Toronto mayor and senior public health physician consider further restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

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Toronto’s mayor and top public health doctor said they plan to release more information tomorrow on whether the city will introduce additional restrictions to reduce the rise in COVID-19 infections.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday afternoon, Mayor John Tory said he believed a ‘series of improved measures’ would likely be needed to reduce cases in Toronto, which has seen record numbers 483 new infections on Monday.

“We will not speculate today on the measures that will be taken. We continue to speak with our public health officials, with our lawyers and with the province. And as people would expect, we are carefully considering all of our options ”. Tory said.

Last week, the province released a new framework for COVID-19 restrictions, placing Ontario’s 34 public health units in one of five color-coded categories.

Although Toronto currently remains in an amended Stage 2 version, the Prime Minister has previously said Toronto will be placed in the amber category, or “restrict,” on November 14.

In the orange category, indoor dining can resume but establishments can only accommodate 50 people at a time, only four people can sit at a table, and alcohol cannot be sold after 9 p.m.

Gyms will also be allowed to reopen but no more than 50 people can be inside a fitness center at a time.

Peel Region, which at one point last week had a staggering 11% positivity rate, is the only region in the province that has been placed in the red or “control” category.

This means that gyms can reopen and meals inside can resume, but with a strict capacity limit of just 10 people.

Dr Lawrence Loh, the region’s medical officer of health, also imposed additional restrictions over the weekend to slow the spread of the virus.

Birthday parties, wedding receptions, and other large gatherings have been banned, and there are additional restrictions on indoor dining and gym activities.

Residents of the area have also been asked not to visit other homes or allow visitors from other households to enter their homes.

Loh confirmed over the weekend that a Peel Region hospital, William Osler Health System, now has more than 100 confirmed and probable COVID-19 patients and has been forced to transfer patients to other hospitals in the province after reaching capacity.

Tory said the city is reviewing measures implemented by the Region of Peel as well as restrictions imposed in other jurisdictions across the country.

He noted that more details will be provided on Tuesday.

“What you can expect is strong and responsible action, based on best practices and the best advice available. I think it’s also important that we act in a timely manner and communicate them as clearly and as quickly as possible to people ”. he said.

“This also applies to businesses that have purchasing and other decisions to make and it applies to residents and decisions about their own lives and the way they lead them every day. ”

“Hunker down,” Tory tells Torontonians

Tory urged members of the public to “curl up” and diligently follow public health guidelines so that the number of cases does not increase dramatically and put us in a “deep and deadly hole.”

“I think if we’re all being honest we’ve made little exceptions here and there, saying, ‘We only had two friends for this’… the laws or the rules don’t help too much in this area. People know this well. they have to take that on their own at this critical stage of the pandemic, ”he said.

“Stay at home. Get in touch with other people virtually. ”

Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, Ford said he would support any further restrictions that Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr Eileen de Villa, puts in place for the city.

“We are working very closely with Dr de Villa, our health table is… I am in close communication with Mayor Tory and we will communicate and make sure we are all on the same page,” said Ford. .

“Dr de Villa has the authority and the power to make a difference if she is not comfortable… and we will respect her decisions. ”

De Villa said the city had “very difficult decisions” to make as it tried to balance Toronto’s economic interests with health considerations.

“I don’t think the current case counts prompts us to loosen the roadblocks we are putting up in the face of the virus,” she said. “The extra time we asked for shows us that we haven’t reached that point yet. “

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