"Community transmission is occurring": Toronto confirms 239 coronavirus cases in the city

Mar 23 2020, 1:26 pm

Health officials confirmed the City of Toronto has a total of 239 cases of COVID-19 after Mayor John Tory declared the city’s first ever state of emergency on Monday.

Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eileen de Villa said “community transmission is occurring” in the city at increasing rates.

“We all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and our families from this spread,” de Villa said.

She also strongly supports the province’s announcement on Monday to close all non-essential businesses, which takes effect on Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 pm.

But the Chief Medical Officer emphasized that these businesses should close even before this mandatory deadline.

De Villa also stressed the importance of physical distancing and proper hygiene practices.

“When you stay at home you help protect those who are providing essential services, like this providing care to sick people in hospitals, our paramedics, our police and our fire services teams,” said de Villa.

“When we stay at home we keep these essential workers healthy and so our city can run safely.”

Chief Matthew Pegg also commended Mayor John Tory declaring a state of emergency for the city on Monday afternoon.

“The declaration enables the City of Toronto to remain nimble and address evolving issues as they arise,” Pegg said.

It will not impact the operations within the Emergency Operation Centre nor its Level 3 status.

But the declaration does provide city staff with the means to access resources in a more timely way, Pegg added.

According to the city, the declaration of a municipal emergency is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and will ensure the municipal government “can continue to act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead.”

As of the morning of March 23, the province has 503 total cases.