With the city’s COVID-19 caseload topping 5,000 in four months, city staff outlined Toronto’s response to the coronavirus emergency.
Speaking during Thursday’s virtual council meeting, chief medical officer Dr. Eileen de Villa said data collected so far suggests the outbreak is indeed peaking.
“The number of cases we’re seeing is lower than what was forecast,” she said.
“This is due in large part to the strong public health measures that were put into place relatively early in our outbreak.”
The curve, she said, does appear to be flattening, with the number of new daily cases gradually decreasing over the past week.
“The hope is that we start to move down the curve,” she said, but warned future progress depends on community diligence in sticking to public health measures.
While so far 347 people have died of COVID-19, 3,153 patients have recovered.
Outlining the mobilization to protect the city’s most vulnerable, Deputy City Manager Giuliana Carbone credits the assistance of Toronto’s not-for-profit sector.
“Those services are more important than ever during this crisis,” she said.
Community response involving 11 city divisions and 75 community agencies meets three times a week to identify issues.
The city’s Rapid Housing Initiative has allowed clients to transition into permanent housing from shelters — with 250 units being identified so far and 73 people moved as of April 22.
While collective agreements have prevented the city from moving or laying off staff, agreements earlier in April allow the redeployment of union members, internal or external hires and even volunteers to fill positions, deferring or cancelling vacations or placing members on emergency leave.
Chief Financial Officer Heather Taylor said the city is losing roughly $65 million per week in both extra costs and lost revenue.
About 7% of operating funding in this year’s $13.6-billion budget relies on about $800-million in revenue via the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT.)
With real estate sales in suspended animation during the pandemic, Taylor said the impact of lost MLTT revenue won’t be known for several months.
“It will have an additional financial impact, we just can’t quantify it at this particular time,” she said.