Canada’s most populous city has announced the end of the municipal emergency it declared when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but says its fight against the virus is not over.

Toronto Mayor John Tory ended the state of emergency on Monday, which had been declared on March 23, 2020, saying it was “one more sign that the city is returning to a more normal state of existence.” .

“I am very happy today that we can stand here saying that the state of emergency will be lifted after 777 days,” Tory said.
outside the town hall.

“Things keep getting better. The numbers keep getting better, the number of people getting vaccinated (keeps) getting better, and I think that’s what it means to me, it’s just that we’re on the right track.”

The emergency declaration allowed the city to redeploy approximately 1,700 public employees to shelters, long-term care homes and other areas that required additional support during the pandemic, Tory said.

All but 40 of those redeployed employees have now returned to their original jobs, he added.

COVID-19 ‘still active’ in town: Tory

Tory also noted that the city’s pandemic management team, which includes himself; the city’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa; and Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg held a total of 354 meetings during the state of emergency.

Despite ending the emergency order, Tory warned that the pandemic is not over and stressed that people are still getting sick from COVID-19.

He said the city will continue its vaccination efforts, receive public health guidance from de Villa and his team, offer recovery support and maintain mask-wearing in high-risk settings like public transportation, as required by a provincial order until at least June 11.

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“I want people to understand that by lifting the state of emergency in the city, we are not ending our fight against COVID-19. We know that COVID-19 is still active in the city,” Tory said.

Asked if she would reinstate the state of emergency if Toronto’s COVID-19 situation worsens, Tory said she would seek advice from de Villa, City Manager Chris Murray and others before making that decision.

“If circumstances arise in the future that require another state of emergency, though never take these decisions lightly, I can assure you that I will take advice, I will consider it, I will ask questions as I do.” and I’ll do what’s right,” she said.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, says the end of the municipal state of emergency is not a sign of “letting our guard down when it comes to COVID-19.” (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

De Villa said Toronto’s COVID-19 indicators are declining or stable this week, adding she is “encouraged” to see signs of improvement in Toronto’s health system capacity as well as case rates. weekly, percent positivity, and residual water signals.

“These are positive signs that, along with this warmer weather, give us hope that COVID-19 activity in the city
continues to decline,” he said.

However, de Villa also warned that these indicators and the end of the municipal state of emergency are not a signal “to lower our guard when it comes to COVID-19.”

He advised Torontonians to take advantage of the warmer weather by hosting social gatherings outdoors as much as possible, to wear masks indoors in public places and crowded spaces, and to get vaccinated to stay protected against COVID-19.

“I know we all want this pandemic to end. While there are many reasons for hope today, the pandemic continues and COVID-19 continues to circulate in our communities,” he said.

“We still have to be vigilant and make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect each other.”

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