Many residents have contacted me about how they can make decisions to keep themselves, their friends and families safe as the City continues to loosen restrictions. We have all been working hard to prevent loss of life, preserve the capacity of our health system and minimize social, economic and broader health impacts. I appreciate that people want more information to understand how we are progressing against those goals.
I am happy to share that this past Friday, the City of Toronto, through Toronto Public Health, launched a new COVID-19 monitoring dashboard. This will allow residents to carefully monitor City data and indicators to gauge progress in the response to COVID-19 and assess the City’s readiness to safely reopen.
Currently the monitor indicates that we are making real progress in bringing down the number of active COVID-19 cases. The number of outbreaks are decreasing and our healthcare system has capacity to take on new patients. This is very encouraging, and is a direct result of the sacrifices we have all made to remain physically distanced.
What the dashboard also shows is that we have more work to do when it comes to processing tests. While lab testing is not under local public health's purview, this section refers to lab testing trends in Toronto, including the time it takes from a swab being collected to when it is reported to us at Toronto Public Health, and the proportion of tests that are positive. Currently, only 22% of tests are being turned around in under 24 hours, and only 61% of tests are being turned around in under 48 hours. These are below the goals of 60% of tests within 24 hours and 80% of tests within 48 hours respectively. Getting these numbers up will be critical to safely reopening the economy.
I am grateful to the team at Toronto Public Health who have made great strides when it comes to contact tracing positive cases. The final indicator in the dashboard shows how quickly Toronto Public Health are able to connect with positive COVID-19 cases and their close contacts. On Friday, Toronto Public Health achieved the goal of 90% of cases reached within 24 hours for the most current period. However, this is an indicator that we have to monitor closely given that it is highly impacted by how many lab-confirmed new COVID-19 cases are received in a given day.
I encourage you to review this dashboard regularly to help make decisions about your own comfort level as the city reopens.
My Letter to the Toronto Transit Commissions on Fare Enforcement Officers
It was announced recently that the TTC plans to redeploy fare inspectors across the system. I have written to the Board of Directors and urged them to reconsider this plan. While I appreciate that management is looking for ways to maximize revenue in a system that relies so heavily on collected fare for operations, the current deficit far exceeds the amount that would be recovered from delinquent fares. It will instead disproportionately impact low income and racialized riders who rely on the service and could have the unintended consequence of further suppressing ridership. You can read the full letter here.
The TTC Board will also be considering making it mandatory for passengers to wear non-medical face coverings while riding the TTC. If approved, the rule would go into effect July 2. In the meantime, you are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering.
Today’s Community Care shoutout goes to The Church of the Redeemer at Bloor and Avenue Road who sponsor The Common Table. This outreach program supports our vulnerable residents who are experiencing homelessness by providing food, washrooms and city information. The program has established community partnerships with local restaurants to provide meals five days a week. Thank you so much for your continued work during this time to help our communities in need. Learn more about The Common Table here.
If you would like to volunteer to help with this outreach to the most vulnerable or to donate non-perishable food items, please contact Church of the Redeemer directly. Financial support will be gratefully received through CanadaHelps.
Please continue to email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org to share examples of community care in your neighbourhood and ways you are supporting your community at this time. I’ll be happy to promote it, space permitting, in our communication to the residents and business owners in Ward 13. Every bit goes a long way!
COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
As we begin to ease our public health measures, we will all be living a new normal. Our commitment must be to continue minimizing the impact of COVID-19, especially on our most vulnerable residents, while reducing negative social, economic and broader health impacts on our community. In the coming months what this means for our residents is:
- Continuing to work remotely, wherever possible;
- Maintaining physical distance from people outside our household or social circle/bubble;
- Avoiding crowds and congregations in closed indoor settings;
- Wearing a cloth mask or face covering where physical distancing is difficult to maintain; and
- Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.
When you are unable to keep a six feet/two-metre distance from others, wear a mask or face covering. This includes when you are:
- In elevators, common areas, waiting rooms or shopping;
- Using transit, taxi or rideshare services; and
- Sick and going to a medical appointment.
Be respectful of others who choose not to wear a mask. Some health conditions make it hard to breathe when wearing a face covering.
How to Create a Safe Social Circles
As we continue our shared fight against COVID-19, you can now establish a family or social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact with one another without physical distancing. Social circles are a way to safely expand the number of people with whom you can come in close contact. Think of your social circle as the people you can hug and touch, or those who can become part of your daily and weekly routines.
Step 1: Start with your current circle: anyone you live with or who regularly comes into your household. Be sure to include anyone that would come into regular close contact with you and the people you live with. This may include:
- Family members, including children;
- Another parent to your child(ren) that lives outside the home; and
- Babysitters or caregivers.
If you add people outside of your household to your social circle, be sure to include anyone in their households as well. You may not see them often, but they would still be considered part of your current circle. Remember that everyone in a household must be part of the same social circle.
Step 2: If under 10 people, you can add members to your social circle: including another household, family members or friends. As you add additional members, ask yourself:
- Do they live with, or come into regular close contact with, anyone else? You may never see them, but they would still be considered part of your social circle; and
- What makes the most sense for you or your household? This could include another household with similarly-aged children or family members that you want to spend more time with.
If you live alone, you may want to start with family members or other close friends. People may, or may not, choose to participate in a social circle depending on their unique circumstance. Some people may be at risk of developing complications from COVID-19. For example:
- People over 70;
- People with compromised immune systems; and
- People with underlying medical conditions.
Remember that your social circle can include fewer than 10 people. It’s always best to start slow and safely add more members later.
Step 3: Get agreement from everyone that they will join the social circle: That means they agree to join only one circle, and physically distance with anyone outside the circle.
Essential workers can be part of a social circle, so long as the other members are aware of the risks and agree to them.
Step 4: Keep your social circle safe: take reasonable precautions to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 for you and your social circle.
To keep the people in your social circle safe:
- Continue to follow public health advice, including frequent hand washing and sneezing and coughing into your sleeve; and
- Continue to physically distance with anyone outside your circle by keeping two-metres or six-feet apart from them.
If someone in your circle feels sick:
- They should immediately inform other members of the circle, self-isolate at home and not come into close contact with anyone, including other members of the social circl;.
- They should get tested. Find an assessment centre to get tested for COVID-19; and,
- Everyone else in the circle should closely monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 you should also be tested.
Step 5: Be true to your social circle: No one should be part of more than one circle.
City of Toronto Opens Registration for CaféTO Plan to Safely Increase Outdoor Dining Space for Local Restaurants and Bars
Today, Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto is opening online registration for CaféTO. A City staff report on CaféTO, scheduled for consideration at the Executive Committee on June 22, proposes the City take quick action to make way for additional safe outdoor dining spaces for local restaurants and bars. A simple online registration form and guidebook for the proposed program is now available at toronto.ca/cafeTO
Mayor John Tory announced today that the City of Toronto is beginning a phased approach to reopening City-run licensed child care centres. Starting Monday, June 29, enhanced health and safety measures laid out by the Province of Ontario to keep children, their families and child care centre workers safe will be implemented.
On June 9, the province made the announcement that child care centres can reopen as of June 12 and released a set of guidelines that child care operators must adhere to in order to reopen safely. The guidelines can be found on the Ministry of Education’s website.
More people will be able to get back to work as additional businesses and services in certain regions across Ontario can begin reopening this Friday. Toronto is not included on this list, but it will impact some regions within the Greater Toronto Area. This work is informed by public health advice and workplace safety guidance, and supported by the collective efforts of businesses, workers and families to limit the potential spread of the virus.
The latest public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. are:
- Durham Region Health Department;
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
- Halton Region Health Department;
- Hamilton Public Health Services;
- Lambton Health Unit;
- Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
- York Region Public Health Services.
Wedding and funeral ceremonies taking place outdoors will be limited to 50 attendees. For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety advice, including practising physical distancing from people who are not from the same household or their established 10-person social circle.
Government of Canada Updates
Today, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced that as of Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account. This means that owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week.
Today the Government of Canada announced that in response to a request from the United Nations (UN), the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will provide airlift support to transport urgently needed medical and humanitarian supplies. The CAF will transport these supplies to and from distribution hubs in Africa, Europe and the Middle East on behalf of the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization. As needs continue to evolve, the CAF will be flexible in its response.
This support comes in response to an urgent request by the UN to help maintain vital supply chains to vulnerable countries. It also complements Canada’s international efforts to address the ongoing pandemic, including by funding international partners providing life-saving humanitarian assistance.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
Now is the time to stay informed through credible sources, and to follow the advice of our public health professionals. Together we can limit the spread of COVID-19.
Phone lines for telehealth, TPH and 311 continue to experience very high volumes. Please help keep the phones lines open for people who are sick by visiting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19
Call if you develop symptoms!
Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services, or to report people
Support for People Living with Homelessness
If you see someone living with homelessness and in need of support you can call Streets to Homes at 416-338-4766. For mental health support, the Gerstein Crisis Centre is a valuable 24-hours a day, seven days a week service in our community and they have crisis workers on standby at 416-929-5200. More resources, including additional how to report information, are available on my website at kristynwongtam.ca.
If you or someone else is confronted with life-threatening danger, please call 911 immediately. Alternatively, the Toronto Police request that online reports be submitted at torontopolice.on.ca/core or to torontopolice.on.ca/community-complaints. You can also call their non-emergency line at 416-808-2222. In the past, by diligently reporting criminal activity, residents were able to see our community policing and other service levels increase. You can do your part: see it, report it.