self isolate and contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. Canadians are also advised to avoid all cruise ship travel.

Click here for the latest statement from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.

Schools Closures

Based on advice from Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the experts at the COVID-19 Command Table, the Minister of Education has issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March break (until April 5), in response to the emergence in Ontario of COVID-19. This order was approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. Click here to learn more.

Childcare Centre Closures

The City is closing all licensed childcare centres and the tentative date for service to resume is April 5, 2020. All childcare centres within TDSB schools and all EarlyON Centres within TDSB schools will be closed from March 14 to April 5, 2020.

Other City Closures

Based on recommendations from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, the City of Toronto is cancelling all programs and closing a number of its facilities as of 12:01 am tomorrow (March 14).

Impacted programs and facilities:

  • City-operated March Break camps are cancelled
  • All licensed child care centres
  • Community and recreation centres, greenhouses and conservatories, arenas, pools, fitness centres, and ski hills are closed
  • Libraries are closed
  • City-operated museums and galleries are closed
  • Council and Committee meetings are suspended for the current meeting cycle
  • Public consultations are suspended
  • All event permits for City facilities, including civic centres, recreation facilities, and parks are cancelled (wedding ceremony permits for civic centre Wedding Chambers will be honoured)

Reimbursements for cancellations will be processed as soon as possible. The tentative date for services to resume is April 5, 2020. Emergency and critical services continue unaffected.

Large Gatherings and Events

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health is recommending the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings of over 250 people due to COVID-19.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is also recommending residents and event organizers conduct a thorough risk assessment before going ahead with any planned large events. The federal government’s Public Health Mass Gathering Risk Assessment Tool is available and event organizers are encouraged to use this tool to make decisions about cancelling or continuing their event.

The City’s Environment and Energy Division has decided to cancel Clean Toronto Together, the City’s annual spring cleanup campaign scheduled for April 24 to 26. The event may be rescheduled to the fall, pending an assessment of the situation at that time.

COVID-19 Assessment Centre

There is a COVID-19 Assessment Centre located at 825 Coxwell Ave – the entrance is off of Mortimer Avenue, west of the Michael Garron Hospital Emergency Department.. This location provides screening, assessment and testing for individuals in East Toronto who are experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19.

The Assessment Centre is not open for walk-in visits at this time. Please call ahead to book an appointment: 416-469-6858. Patients who do not have symptoms should not visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre. Instead, please contact Toronto Public Health: 416-338-7600. Click here to learn more.

Prevention Measures

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill
  • Stay home when you are ill
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Avoid shaking hands – try an “elbow bump” instead

Toronto Public Health Hotline

People are encouraged to check the Toronto Public Health website toronto.ca/coronavirus for resources and information. If you need further assistance, you can call the Toronto Public Health Hotline at 416-338-7600 which is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. They are receiving a very high number of calls and they are working on adding further resources to the phone line.

Telehealth Ontario

For medical advice, please contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Travel

All travellers should be aware that there are health risks when you travel. It is important to check your destination before you leave to know the risks and to be prepared.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr Theresa Tam, has recommended that Canadians “postpone or cancel all non-essential travel outside of Canada.” Click here for further information.

The City’s Medical Officer of Health is also strongly encouraging all residents and visitors to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in Toronto from any country, including the United States. Public Health Ontario’s guidelines for self-isolation are available online: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate.pdf

Future Updates

Please monitor toronto.ca/coronavirus for the latest updates. I will continue to send out important information regularly.

This is a difficult time and there are constant changes. We are all in this together and it is important to look out for one another more than ever. Please stay informed by checking evidence-based, credible sources of information.

I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to all of our healthcare workers, the staff at Toronto Public Health and the staff in the City’s Emergency Operations Centre. They are on the front lines and working hard to keep us safe.

Remember to take care of yourselves and please contact my office if we can be of assistance.