Toronto officials back new COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine changes for Ontario, but say ‘no way to vaccinate other than third wave’

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Toronto officials hailed a provincial homecare order announced by Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday and applauded the changes that will see more people vaccinated earlier in sensitive neighborhoods, but have warned that there are no way to vaccinate our way out of a third wave or coronavirus. infections.

“I want to thank Premier Ford and the provincial government for moving forward today with new public health measures to help end the third wave that is currently raging,” said Mayor John Tory at a press conference shortly after Ford’s announcement. “These decisions are difficult and require courage.”

Tory said the new retail rules would help “address some of the injustices that existed between small business owners and big box stores” and he also welcomed a pause on residential evictions, calling this “The right thing to do”.

Tory also said the province’s changes to Phase 2 of its immunization program will help the city reach more people faster.

Under these changes, all adults over 18 in sensitive neighborhoods will receive an injection in phase 2. The plan previously called for people over 50 to inject themselves in phase 2.

The changes will also allow mobile clinics and pop-up teams to bring vaccines to large workplaces, places of worship, high-rise buildings and other environments.

“Our public health officials have been very clear that we need to get the vaccine to the neighborhoods that need it most and that this data-driven approach will ensure that we get essential workers and their families immunized,” Tory said. “We will bring vaccines to the neighborhoods where essential workers live and work, and I hope we will see this strategy succeed and expand in the weeks to come.

Phase 2 of the provincial plan is expected to last until July, and city officials said on Wednesday they were still working on the details of the amended plan.

We cannot “vaccinate our way out of the third wave”

However, Toronto’s top doctor has warned that restrictions imposed by the Ford government on Wednesday are necessary for now and even an intensified vaccination program is not enough to keep people safe.

“Our job now is to respect and follow these measures. We don’t have enough time or enough vaccines to vaccinate our way out of this third wave, ”said Dr Eileen de Villa.

She pointed out that over the past week, Toronto alone has seen nearly 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 and urged people to abide by the restrictions, however difficult they may be.

Supporting the idea of ​​vaccinating people in the hardest hit areas first, de Villa said COVID-19 has disproportionately affected some neighborhoods – mostly areas that are home to frontline workers who cannot work remotely – and that targeting those areas with increased vaccinations will help keep everyone. safe.

“By including special attention in our vaccination plan, we are starting to create a new frontline of vaccinated people who are most at risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19, but who, thanks to their vaccination, do not are now giving COVID nowhere to go, ”she said. . “This in turn creates a protective advantage for everyone.”

De Villa also said the expansion of the campaign will help reduce the waves of unreserved dates the city has seen as it moves closer to vaccination of successive age groups.

When the details of the revised plan are finalized, Ontario Health teams, hospital mobile clinics and pop-ups will immunize people 18 years of age and older in Toronto’s 111 sensitive neighborhoods, according to postal codes. Fixed vaccination centers and vaccination clinics will also help with this effort, according to the city.

As of Monday, the city’s nine mass vaccination clinics will be operational, with a capacity of around 8,000 doses per day.

The city continues to vaccinate and book appointments for everyone who has become eligible so far.

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