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City of Toronto activates ’emergency operations centre’ in response to coronavirus

City of Toronto activates Emergency Operations Centre
WATCH ABOVE: In response to the growing pandemic, Toronto has reached the next phase in its response to COVID-19: Activation of the Emergency Response Centre, a task force made up of managers from different city agencies. Miranda Anthistle has more

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

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, as the general manager of the Office of Emergency Management, was designated to lead the operational planning and the City of Toronto’s response to COVID-19.

During an update at Toronto city hall on Thursday, Pegg said the EOC is operating at the second-highest level (level two). He said that means there will be 24-hour staffing at the EOC and there will be an enhanced level of coordination among all City of Toronto departments and agencies.

READ MORE: Ontario confirms 17 new COVID-19 cases, including baby boy

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.

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The City of Toronto said in the release it is planning various responses including:

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  • 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 59 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

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.