City pondering further restrictions to slow spread of virus, Toronto mayor says

Toronto Mayor John Tory says officials are looking at specific actions that the city could take to slow the spread of COVID-19.

At a city hall news briefing on Wednesday, Tory said officials have pinpointed four “areas for action” and these areas are being monitored closely because they are places where the novel coronavirus seems to be spreading.

The actions under consideration include:

  • Implementing earlier closing hours for late night bars and restaurants.
  • Requiring employees to wear masks in workplaces for longer periods of time. 
  • Urging the province to limit further the number of guests at wedding venues and banquet halls.
  • Allowing city properties to be used for pop-up testing in areas where there are many COVID-19 cases. 

Tory said the city is working with provincial and federal officials and Toronto Public Health (TPH) staff to determine how best to proceed amid a resurgence of the virus. TPH and provincial officials are investigating the four areas, he added.

“We are doing everything we can as a city government to save lives, to protect public health and to keep our economy open. We are striving hard to achieve all of these goals concurrently if we possibly can,” Tory told reporters.

“That is the challenge of the resurgence, continuing to stop the spread of the virus without implementing another lock down that would further cripple businesses, cost jobs and hurt families.” 

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, reported on Wednesday that Toronto has 129 new cases.

Total of 1,178 people have died of COVID-19 in Toronto

The number brings the city’s cumulative total to 17,971. A total of 15,526 people have recovered, she said.

A total of 1,178 people have died of COVID-19 in Toronto. Forty people are in hospital.

“It’s this simple: the virus needs to move from one person to another to keep replicating,” de Villa said.

“If we keep distance, wear our masks and wash our hands, the virus has fewer and fewer places to go and it begins to die out. It won’t be right away, but with sustained commitment, the infection rate will drop.”

Toronto had 129 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Public Health makes changes to COVID-19 dashboard

De Villa also reported that Toronto Public Health (TPH) has made changes to its COVID-19 dashboard to provide more detailed information to residents.

In a news release on Wednesday, the city said TPH received feedback from residents and experts to improve the way it reports on COVID-19.

The changes are intended to help the public understand the impact of COVID-19 locally as the city faces a resurgence in cases.

“The numbers are organized to tally up overall new case counts, new hospitalizations, new outcomes as cases resolve and new outbreaks,” de Villa said.

These changes include:

  • Daily updates on new cases and weekday updates on outbreaks to provide more current information on the local situation and help residents see how COVID-19 activity is changing in the city.
  • More detailed weekly updates highlighting data trends, which will be shared on Wednesdays. The updates will include graphs and figures to provide more insight into who is contracting COVID-19 in Toronto.
  • The summary of active outbreaks has been expanded to include such as schools and child care centres. TPH will list the specific institutions where it has identified an outbreak and is investigating.
  • TPH is also looking into addressing a Board of Health request at its September meeting to include a summary of outbreaks in workplace settings.

Pedestrians walk in downtown Toronto, some with masks, some without, some with masks pulled down. Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, says: ‘It’s this simple: the virus needs to move from one person to another to keep replicating.’ (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

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