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Toronto activates Emergency Operations Centre in response to COVID-19


TORONTO, ON., March 12, 2020 – The City of Toronto today announced the next phase in its ongoing management of COVID-19. 

With the City of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, continuing to lead the public health efforts to mitigate the virus’s impact on the city, Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, in his role as General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management, will lead the City of Toronto’s operational planning and response to this global pandemic. 

While the public health response to COVID-19 under Dr. de Villa’s leadership has been underway since January when COVID-19 was first identified, the implementation of the City-wide COVID-19 task force is the next phase in pandemic and response planning activities. 

Currently, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is at a Level One activation, which involves monitoring the current situation, locally and globally, and coordinating internal efforts at the City to ensure it continues to meet the needs of residents and businesses should the activation level change. Non-essential activities within the EOC have been suspended in order to prioritize the support of the COVID-19 task force. 

The COVID-19 task force comprises key managers from all City divisions and agencies and are now situated at the EOC, planning for various responses, including: 

– the potential for increased staff absenteeism due to illness and the impact on the City’s ability to deliver core services 
– global supply chain challenges for personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves for frontline workers and first responders 
– actions undertaken to protect vulnerable populations, such as those experiencing homelessness or in City-run long-term care homes 
– developing, sharing and continually updating critical information for residents and visitors to the city 
– forecasting and responding to economic impacts the pandemic may have on residents and businesses. 

Chief Pegg will report to the City’s Senior Leadership Team, under City Manager Chris Murray, and work directly with the City’s Corporate Leadership Team, made up of division heads, as well as the heads of City agencies to ensure ongoing co-ordination. 

The City will continually update its website at toronto.ca/coronavirus with public information, use social media, translate information, and work with elected officials to ensure they and their constituents are kept well-informed. In addition, the 35,000-strong public service will also be kept informed through all channels available for staff communications. 

SOURCE City of Toronto

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