Toronto Mayor John Tory announced measures to provide greater access to mental health service providers.
The new initiative focuses on supporting children and young people, seniors, frontline workers in community agencies, and indigenous, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ2 communities.
Residents are now able to call 211 to get connected with direct phone support (warm transfer) to mental health partners. Agencies involved in the initiative include Kids Help Phone and crisis text line, Progress Place Warm Line, Toronto Seniors Help Line, The Gerstein Crisis Centre, Ontario Psychological Association for Frontline Workers and Community Agencies, Caribbean African Canadian Social Services (CAFCAN), Cross Boundaries and Native Child and Familyhood Services.
Toronto COVID-19 enforcement
Toronto’s COVID-19 enforcement team continues to work to enforce physical distancing in public parks and squares. Yesterday Toronto by-law officers spoke to 1,000 people. Further to this, 1,900 social distancing signs and 3,000 no parking signs have been posted in public spaces. By-law officers have received positive feedback on their activities and will continue to have a presence over the long weekend in public parks and spaces.
When asked by media Mayor Tory indicated that people should be held accountable if they are not adhering to by-laws and provincial orders but said this is ultimately up to law enforcement.
Ongoing public health protection activities
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health outlined the various measures being taken to keep residents safe in Toronto long-term care homes. She also explained that the more testing that is done, the better informed the public health response can be. She also said that long-term care homes and shelters are places where Toronto Public Health would like to see further testing. Dr. de Villa noted that Toronto Public Health is in conversation with the province regarding testing and that Toronto is using provincial testing to guide public health measures.
Dr. de Villa also cautioned that making an assessment based on existing numbers only provides a partial picture of what is occurring. She does not believe that Toronto has reached its peak. She noted that more testing will help inform public health practitioners where they are on the curve and what actions can be taken.
Dr. de Villa also responded to how Toronto is managing COVID-19 testing compared to Ottawa. In her remarks to media, she explained that Toronto has identified those who warrant testing based on public health assessments, even if they are not with the priority groups stipulated by the province
Chief Matthew Pegg, General Manager of Emergency Management announced that replacement surgical masks have been delivered and put into Toronto’s personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory. He further outlined that every morning the Emergency Operations Centre receives a comprehensive inventory report that is passed along to the Strategic Command Team. The delivery of masks returns the city to an inventory of six to eight weeks.