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Toronto residents returning from March Break travel told to self-isolate for 14 days


March 22, 2020 – Yesterday, Toronto’s Medical Office of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Fire Chief and General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management, Matthew Pegg, and City Manager, Chris Murray, said it is critical for those returning after travelling abroad for March Break to self-isolate for 14 days. They also provided an update on the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 response. 

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed by Toronto Public Health in the city continues to increase. As of 1 p.m. today there are now 194 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Toronto. 

The total number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario has risen to 424. Provincial health officials confirmed 47 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday morning.

New cases are not unexpected as the City continues to respond to the current situation. As the number of cases grows, the City urges that the privacy of individuals who have tested positive for the virus be respected. 

The best way for Torontonians to contribute to the public health response is to continue the proactive measures of social distancing, and if sick, self-isolation. 

Importantly, for those returning from abroad following March break, self-isolation is critical to helping mitigate the continued spread of COVID-19. Anyone who has returned to Canada, including from the United States, is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. 

“Your City government is working around the clock to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor John Tory. “Every resident can help this effort by practicing social distancing. This weekend in particular, we want to make sure everyone returning from March Break travel outside Canada gets the message that they must self-isolate for 14 days. All of these efforts will stop the spread of COVID-19, help flatten the curve, and save lives,” said Toronto’s mayor.

We have received inquiries about gathering in parks and playgrounds in the city. While exercise and enjoying the outdoors is important for those who are not self-isolating, these gatherings may pose a risk to the health of families and the wider community. To that end, the City will begin erecting signage near playgrounds reminding the public of the importance of social distancing and that playgrounds are not sanitized. 

Following the Province’s declaration of an emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act earlier this week, complaints and requests for enforcement have come into the City, representing about 2% of calls to 311. These calls will be responded to on a priority basis. While enforcement of provincial orders is carried out by police, not bylaw enforcement, the public is asked to not call 911 and instead direct calls to 311. 

Finally, City of Toronto employees at home may be called in and redeployed to ensure the City can continue to deliver critical services during this unprecedented time. The services the City provides are critical to millions of residents and business. The Toronto Public Service is a dedicated and committed workforce that continues to show up and do an outstanding job during this extremely difficult time. 

A number of measures have been put in place to protect employees from COVID-19 and City Manager Chris Murray is committed to continuing to ensure staff are protected so they are able to keep the city and its infrastructure safe, while responding to this pandemic. 

The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports, and economic recovery measures. Check toronto.ca/covid-19 for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311. 

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