The Ontario government is steadily increasing capacity in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout with the addition of over 350 additional pharmaciesand more primary care settings across the province. All of these locations will be offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals aged 55 and over, with some locations to begin offering the vaccine as early as Saturday, April 3, 2021.
Starting tomorrow, Friday, April 2 at 8 a.m., COVID-19 vaccine availability at Mass Vaccination Clinics operated by the City of Toronto will be extended to individuals born in 1961 and earlier. Bookings for these clinics can be made through the Provincial Booking System.
Most Toronto Hospitals and Ontario Health Teams are currently booking appointments for individuals 70 and over, as well as individuals with highest risk or high risk health conditions as identified by the Ministry of Health. In some areas covered by the High Priority Communities Strategy, eligibility requirements may be lower. You can find current information through the VaccineTO link below.
I want to begin this week's update by wishing a Happy Easter to all who will be celebrating on Sunday! For the second year in a row, our celebrations may be smaller than usual, but we can still find ways to mark this important holiday.
On Wednesday April 7 at 7:00 pm, I will be cohosting a telephone town hall meeting with Stan Cho, MPP for Willowdale, on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. We will be joined by experts from North York General Hospital to answer some of your most common questions about the COVID-19 vaccination effort.
If you are interested in participating in the telephone town hall meeting, please sign up at https://www.robinmartinmpp.ca/townhall to receive a phone call a few moments before the town hall begins.
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.
Ontario's key indicators and latest modelling show that additional measures must be taken. From March 26 to 28, 2021, provincial case rates have increased by 7.7 per cent to 101.1 cases per 100,000 people. Current COVID-19 related ICU admissions are already over the peak of wave two and hospitals in regional hotspots will need to further ramp down scheduled surgeries. COVID-19 related ICU admissions are projected to exceed 650 beds in a few weeks. These increases are being driven by COVID-19 variants, which are transmitted easily and result in a higher risk of death and hospitalization, including in younger populations.
The provincewide emergency brake would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures to help to stop the rapid transmission of COVID-19 variants in communities, protect hospital capacity and save lives. Measures include, but are not limited to:
Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.
Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures;
Prohibiting personal care services;
Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only;
Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions;
Requiring day camps to close; and,
Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.
My constituency office is open for appointments only. In efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we encourage you to continue to contact us at (416) 781-2395 or email [email protected]. We remain ready to assist.