The City of Toronto says it has begun the next phase of managing COVID-19, activating its “Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)” in response to the global pandemic of coronavirus.

“Currently, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is at a Level One activation, which involves monitoring the current situation, locally and globally, and coordinating internal efforts at the City to ensure it continues to meet the needs of residents and businesses should the activation level change,” the city said in a statement.

Non-essential activities within the EOC have been suspended in order to support the COVID-19 task force, the City said.

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, as General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management, will lead the operational planning and response to COVID-19.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, will still lead the public health efforts to mitigate impacts from the virus on the city.

The city said in the release it is planning various responses including:

  • The potential for increased staff absenteeism due to illness and the impact on the City’s ability to deliver core services.
  • Global supply chain challenges for personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves for frontline workers and first responders.
  • Actions undertaken to protect vulnerable populations, such as those experiencing homelessness or in City-run long-term care homes.
  • Developing, sharing and continually updating critical information for residents and visitors to the city.
  • Forecasting and responding to economic impacts the pandemic may have on residents and businesses.

“While the public health response to COVID-19 under Dr. de Villa’s leadership has been underway since January when COVID-19 was first identified, the implementation of the City-wide COVID-19 task force is the next phase in pandemic and response planning activities,” the City said.

Ontario has 42 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, many of which have been diagnosed in Toronto and in the Greater Toronto Area.

The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 disease a global pandemic on Wednesday.

An update will be provided to the media by Toronto officials at 2 p.m. Global News will have that live-streamed here.

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