End of Day Update – April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020 

Dear Neighbours, 

I want to thank everyone for your efforts during this very difficult time. It is very important for all of us, to the best of our ability to follow the mandatory social distancing bylaw! 

Please see the following update regarding COVID-19 key information and resources: 

Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to Continue the Fight Against COVID-19

Today, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with the approval of the Ontario legislature, the Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for a further 28 days. This will allow the government to continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic. A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Read the full news release here.

City of Toronto supports launch of Distantly.ca to help main street businesses

Today, Mayor John Tory highlighted the launch of an online donation platform that allows community members to make direct donations to small businesses to help lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform allows customers to continue to support local main street businesses impacted by non-essential closures, such as coffee shops, restaurants and hair salons. Read the full news release.

City of Toronto provides update on personal protective equipment supply

The City of Toronto is committed to ensuring our frontline staff, including emergency responders, those working with individuals experiencing homelessness, and staff in long-term care homes, have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to stay safe and protect their health and the health of the community. Chief Pegg provided a detailed updated on the City’s PPE supply and projections for City PPE use. The City’s Emergency Operations Centre includes a PPE Task Force responsible for monitoring and allocating the City’s PPE, projecting PPE needs, implementing PPE conservation strategies, and investigating alternative PPE options and procurement strategies. Read the full news release.

Grass cutting and landscaping

As a reminder, grass cutting and landscaping businesses are not listed as essential under the Provincial order. The long grass and weeds bylaw continues to apply during the COVID-19 emergency, so members of the public are asked to do their best to maintain their property. Where residents are unable to cut their own grass due to age or health concerns, bylaw officers will use discretion and not enforce the bylaw unreasonably. Neighbours are also encouraged to lend a helping hand if possible.

Keep in Mind: 

While access to green spaces remains available and Toronto Public Health has advised that fresh air and exercise is good if you are not ill, the City has closed playgrounds and other park amenities to stop the spread of COVID-19. Walking, jogging, and other physical activities are healthy and okay to do, so long as you follow the social distancing guidelines. This includes not gathering with more than 5 people (excluding people who live together) and staying 2 metres away from others.

Canadian Blood Services Events 

Making donations safe for you and for those who receive your blood. Upcoming Canadian Blood Services events can be found here: https://bit.ly/2VnoupL 

A list of food banks and soup kitchens in Ward 24 can be found here: https://bit.ly/2RcvdRV

Please remember to call ahead to book to ensure they are properly stocked. For those interested in volunteering, food banks are always looking for volunteers, so please feel free to save and share this information.

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

You can also reach me by telephone at 416-396-7222 or email me at councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca 

All my Best, 

Paul

April 14, 2020 COVID-19 Update

April 14, 2020
Dear Neighbours,
I want to thank everyone for your efforts during this very difficult time. It is very important for all of us, to the best of our ability to follow the mandatory social distancing bylaw!
Please see the following update regarding COVID-19 key information and resources:
Today, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, General Manager of the City’s Shelter, Support & Housing Administration (SSHA), Mary-Anne Bédard, University Health Network Executive Director of Health and Social Policy, Dr. Andrew Boozary, and Inner City Health Associates (ICHA) Medical Director, Dr. Andrew J. Bond, provided an update on existing and forthcoming actions taken to protect individuals experiencing homelessness from COVID-19.
Individuals experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to respiratory infections, including COVID-19. There are currently 30 confirmed client cases of COVID-19 in the city’s emergency shelter system. Given the scale of this pandemic, additional cases are expected. The City, with the help of our community and heath sector partners has put measures in place for active screening, testing and providing isolation spaces to slow transmission and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our emergency shelter system.
SSHA continues to lead the City’s three-tiered approach to protecting vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. The three tiers – prevention, mitigation and recovery – allow the City, community partners, and healthcare providers to respond to each stage of the pandemic. The City has implemented an inter-governmental and sectoral response to COVID-19 involving the city, provincial/federal government, provincial healthcare sector, and community non-profit sector. We have moved over 1,000 people to programs that meet a range of client needs, including spaces in community centers, hotel rooms, and permanent housing and we are on track to move another 1000 into new spaces by April 30.
Weeks ago, before the virus was spreading within the community, SSHA engaged community partners in prevention. In partnership with Toronto Public Health, SSHA provided updated guidance, training and resources to the sector to initiate enhanced Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures. Ongoing screening for illness and travel history began by phone during intake and in-person and, in the following weeks, a new screening tool for homeless service settings was shared widely. The City has distributed $1.2 million among shelters, 24-hour respites, and drop-ins for cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and wage increases for frontline staff.
Physical distancing remains one of the best ways to prevent spreading COVID-19. To enable people within our emergency shelter system to physically distance, since March 16, 11 new facilities have been mobilized with more than 470 spaces to allow for physical distancing.
The City has also secured more than 1,200 spaces at 12 hotel locations to further enable physical distancing and provide isolation space. Eight of these sites are active and we are working quickly to activate the others. One of the additional hotel sites has been activated as an isolation program with 200 spaces to respond to the increasing number of people undergoing COVID-19 testing. SSHA staff are working with ICHA to identify those most vulnerable to COVID-19, including the elderly and those with health conditions, to move into new spaces or add measures to protect them in pace.
As of today, 176 shelter clients have been transported for testing and isolation related to COVID-19. Clients are transported directly to provincial assessment centres. Following testing, clients are brought to a dedicated isolation space with medical and harm reduction supports as they await test results.
The clearing of encampments has been suspended since the start of the pandemic. Street outreach has been enhanced to increase safety, cleaning and garbage removal, provide advice on public health recommendations and hygiene kits, and help screen for symptoms. Portable washrooms and handwashing stations have been deployed at locations across the city.
With prevention and mitigation strategies in place, the City is working with partners to strengthen recovery supports. The interim recovery site operated by the City in partnership with ICHA and the wider healthcare sector is now operational.
Regardless of this pandemic, the best and only solution to homelessness is to provide people with permanent housing. The new Rapid Housing Access Initiative, introduced at the start of the pandemic, has helped to prioritize access to housing for individuals in the shelter systems. More than 250 vacant Toronto Community Housing units have been identified for the initiative and, by the end of the week, 50 people will have been housed. Housing referrals are made through the Coordinated Access system and people matched with housing are provided with housing stability supports and home furnishings. Units are being prioritized for particularly vulnerable individuals, including seniors.
The City is also looking beyond the current extreme situation and this unprecedented expansion of our service system into new locations, and considering the opportunity to leverage investments to secure properties through purchase or long-term lease to secure for future affordable and supportive housing.
More information on supports for individuals experiencing homelessness is available at https://www.toronto.ca/ho…/covid-19/covid-19-social-support/. If you or someone you know needs street outreach, call 311 or Central Intake at 416-338-4766.
A list of food banks and soup kitchens in Ward 24 can be found here: https://bit.ly/2RcvdRV
Please remember to call ahead to book to ensure they are properly stocked. For those interested in volunteering, food banks are always looking for volunteers, so please feel free to save and share this information.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice, and information about City services and social supports. Check https://www.toronto.ca/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
You can also reach me by telephone at 416-396-7222 or email me at councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca
All my Best,
Paul