The City of Toronto confirmed 45 COVID-19 cases and 16 virus-related deaths, with four additional deaths still under investigation, at Seven Oaks long-term care facility.
On Wednesday, Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa said the facility houses 249 residents and anticipates that there will be additional deaths at the home.
Seven Oaks is one of 10 city-operated long-term care homes, and is located in Scarborough.
In addition to the confirmed cases, there are 56 probable cases and 13 staff have tested positive for coronavirus.
However, de Villa said that the stringent measures put in place at the long-term care home show that the rate of cases is “slowing down.”
De Villa also said that Seaton House — a men’s shelter — has one positive case, and that 80 clients will be moved from the shelter to new spaces to “achieve optimal physical distancing” and site testing is currently being done by Toronto Public Health.
The Chief Medical Officer also confirmed that the City of Toronto now has 1,570 cases with 156 hospitalized and 71 in ICU.
There have been a total of 49 deaths to date.
While de Villa continued to stress the importance of staying at home and adhering to physical distancing measures, she did say that residents can wear face masks in public.
“Based on the emerging science, people may be contagious even if they don’t have symptoms. By wearing a mask you can prevent people getting your germs,” she said.
However, if individuals decided to wear a mask, de Villa emphasized that face masks are not proven to protect individuals from contracting the virus.
Mayor John Tory also touched on face masks giving an update on the $200,000 worth of face masks that were recalled on April 6.
Tory said the provincial government provided the city with 200,000 replacement masks on Wednesday.
However, 220 city staff are confirmed to have used the faulty masks, of which 62,600 masks were distributed to long-term care homes on March 28.
These City staff are being monitored and tested by Toronto Public Health.
With the increase of cases in the city, Tory is still urging residents to keep practicing physical distancing measures and will continue to blitz parks and public spaces with enforcement officers to ensure individuals understand the full gravity of the situation.
“People continue to risk their health and the health of their loved ones,” the mayor said.
Tory that 200 bylaw officers and 160 police will be on an enforcement blitz over the long weekend.
“We closed parks and public amenities to stop the spread of the virus. This is about saving lives. You can walk, run, or bike through a park but you must stand a more than a hockey stick away with from another person in a park or a public square,” Tory said.
To further ensure physical distancing, the mayor also announced that city staff can now telework, with 6,000 people currently doing so with the goal of getting 10,000 staff teleworking by the end of the week.
According to Tory, 311 is piloting telework with already 50% of staff working remotely.
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The City of Toronto declared a state of emergency on March 23.
Enhanced measures for physical distancing and closure of non-essential businesses have been put in place until June 30.
Now, the City can fine $1,000 for two or more residents who are not standing two-metres apart, unless they are from the household.
All public amenities, and city-owned parks and playgrounds are also closed, with all major events cancelled until the end of June.
Based on the city’s data projections, last week, de Villa said that anywhere from 600 to 1,300 Toronto residents could die from the virus over the course of the pandemic, which can be 18 months to two years.