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COVID-19: Toronto now has 457 cases, Ontario issues emergency alert to send clear message


TORONTO, ON., March 27, 2020 – At Toronto Public Health’s daily press conference, as of 3 p.m. today there are 457 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, this is up 31 from yesterday,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.

“There are 22 cases hospitalized,10 in ICU and unfortunately there have been four deaths. Approximately 25% (of the cases) are attributed to community spread and 13 people have recovered. These numbers are constantly changing,” said de Villa.

Another important thing to note here is that the numbers are not totally accurate because those initially afflicted won’t show signs until 5 to 6 days after being infected and in some cases, de Villa says it could take up to 14 days before symptoms arise. This means people could be infectious without knowing it and thus inadvertently spread the virus to others.

This is why public health agencies at every level of government are telling residents to stay inside, and practice social distancing.

Mayor Tory today alluded to disturbing reports coming. Tory said hears that people are “ignoring social distancing while shopping, shopping in groups or bringing family along like it is a social outing, or even some people, just awful human beings, joking about being COVID-positive. It is disrespectful, irresponsible & outright dangerous.”

This is also why Ontario sent out an emergency alert to all cellphones, televisions and radios throughout the province today. The alert told travellers returning to Ontario that they are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days as they are at high risk of spreading COVID-19.

Dr. de Villa said there are currently COVID-19 cases exist in 10 long-term care homes, 1 retirement home, 17 chronic care/rehab hospitals and 3 reactivation care centres in Toronto. de Villa also said that a COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care home is declared when there are 2 or more cases of infection in the facility. Currently there are 3 outbreaks in these Toronto facilities.

Toronto Public Health says that part of their core focus is working with long-term care homes to ensure proper measures are in place to prevent disease spread, including that confirmed COVID-19 cases are immediately isolated, there is enhanced cleaning, no visitors are allowed and staff are screened at entry. Those caring for residents use personal protective equipment and there is enhanced surveillance and monitoring for illness among staff and residents.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health also suggested that stronger measure could be taken to ensure people are self-distancing. In her statement de Villa gave some examples of what other cities are doing to make sure residents practice safe social distancing. Here are some examples she used :

–In Nova Scotia police have the power to fine people up to $1,000 for not practicing social distancing.

— In Montreal they have banned group gatherings of two or more people with police issuing $1,000 fines for non-compliance.

–The City of Vancouver is fining businesses up to $50,000 if customers are not kept at least two metres apart. Individuals could be fined up to $1,000.

–And some European cities have enacted restrictions on leaving the house, except for a weekly outing to buy groceries and other essential supplies

“Decisions to implement these measures are based on evidence as well as many factors and considerations including: increasing COVID-19 cases and deaths, the extent to which the public is following requirements with social distancing, and ensuring that our healthcare resources are protected and available,” said Dr. de Villa.

The strongest message conveyed today is that if people do not follow these protective measures, additional measures will be put in place to protect the city that may affect our civil liberties.

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