Thank you for your patience, compassion and cooperation, as things continue to change daily with the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time of the year, I’d typically outline a variety of spring-related news and events to kick off the season. However, given the current situation, I’d like to use this opportunity to highlight a variety of informative resources pertaining to the pandemic. After all, it is very important that we all remain connected to reliable sources of information for the duration of this outbreak.
COVID-19 is a communicable virus, with the ability to spread through droplets of saliva and/or discharge from the nose. As such, it is imperative that we exercise respiratory etiquette to curb its spread. For example, if you need to sneeze or cough, it is recommended that you do so in your sleeve. Furthermore, it is important to be considerate of high risk individuals, including older adults (60+ years), persons with chronic health conditions (eg. Asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hyper tension, etc.) and pregnant women. Such individuals could experience complications relating to their preconditions, if they were to contract COVID-19.
Over the last few weeks, the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government have made a series of efforts aimed at “flattening the curve”. By now, you’ve probably become well acquainted with this term, but the goal of these efforts is to minimize the potential for the outbreak to spread exponentially, as it has in other countries. In an effort to flatten the curve, senior medical advisors have presented several relatively simple measures we all can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The first of these measures is handwashing, which should be done for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. In the absence of soap and water, it is recommended that you use 70% alcohol sanitizer. The second recommended measure is social distancing, which entails minimizing close contact with others, by keeping a distance of at least 2 metres. More specifically, one should avoid crowded places and non-essential gatherings, common greetings (eg. Handshakes, hugs, etc.) and contact with high risk individuals.
If you experience any COVID-19 related symptoms including fever, cough, difficulty breathing or runny nose, please be sure to self-isolate and contact a qualified medical practitioner. For non- emergency related inquiries, contact Toronto Public Health (416-338-7600) or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000). In some cases, symptoms may not become apparent for up to 14 days. As such, if you have recently returned from travelling abroad, it is also recommended that you self-isolate for 14 days.
The Mayor has also launched an Economic Support and Recovery Task Force, which I am co-leading. The purpose of the task force is to identify immediate and long-term economic recovery strategies for residents and businesses, with a focus on supporting those segments of the economy that are most strongly impacted by COVID-19, such as tourism, hospitality and entertainment. As a result of the task force, the City has enacted a 60 day grace period for property tax, water and solid waste utility bill payments. This grace period is applicable to all residents and businesses in Toronto. The grace period is backdated to take effect from March 16, 2020.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting daily updates regarding the COVID-19 outbreak to my Facebook page (https: //www.facebook.com/cllrcrawford/) at approximately 5pm. For those of you who are unable to view such updates, please feel free to reach out to my office by telephone (416-396-7703) or email (councillor_crawford @toronto.ca), where one of my staff members would be more than happy to assist you. I also recommend visiting the City’s webpage regarding COVID-19 updates (https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/), as well as viewing the City’s daily briefings from Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer, which air weekdays at 3:45pm on local news media outlets. As for measures taken by other levels of government, both the provincial (https://www.ontario.ca/ page/2019-novel-coronavirus) and federal governments (https:// www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html?topic=tilelink) have created webpages outlining actions taken within their respective jurisdictions of power.
As we continue to navigate this period of uncertainty, I thank you for your efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19. I understand that this has been a difficult time for you and your families and truly appreciate the sacrifices you’ve made. Please continue to look out for one another and assist neighbours in need, while also taking into account your own state of health. As your councillor, I will continue to advocate on your behalf and support measures to see us through this unprecedented challenge.
~ Gary Crawford is City Councillor for Ward 20 Scaborough Southwest