Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19
TORONTO – Mayor John Tory, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Fire Chief and General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg provided an update on the City’s measures to combat the resurgence of the virus in Toronto and operations of the City’s proof-of-concept COVID-19 immunization clinic.
Protests Lead to Arrests
Over the weekend, in Toronto there were a number of protests against the lockdown imposed by the Ontario Government. Twenty people were charged with offences under the Open Ontario Act.
Toronto Police were called to disperse hundreds of people at two protests over the weekend which were in violation of the lockdown rules. Outdoor public and social gatherings are limited to five people.
On January 16, 2021, the Toronto Police Service arrested organizers of two separate large gatherings held at Nathan Phillips Square and Yonge and Dundas Square.
The organizers were criminally charged.
Lamont Daigle, 49, was arrested at Nathan Phillips Square and charged with:
1. Common Nuisance
Kelly Anne Farkus (Wolfe), 38, was arrested at Yonge Dundas Square and charged with:
1. Common Nuisance
Additionally 18 Failure To Comply charges were laid from the event at Yonge and Dundas Square.
As well an officer was allegedly assaulted and a man has been arrested.
Conor Chappell, 22, has been charged with:
1. Assaulting a Police Officer
2. Obstructing Police
One group had gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square. The other group marched around Queens Park and along downtown Toronto streets. Most of the demonstrators were not wearing masks, or social distancing.
COVID-19 Numbers Still High
Since the start of the pandemic there have been a total of 77,327 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 892 new cases today. There are 491 people hospitalized. In total, 66,398 people have recovered from COVID-19. To date, there have been 2,206 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.
Under the direction of the Ministry of Health and the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, the City and Toronto Public Health today opened Ontario’s first non-hospital-operated proof-of-concept immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This is an important milestone in the City’s fight against COVID-19 as this first clinic will help test and adjust immunization clinic setup in non-hospital settings, ensuring safety and increasing efficiency in advance of wider immunization.
Given the ongoing issues with the Pfizer vaccine supply, the City has been notified by the Province that the clinic will need to pause operations after Friday, January 22. As stated prior to opening, the operation of the proof-of-concept clinic depends entirely on vaccine supply – which is beyond the control of the City and Province. The Province was clear that the clinic should proceed to open this week to begin testing operations and developing a playbook for all large immunization clinics.
The City and Province are also working together to validate current registration lists and schedules for the proof-of-concept clinic. Yesterday afternoon, the City understood that there was a potential issue with the registration process for the clinic whereby some individuals who may not fall into the prioritization framework for this initial clinic were able to book an appointment.
Since the registration issue was discovered, the City has been working to review registrations and has added additional checks and verifications at the clinic’s in-person check-in as well as signage on site. Should the City determine there are people registered who do not qualify for vaccine at this time, the City will contact those people directly, reminding them that the proof-of-concept clinic’s initial clientele are frontline healthcare workers working in the city’s shelter system and in public health only.
Last week, the Province of Ontario declared its second state of emergency and a stay-at-home order came into effect in Toronto and across the province. The City is supportive of strengthened measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, protect the healthcare system and save lives. The City is asking all people to respect the goal of the new COVID-19 regulations. The intention is for people to stay home as much as possible to reduce opportunities for COVID-19 spread and save lives.