Toronto health officials recommending travellers to avoid senior contact, limit social interactions

Mar 13 2020, 6:38 am

Health officials are recommending Toronto residents who have recently traveled outside of Canada, including the US, to limit social interactions with large groups of people and avoid contact with all seniors.

On Thursday afternoon, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, also said those who have travelled recently should avoid hospitals and individuals with chronic illness.

This recommendation is in addition to guidelines already provided for anyone who has been to Hubei Province in China, Italy or Iran to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Medical Officer of Health is also recommending residents and event organizers to conduct thorough risk assessments before going ahead with any planned large events or scheduled public meetings.

If possible, transitioning to virtual meetings is the preferred choice and if that is not possible, meetings should be postponed.

De Villa also announced that effective immediately, business travel will be cancelled for all City of Toronto staff until further notice.

“To date, there has been no community transmission of COVID-19. It is with this knowledge that the City is asking everyone to do their part to limit that possibility,” de Villa said. “Individuals need to very carefully assess risks to themselves and others if they have travelled. If they are unwell, stay home and contact Toronto Public Health if symptoms of COVID-19 materialize.”

De Villa’s recommendations were provided at the same time Toronto launched its next phase of response to coronavirus with a citywide COVID-19 task force, aimed to fully confront the coronavirus cases cropping up around the city.

The provincial government also launched five COVID-19 screening centres in the GTA, as well as expanded access to screening and lab testing across the province.

The federal response also amped up earlier this week, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a $1 billion response fund to help provinces and territories across the country confronting the impact of COVID-19.

The Government of Canada released comprehensive guidelines on how the country can be better informed before entering spaces with large crowds.

As of March 12, there are 29 active cases in Toronto and 59 in the province, with five resolved.