Toronto has continued to see rising numbers in the amount of COVID-19 cases, leading to questions over if the city, and other major urban areas like it, need special considerations when it comes to easing restrictions.
In recent weeks, the City has often accounted for about half of the new overall cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.
It was the same story on Wednesday, when 152 new infections were reported in Toronto, while 292 cases were reported for the entire province.
Both Toronto’s mayor and its medical officer of health said they would like the province to take into account the city’s individual needs before loosening restrictions any further.
“The city is different because of its size, because of the way its population is set up in a more dense circumstance,” said Mayor John Tory.
He said he hopes the province will take those unique characteristics into account.
“In terms of timing, in terms of the time allowed for us to make some of the changes that have to be made in these areas. I think they understand that Toronto and the GTA are different.”
So far, Tory said he feels the province has been listening.
Dr. Eileen de Villa said municipalities need to be looked at like patients, in which a blanket treatment may not take into account unique symptoms which may require special attention.
“Each of one of us will hit different points in our own way, in our own timing,” said de Villa.
When asked whether municipalities need more control due to the unique climates within their own regions, Premier Doug Ford said the final say rests in the control of local medical officers of health.
“Every single local chief medical officer of health can empower themselves to close their area,” said Ford, citing sect. 22 of the Health Act.
Health Minister Christine Elliott seconded the call, saying when the further easing of restrictions comes, local health officials could choose to move slowly.
Despite the message of yielding to the expertise and needs within specific geographic regions, professor of political science Nelson Wiseman said the province will have the final say.
“At the end of the day, the province is in charge, it can do what it wants, it can overrule local health authorities, local mayors, and so on,” he said.
“But I don’t think that’s what they’re going to do and that’s not what they want to do.”