The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19. Today, Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Fire Chief and General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg provided an update on the City’s measures to prevent the spread of the virus, support Toronto’s seniors and vaccinate all Torontonians in accordance with the Province of Ontario’s vaccine rollout.
The City is working with community and health care partners to get seniors across Toronto vaccinated as soon as possible. Toronto Public Library is currently mobilizing library staff to reach out to approximately 35,000 seniors starting this week to ensure those who are eligible for vaccine understand they are eligible and have all the information they need to get vaccinated. Library staff will initially be reaching out to 10,000 library users who are age 80 and over, followed by 25,000 calls to seniors between ages 70 and 79.
Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) is undertaking work to help seniors in their 83 seniors’ buildings get vaccinated without delay. TCHC has partnered with hospitals and is now getting needles in the arms of tenants. As of Friday, TCHC had held vaccination clinics in 23 seniors’ buildings. Five clinics are planned for this week. Within buildings where clinics have taken place, approximately 70 per cent of tenants accepted the offer of vaccine. TCHC is also connecting with individual seniors who live in buildings not designated for seniors to ensure they have access to vaccine.
The City has reached out to 40 senior-serving organization from across Toronto, offering financial support to increase staffing and redeploy staff to reach clients and support booking of vaccine appointments over the coming weeks. The City has offered agencies up to $10,000 to ramp up capacity for this important work from now until the end of April. The agencies were selected to ensure the City is reaching targeted populations, including Indigenous, Black and South Asian communities and other population groups including Hispanic, Tamil, Korean and LGBTQ2S seniors. The City is also working with the Red Cross to place senior-specific posters in food hampers and engaging with synagogues, churches and temples to bring information to their senior communities.
More than 200 pharmacies in Toronto are offering the AstraZeneca vaccine right now and the City expects that number to grow as the Government of Ontario expands the pharmacy vaccine program. Toronto Public Health has looked at the current map of participating pharmacies and provided additional locations to the Province where the program could best be expanded – based on public health advice – particularly in Toronto's northwest and northeast. Toronto Public Health has made the list of these additional locations available to the Province to ensure effective and equitable coverage in some of the areas most affected by COVID-19.
Since the start of the pandemic there have been a total of 106,463 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 509 new cases today. There are 258 people hospitalized. To date, there have been 2,759 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. In total, 98,574 people have recovered. Case status data can be found on the Toronto Public Health’s reporting dashboard: www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/covid-19-status-of-cases-in-toronto/.
As Toronto awaits the rollout of mass immunization, to reduce and eliminate the transmission of COVID-19, protect the healthcare system and save lives, the City continues to urge all residents to stay home as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Please review the City’s simple “Dos” and “Don’ts” guide for recommended and mandatory public health measures under provincial regulations and City bylaws: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-reopening-recovery-rebuild/covid-19-guide-for-toronto-residents-grey/.
“I want to thank Toronto Public Library, Toronto Community Housing, and City staff for the outreach efforts underway to seniors to ensure they have all the information they need in order to get vaccinated. These are just some of the efforts underway to get people registered and vaccinated. I continue to urge all Toronto residents to get vaccinated when they are eligible. The sooner we are all vaccinated, the sooner we can bring this pandemic to an end, so when you become eligible please take steps to register and get vaccinated.”
- Mayor John Tory