Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy: we don’t have a plan, we haven’t been tested, we only have a couple of dozen employees, the city is broke, and we’re stuck at home — and that’s it.
For many people (including myself) on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, Toronto Public Health is the go-to source for information, guidance, and tips on handling such a public health crisis.
I had the opportunity to chat with Toronto Public Health on the day we announced a new “virtual town hall session” with Mayor John Tory and the other officials in charge, including Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders and Cst Saunders and TTC chair Karen Stintz.
What I learned from that chat will likely inform my perspective for years to come.
Here are my takeaways:
Toronto Public Health has been in the forefront of the pandemic response. In fact, they’ve been the leading source of information about the latest research on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. In fact, the first case of COVID-19 in Canada was a Toronto resident in the Toronto General Hospital (TGH) in late January, the hospital that Public Health works with in partnership with Toronto Public Health.
They also have a very good online resources section that would make a great resource, but it must exist online — they are not yet available for download or delivery — but they are being added to the website on a regular basis.
The city is not testing people — it is the Toronto General Hospital. TGH is not testing for SARS-CoV-2 yet, but if you are symptomatic and a public health worker tells you that you are being tested, that is your official notification to take you to the hospital. We do have a few dozen employees in our team, but we have more people on the front line of this crisis. We have tested people, and we are still testing more. The Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Team has been active on Twitter, Facebook, and our Twitter account during the first round of testing.