The Toronto medical officer of health says measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 could be in place for months, with the city confirming eight more deaths from the virus.
“Based on the experience of other jurisdictions, I think these measures may need to be in place for 12 weeks,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa at a press conference Wednesday morning.
“But I would tell you that for how long these measures need to be in place, our success in controlling the spread of the virus is entirely in our hands.” “
“The more we are able to put these measures in place, the more we can as a community adhere to these measures, adhere to the recommendations, the shorter the duration of these measures and the more effective we will be, more importantly, in reducing loss of life in our community. “
There are currently 818 cases of COVID-19 in the city.
Of these 818, 75 patients are hospitalized, including 35 in an intensive care unit.
Toronto Public Health said on Wednesday afternoon that 19 COVID-19 patients died in the city, an increase from the 11 deaths reported earlier in the day. 47 other patients recovered.
READ MORE: Ontario confirms 426 other cases of COVID-19; provincial total exceeds 2000
“In the past two weeks, we have seen an increase of over 500% in these numbers. It is not a good path and as a medical officer of health responsible for protecting the health of the city, your health, I am deeply concerned. “
The city says it is now taking “unprecedented steps” to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto, including the following:
People who test positive for COVID-19 are ordered by the medical officer of health to stay at home under the Health Protection and Promotion Act for 14 days.
Anyone who has had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 is also ordered to stay at home by the medical officer of health for 14 days.
Anyone who is not sick or has not traveled is strongly advised to stay at home, except for the following reasons: access to health care or medication, grocery shopping once a week, walking their dogs or exercise daily while maintaining a physical distance of at least two meters
People returning from international travel must stay at home, which is already a federal ordinance
Anyone over the age of 70, as the province announced this week, is strongly encouraged to stay at home as much as possible.
Increased support for self-isolation for homeless people
Only essential businesses remain open, and these businesses maximize physical distance and infection prevention and control practices, and limit in-person access to these businesses as much as possible.
Increased cleaning and active employee screening in all companies.
“I realize that I paint a very dark picture here, a very sharp picture, but honest and true and based on the data before us,” said de Villa.
“The more we can, as Torontonians, come together in the next 12 weeks to comply with these measures, the more we will be able to meet this challenge and protect ourselves, our loved ones and our whole city.”
Earlier this month, Ontario health officials recommended closing all restaurants and bars, except for delivery and delivery options, to slow the spread of the virus.
On March 23, the Ontario government implemented these recommendations by ordering the closure of all non-essential services.
As a result, the city says that in the past two weeks alone, the economic loss to the retail sector is estimated at $ 291 million.
Mayor John Tory said he fully supports the measures recommended by Toronto public health officials, adding that the number of cases in the city is going in the “wrong direction”.
“It has become absolutely clear that this is going to be a very long battle and that there is still a lot to do,” said Tory.
“Suppose it was up to 12 weeks that the doctor described with temptation not to follow these measures as the weather improves. We have to be strong to stick to this game plan. As summer arrives, we have taken an important step. “
Tory noted that regulations were drawn up, at his request, to enforce the social distancing limits set by the medical officer of health.
“We have not presented these regulations yet, but they are written and if it is necessary that we use them in an attempt to create a greater sense of support for these very reasonable recommendations which are made for stop the spread of this virus, then it will be continued. “
Tory noted that the by-law could only be applied to city-owned properties, including sidewalks, streets and parks.
On Tuesday, the Solicitor General of Ontario announced that anyone caught breaking the province’s emergency laws will have to identify themselves to the police and face heavy fines for non-compliance.