Toronto’s top doctor said the city did not have enough time or enough COVID-19 vaccines to get vaccinated out of wave three, and that is why she is urging residents to follow the order to stay home announced Wednesday
“I support all solutions that achieve the goal of measurably weakening the disruption COVID-19 is imposing on all of our communities. Our job now is to respect and follow these measures, ”said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto Medical Officer of Health
The decision to stay home will take effect at 12:01 p.m. on Thursday, April 8, and will be accompanied by Ontario’s third declaration of emergency since the start of the pandemic
De Villa noted that in the past seven days, Toronto has recorded 7,000 new cases of COVID-19.More than 10,000 cases have tested positive for a variant of concern so far, she added.
“The magnitude of the resurgence and persistence of this high number of cases requires us to determine the means that will best foil the spread of the virus and its variants,” said de Villa.
“So please respect the stay home order Practice self-protection, get your vaccine as soon as you are eligible By doing this, everyone in Toronto will be better protected, safer and ultimately healthier”
Dr de Villa joined CP24 to answer your questions on Wave 3, home ordering, vaccines and other COVID issues
CP24: Province announced another stay-at-home order. Do you think it’s too little too late or do you think something is missing?
De Villa: I think any step and solution that brings us closer to the measures that lead us to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 are steps in the right direction I certainly support the measures that are taken And at the end of the day, these measures will only be as good as we do them We still have to actively participate as a community We have to stay at home as much as possible and continue to practice these self-protective measures I know you have heard me say so many times before , but they’re so important now We know what’s going on in our community We’re seeing this overwhelming wave of COVID-19 cases, and we’re seeing significant impacts in our hospitals, whether it’s upstairs admissions general or in our intensive care units It really behooves us to keep our distance as much as possible, to stay home as much as possible, to wear our masks, to wash our hands, to stay home when we are sick, and of course, to get the vaccine. as soon as our turn goes up
CP24: The Ford government also announced its plan to vaccinate teachers and education workers in high-risk neighborhoods in Toronto and Peel Region during spring break This comes a day after you ordered the schools closed for at least two weeks What does this announcement mean for schools in the city?
From Villa: There is no doubt that we want to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible because we know that it protects those people and that it protects everyone around them. We’ve focused very significantly on a data-driven and evidence-based response, so we know focusing on age and geography becomes very important factors when you look at vaccination So definitely, focusing vaccines on hotspots is a smart decision as this is where the risk of disease lies and this is where the benefits can be reaped, especially for the prevention of future waves of COVID-19 activity As for the schools, we’ll see what happens over the next few days, hoping that what will really make a difference right now is not so much the vaccine, but rather the measures that have been put in place. and how we are monitoring these measures together This is what will reduce community transmission in the short term, really try to blunt this current wave And then it allows the vaccines that are happening now and, in the weeks, to come and have their benefit But this benefit will not be felt for at least a few weeks later
CP24: How fast can the city now rotate its immunization schedule to start moving these mobile clinics to these hot areas and moving anyone to those areas? Is it going to be easy to do? Or is it going to take time?
De Villa: First and foremost, our healthcare partners have been doing mobile clinics for many weeks now, so certainly we know our immunization partners are helping us in this regard. And I understand that those involved in planning the details of our vaccination efforts intended to really start heading to mobile clinics as early as next week. Lots of planning going on And certainly, with these new details just arriving, you can well imagine there is a lot of logistics to be done and a lot of conversation, so it will be busy days and weeks ahead of us as as immunization partners in the city of Toronto
De Villa: I don’t think there is any point in talking about what could or should have been We are where we are now Good steps have been taken And I would say it’s actually up to us It’s all in between our hands now, as has often been the case throughout this pandemic Plus we are able to stick to these measures and truly honor what they intend to achieve – keep our distance, wear our masks – we know it really makes a difference in terms of transmission and it’s the most important thing we can do now bend this curve, have an impact on the boxes Then there are vaccines So, of course, I would encourage people, as their turn comes, to go get vaccinated These two things combine good self-protection measures and compliance with the public health measures that have been put in place, getting the vaccine as soon as you are eligible – it is these two things that will get us to the other side. pandemic as soon as possible
CP24: Do you have the number of hospital staff who have been vaccinated? Are they taking advantage of the vaccines? We hear that health facility staff are not getting vaccinated
De Villa: I think we’ve heard stories through the news and media about the efforts that have been put forward to get health workers immunized And I know we have had a significant proportion of our health workers immunized , and I admit that I don’t have the numbers in front of me.I think what has worked in our favor, however, is that as more and more health workers are get vaccinated and more and more people in our community get vaccinated, it serves a bit of peer pressure, this is one way of describing it If you have concerns about adverse effects but see other people around you getting vaccinated and not suffering from adverse effects and in some cases exposed to COVID-19 and protected from COVID-19, I think that it gives additional confidence
So we have certainly seen in long-term care homes a massive improvement in terms of the image of COVID-19 there We have well-vaccinated residents and a good proportion of vaccinated staff, and we don’t have everything. simply not seen that this wave of COVID-19 had the same impact as in the past And we’re really grateful for that.I encourage people to look at this, to look at the experiences of other countries that have done well and that have vaccinated a significant proportion of their population. Seeing reduced disease rates is effective and the best protection we have other than our self-protection measures
CP24: A spectator asks, with the stay at home order, is the rule the same as the last one? If you live alone, can you connect with another house?
From Villa: To be honest I haven’t really had a chance to really look at the details of this stay-at-home order I can’t wait to see those details I think from a public health perspective in general and from a general health point of view I think if you can manage to limit your contacts safely this is the best thing to do It really is best that we want to limit contact and get the vaccine on board as soon as possible For now that would be my advice And we recognize that there are mental health issues associated with no contact Certainly, being outside while staying at a distance is a way to reduce the risk and still connect with people so that you can best protect your mental health.
CP24: Another viewer wants to know why we “don’t create a waiting list or first-come, first-served for open appointments for COVID-19 vaccines? Arms regardless of age?
From Villa: I certainly understand the nature of this line of questioning Here is what the current provincial reservation system that we use in our municipal clinics does not really allow to have a waiting list or a reserve provision, which is unfortunate This hampered us, although the system has served as well overall In this area it has been a challenge With the new announcements made today, I have a feeling that we will see less and less uptime in terms of clinics And there is no doubt that you are talking about city clinics or clinics run by health care partners, fixed clinics, mobile clinics, we all absolutely want to distribute so many vaccines, especially in the high-risk areas, but to everyone in the city as quickly as possible so that we can all enjoy the protection offered by vaccines
CP24: A spectator says that everything has been tried to control the epidemic She asks why not impose a curfew as it seems to do the trick in other countries Also, why is the airport still open, asks does she
De Villa: These are questions that are probably best addressed to my provincial or federal counterparts These are aspects that fall more within their purview I think the challenges of enforcing curfews are cause for concern And regarding the airport, again, is under federal jurisdiction I would say this, however, whatever action is taken, whatever policies adopted – whether by the provincial government or the federal level of government – this fundamentally comes down to all of us We must respect these rules and stick to the measures, all of which aim to keep each of us as far as possible. That’s why the goal is to stay home as much as possible – only going out for those essential activities, which of course include exercise and running etc. But the more we can keep our distance, this is what reduces transmission.We have seen this time and time again, here at home and in countries around the world Regardless of what governments do in terms of policy, we must follow the self-protection measures and steps that we know really make a difference until the vaccines can take their full effect and help us get to the other side of the situation pandemic
CP24: Have you ever considered your powers as a medical officer of health to enforce a curfew?
From Villa: This one is a much more difficult circumstance to implement on a city scale It is not a specific environment And it would be very difficult to talk about a specific case of communicable disease It turns out that the powers that exist for medical officers of health under the law are really meant to be responsive to specific cases of communicable disease risk in particular settings rather than something that covers the whole city It would certainly be difficult to try to do that, and this is really best hit at the top level of government The provincial level of government has more power to do this kind of policy development
CP24: Bystander says he received AstraZeneca vaccine at a pharmacy four weeks ago He says he is not sure he can get the second vaccine due to fear of developing blood clots He wants to know if he is at risk of developing blood clots after receiving his first vaccine
De Villa: Let me say this, it was reviewed very well And I think the European Medicines Agency released a review and basically the key message that came out of it was that the vaccine confers more benefits that any risk The risk of COVID-19 and all of the ailments that accompany it is far greater than any risk of very rare side effects which tend to occur within two weeks of that first vaccination. It seems that in this situation the likelihood of an adverse reaction is quite low, as in all cases And the benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh any risk I encourage this person to receive this second dose to ensure the full protection of the vaccine and I’m happy to hear that he went and made this choice to get vaccinated It was a good choice And it is certainly a key step in bringing us all to the other side of this pandemic
CP24: Viewer asks who makes the decision on age restrictions for AstraZeneca vaccine
De Villa: There isn’t really a decision per se about who gets which vaccine In this case we’re talking about AstraZeneca What happened is that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended for the moment the vaccine is used in people aged 55 and over Reserved for this age group like the situation in Europe, this rare side effect that was observed or this association that was noticed was under investigation Ultimately, as I have always said, the best vaccine is the vaccine that’s in your arm So at this point I don’t know the specific circumstances of the viewer, but there is an opportunity for her to get the vaccine depending on where she is. will soon have a range of options available to you If you are in one of the hotspot communities, vaccines will be available in many different locations AstraZeneca is what is available in the context of pharmacies We know Pfizer and Madonna are the offerings city clinics and hospital clinics Lots of options available But I encourage anyone and anyone who is eligible for a vaccine, please get this vaccine All of them are really effective in preventing outcomes most serious associated with COVID-19 infection, namely hospitalization and death And the best vaccine is the one that’s in your arm, so please take this vaccine
CP24: Another viewer asks, “If I only want to get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, how can you know without making an appointment? I don’t want to make an appointment If it’s not the vaccine I want, I will never get vaccinated with AstraZeneca despite what the doctors say No disrespect to you “
From Villa: At this time, AstraZeneca is only available at pharmacies and select selected primary care providers.Regarding other vaccination channels currently available, whether their city or Toronto Public Health or managed by our healthcare partners, they provide either Pfizer or Moderna So I think that makes choosing it relatively simple
CP24: “What is the government doing to improve containment of people infected with new variants? They must be more aggressive about testing and containment while monitoring vaccines They must continue to monitor people who are isolated to ensure a effective containment, ”says a spectator
De Villa: That’s exactly the job of public health I think what’s interesting, of course, is that in Toronto now the majority of cases are worrying variants and that’s why we’re seeing so many cases right now We’re doing everything we can with case management and contact tracing But of course we also rely on the public And it’s really important for people to really stick to the rules, to s ” isolate appropriately when you have been identified as a case, and for contacts to truly follow up and follow themselves up to detect symptoms and comply with advice provided That, keep the distance, do all the things you’ve heard me say so many times, these self-protective measures and finally get the vaccine These are the measures that really matter now and in the future too
CP24: Have you or your Toronto Public Health team come across a surprising case of worrisome variants?
De Villa: I don’t know if I would say that there have been total surprises But I will say this We have seen that basically it is about bringing people together And we have seen that when it comes to these worrying variants, we were just amazed – not in a good way – how fast it can transmit in certain contexts When people have that close contact it really goes through households And yes we have seen it spread even with people trying to keep a distance outside If they get close we have also seen transmission there – low This is just a reminder that transmitting to the outdoors is certainly a lesser risk, but it is not without risk Distance, distance and distance become really important as you just have to wear your mask as much as possible
De Villa: I would just like to ask that we be at a crucial moment So I ask everyone to please respect the order to stay at home, to stay as far away from others as possible, to check those who are alone virtually or by phone, to get vaccinated as soon as possible And if we do all of this together, we will ultimately be a safer, healthier city
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