Today, the Ontario Government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health is transitioning Toronto back to the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open. Toronto will return to Grey-Lockdown under the framework starting on Monday, March 8th, 2021 at 12:01am.
This is based on the latest modelling data that shows the efforts of Ontarians in following public health measures and advice are working to decrease the number of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations across the province. However, with COVID-19 variants of concern continuing to spread, the actions of everyone over the coming weeks will be critical to maintaining the progress communities have made across the province to date.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to consult with public health and other experts, review data, and provide advice to the government on the appropriate and effective measures that are needed to protect the health of Ontarians.
Ontario will launch a centralized online booking system and a provincial customer service desk to answer questions and support appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics starting March 15th, beginning with appointments for individuals over the age of 80 as part of Phase One.
In preparation for mass vaccination, area hospitals including North York General Hospital and Sunnybrook Hospital are also pre-registering 80+ year olds to receive their vaccines. It is important to note that pre-registering does not guarantee a vaccine appointment. It simply means the hospital will contact you when appointments are available in their vaccination clinics.
The Ontario Government is preparing to move into Phase Two of our COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan next month, with a focus on vaccinating populations based on age and risk. This approach is designed to save lives, protect those at risk of serious illness and to stop the virus from spreading.Between April 2021 and July 2021, up to nine million Ontarians will be vaccinated. Groups that will receive the vaccine during Phase Two include:
Older adults between 60-79 years of age;
Individuals with specific health conditions and some primary caregivers;
People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers;
People who live in hot spots with high rates of death, hospitalizations and transmission; and
Certain workers who cannot work from home.
Ontario is also working with the pharmacy sector and with primary care professionals to offer vaccinations. A pilot for pharmacy vaccine administration is planned for mid-March in select regions, including Toronto, Windsor and the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington region.
The Ontario Government is investing $23.5 million over the next five years to help Baycrest's Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), improve the quality of life for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The funding will support innovative research and programs to help seniors with brain health related issues live at home longer and reduce the cost of care delivery.
Ontario's investment will also address challenges that have arisen for seniors and their caregivers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including social isolation, increased caregiver stress, and difficulty maintaining seniors' cognitive, mental and physical health.
This is a strong investment providing direct support to vulnerable seniors in our riding and in surrounding communities.
The Ontario Government is providing an additional $500 million to help the province's 444 municipalities address ongoing COVID-19 operating costs. The new financial relief will help ensure the delivery of critical services and keep capital projects on track.
Of the $500 million, Toronto will receive $164 million to alleviate some of the challenges and hardships they've faced due to COVID-19.
Municipalities have been clear that they need ongoing operating funding in 2021, and it’s important that we step up and provide financial relief, like this. At the same time, we need the federal government to join us and provide our municipal partners with the additional support they deserve.
This week, the Ontario Government also announced that it'll be providing $150 million in additional funding to help municipal transit systems address the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is in addition to the $2 billion previously committed by Ontario and the federal government through the Safe Restart Agreement to help municipalities continue to deliver critical transit services.
Starting Monday, March 8th, 2021, my constituency office will be 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.
Two City employees working at Alexandra Park Early Learning & Child Care Centre (ELCCC) have recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Due to operational factors, the City-operated child care centre will be temporarily closed while staff members self-isolate to monitor for symptoms and the children isolate at home and monitor for symptoms as a precaution.