Toronto's top doctor says lockdown is "necessary decision" to combat COVID-19

Nov 20 2020, 2:09 pm

Toronto’s top doctor said the province’s decision to put the city in another lockdown is a “necessary decision.”

During a press conference on Friday, Dr. Eileen de Villa said there is “no doubt that today’s decision is the necessary decision” as it’s “demanded by the high level of the COVID-19 threat and great risk we will lose control of virtual spread.”

De Villa confirmed 420 cases today, making the total in the city almost 37,000 since the pandemic was declared in March.

From October 1 to November 20, there were 16,630 reported cases.

The top doctor also said that seeing the situation in Europe and the US is not what she wants for Toronto and keeping the healthcare system within capacity is a top priority.  

And when it comes to business, de Villa asked that all levels of government find ways “to support people practically in the coming weeks,” especially for those that must go into work in order to get a paycheck and support their families.  

The message was echoed by Board of Health Chair, Councillor Joe Cressy, who said that the costs of a lockdown are “not borne equally.”

“They disproportionately impact low-income and racialized households, who already face higher case counts and hospitalizations from COVID-19 than the rest of the population. There’s no containing COVID-19 without first protecting those that are most vulnerable,” said Cressy in a statement.

He said all employees must have paid sick leave and that families must be connected to community resources and support programs. This means ensuring people can access rapid and mobile testing options in their community.

Earlier on Friday, Premier Doug Ford announced that Toronto would enter another lockdown at 12:01 am on Monday, November 23.

This means there will be no indoor private gatherings, and individuals who live alone may have close contact with one other household.

Outdoor gatherings can have a maximum of 10 people, and restaurants must continue to close indoor dining but can do take out and delivery — outdoor dining is also prohibited.

Religious services and weddings must be restricted to 10 people indoors physically distance and 10 outdoors.

Retail is permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only, with certain exceptions such as for supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big-box retailers selling groceries, beer, wine and liquor stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores, which will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

Personal care services will be closed, as well as casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.

And indoor sports, recreational facilities, including pools, will be closed with limited exceptions.

It’s important to note that schools, before and after school programs, and child care will remain open.

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