In response to continued increases in the number of people in Toronto testing positive for coronavirus, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa is calling for stricter measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The city (is) at risk of experiencing exponential growth of COVID-19 infections,” a City of Toronto statement issued Friday afternoon said, noting the seven-day moving average of cases increased almost six times in September.
“Other jurisdictions who have experienced a resurgence have taken action that has stopped the virus while jurisdictions that have failed to act early have faced months of rising cases.
The statement said there are currently 169 COVID-19 outbreaks in congregate settings like schools, workplaces and long-term care homes. At the long-term care facilities, there have been gradual increases in September (up to nine from two). Community outbreaks have also been a source of increased transmission of the virus.
“There were 45 active community outbreaks. Of these outbreaks, 44 per cent were in restaurants, bars and entertainment venues,” it said.
“Socializing in bars and restaurants is contributing to significant exposures and outbreaks.”
According to the statement, de Villa wrote to Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, with the following recommendations since she has “limited authority” to broadly enact the proposed restrictions:
– Prohibiting indoor dining
– Calling for people to only leave their homes for essential trips (work, school, exercise, health appointment and grocery trips)
– Having up to two people outside of a household be allowed to visit someone for social support if they live alone
– Cancelling all indoor group gym classes and indoor sport team activities
– Strengthening rules for large venues and the requirements for proof of public health measures, reviewing capacity limits
“Dr. de Villa has requested that Dr. Williams, as Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, use his legislative powers under the [Health Protection and Promotion Act] and the provincial emergency order to enact these changes or consider making the necessary legislative and/or regulatory changes to provide her with the authority to take these actions as quickly as possible,” the statement said.
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