Toronto presented a COVID-19 Resurgence Plan on Monday, outlining priorities and actions the city will implement in the event of a second wave of COVID-19.
The five priority areas are:
- implement public health measures
- support vulnerable populations
- support city employees
- mitigate the impact to Toronto’s economy
- ensure the resiliency of city services and a coordinated response
A review of the COVID-19 response during the first wave helped identify what “worked well, challenges and practical actions to improve preparedness for future resurgences of COVID-19.”
Also, the plan considers colder weather of the coming months and associated impacts on people and services. Toronto Public Health (TPH) has increased staffing to enhance the capacity to trace and contact people with COVID-19 and those with whom they have had contact.
“These plans are based on the same clear and fearless public health advice we have had throughout this pandemic, advice which we have always accepted and acted on,” said Mayor John Tory.
“These plans are focused on making sure we minimize the resurgence as much as possible. We’ve said many times that COVID-19 is a marathon not a sprint. The public should know that we have the plans in place for the next phase of this long marathon.”
The plan considers several potential scenarios with measures that will be based on the advice of the Medical Officer of Health, including:
- Long-Term Care Homes – remains focused on adherence to and implementation of Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-Term Care and Toronto Public Health guidelines to keep residents and staff members safe. Priorities include: continuing to implement Infection Prevention and Control best practices and lessons learned in the first wave, ensuring stability of staffing resources and allowing designated “essential visitors/caregivers” into homes to support residents during outbreaks.
- Homelessness support: Shelter, Support and Housing Administration will continue to protect people experiencing homelessness and further strengthen the city’s approach to provide permanent housing as the best solution to homelessness. Protective measures such as physical distancing will remain in place in shelter facilities.
- TTC: The service plan implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is scalable to the changing environment with service levels adjusted based on demand. The TTC continues to focus on protecting service on high ridership corridors to essential travel destinations. Health and safety measures implemented on the system in response to COVID-19 will continue to be sustained.
- City buildings and facilities: Civic Centres, City Hall and Metro Hall will remain closed to the public for the near future, to continue to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the public and employees. The city will initially ensure that building occupancies do not exceed 30 per cent in the short-term.
“My team is working hard to support reopening while protecting the health of Torontonians in the face of COVID-19. Virus resurgence is inevitable because most of us do not have immunity,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health.
“Our success in living with the virus depends greatly on the choices we all make to minimize risk to ourselves and others in the coming months. We will continue to vigorously champion the effective protections that have served Toronto well since the pandemic began here: frequent hand washing, physical distancing and mask wearing. Making the right choices as individuals will strengthen the work by Toronto Public Health and our partners to limit the impact of COVID-19 on our city.”