Today, after assessing the increased exposure risk to COVID-19 as a result of planned March Break travel, the Province of Ontario announcied that they are closing all publicly funded schools across the province for two weeks following March break - Schools will be closed from March 14 to April 5.
Additionally, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, announced recommendations for anyone in Toronto who have either recently returned from outside of Canada, or plans to travel for March Break, to limit their social interactions with large groups of people, and avoid all contact in hospital settings, with older residents or those with chronic illnesses. This includes travel to the United States. This recommendation is in addition to guidelines already provided for anyone who has been to Hubei Province in China, Italy or Iran to self-isolate for 14 days.
You can read the full statement from the city of Toronto below.
March 12,2020 2:00PM
Toronto Medical Officer of Health makes recommendations on travel, mass gatherings
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, this afternoon, announced recommendations for anyone in Toronto who has recently arrived from outside of Canada, including the United States, to limit their social interactions with large groups of people, and avoid all contact in hospital settings, with older residents or those with chronic illnesses. This recommendation is in addition to guidelines already provided for anyone who has been to Hubei Province in China, Italy or Iran to self-isolate for 14 days.
The Medical Officer of Health is also recommending residents and event organizers conduct a thorough risk assessment before going ahead with any planned large events. A federal government tool – Public Health Mass Gathering Risk Assessment Tool – is available here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/mass-gatherings-risk-assesment.htm and event organizers are encouraged to use this tool to make decisions about cancelling or continuing their event.
The City is also using this tool to help inform decisions about scheduled public meetings or events. Where possible, it will look to transition to virtual meetings, or postpone meetings and events where that is not possible. There are no statutory public meetings scheduled for next week, March 16-20.
Further, effective immediately, business travel will be cancelled for all City of Toronto staff until further notice.
To date, there has been no community transmission of COVID-19. It is with this knowledge that the City is asking everyone to do their part to limit that possibility. Individuals need to very carefully assess risks to themselves and others if they have travelled. If they are unwell, stay home and contact Toronto Public Health if symptoms of COVID-19 materialize. The Toronto Public Health website has information to assist Torontonians in their decision-making at https://www.toronto.ca/coronavirus.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who is leading the City of Toronto’s operational planning and response to this global pandemic, announced that the City's Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated at Level 2 as of March 12 at 2 p.m. to support the following:
- Effective policy and strategic direction to the emergency
- Emergency operations
- Consequence management
- Resource management
- Coordination of management linkages to the emergency site, Divisional Operations Centre, external agencies and the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre
- Information to the public and news media
- Business continuity for the rest of the City
The work of the City's COVID-19 task force is continuing and is not impacted by the transition to Level 2 operations within the EOC.