Published Wednesday, April 1, 2020 10:36AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 1, 2020 11:05AM EDT
Dr. Eileen de Villa made the comment on Wednesday as she issued sweeping new recommendations to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
She said that she is recommending “in the strongest possible terms” that all Torontonians remain in their homes, except for medical appointments, to shop for groceries no more than once a week or to walk their dogs or get exercise.
She said that she is also using her powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to order all individuals with COVID-19 to remain home for 14 days. She is also ordering close contacts of people with the virus to likewise self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
“It is my belief that these measures need to be in place for up to 12 weeks. But I would tell you that how long these measures need to be in place and how successful we are in terms of controlling the virus spread is entirely in our hands,” she said. “The more we are able to put these measures into place and the more we are able as a community to adhere to these recommendations the shorter will be the duration of these measures and the more effective we will be at reducing the loss of lives in our community.”
De Villa said that there have been 628 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city as of yesterday and 165 probable cases, including 33 that have required treatment in an intensive care unit.
While the city is yet to see the sort of caseloads that have been reported in places like New York City, where more than 1,100 people have died after contracting the virus, de Villa said that the numbers are headed in the wrong direction with Toronto experiencing a roughly 500 per cent increase in confirmed cases over the last two weeks.
“This is not a favourable trajectory and as your medical officer of health I am deeply concerned,” she said. “I realize I depict a very stark picture here. A very stark picture but is one that is honest and true. Given this is our current situation it is my belief that we must absolutely implement stronger measures to avoid the type of results we are seeing in places like New York City.”
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