Hello Neighbours & Friends,
These are incredibly challenging times, like nothing we have seen before. We have all experienced huge changes to the way we live day-to-day since Canada confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on January 25, 2020.
I am thankful and humbled by the dedication of all the healthcare professionals who have been working extremely hard to keep us safe and prevent the spread of this disease.
Thank you also from the very core of me to every other front line worker who can’t work from home and who is risking their own safety to keep the rest of us healthy, among them: social workers and other homeless healthcare workers doing everything they can to keep COVID-19 from taking hold in shelters and drop-ins; TTC workers; pharmacists; cashiers; drivers; all the folks who are out there making the community as safe as they can for the rest of us.
I know it is easy to be overwhelmed by rapidly changing information. Social distancing is new for many of us, and as we adjust to this new normal it is remarkable to watch the community, province, and country come together. Social media has sparked beautiful acts of solidarity and imaginative ways to stay home, continue to be creative and productive, and remain connected to friends and family from a distance.
I personally put a call out on my social media accounts for residents to reach out if they or someone they know would benefit from a call — whether to get information or let off steam about COVID-19 anxiety or anything else, because I know this can feel lonely, particularly for those who live alone and are not as connected online. This offer stands: reach out by email or via DMs on social media with your contact information and I will get back to you as quickly as I can. Depending on volume, this may take me a bit of time, but you will hear from me!
The Federal government announced a package of supports yesterday to address the economic implications of Covid-19. While more details are still unclear — in particular, how constituents can start to access the various benefits and when — it is welcome assistance. The faster this assistance is distributed to people, the better. I’ve provided a round-up below.
The Ontario legislature resumed today for a very short session to pass bills related to allowing for sick leave under provincial law and regarding municipal council quorum. For social distancing reasons, only a small number of MPPs were permitted to be present. More details below.
Ultimately, we're in this together and we’ll get through this together.
Please do be aware that we are still learning more about how COVID-19 affects humans and is morphing. Let's not be complacent, even if you are young and healthy. Counter to expectations, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that 40% of Americans currently sick enough to be hospitalized are between 20-54 years old, and many of those people did not have underlying health conditions.
This is a trying time for us all. I know that, and I am asking you please do not engage in racist depictions of the origins of the disease. This virus doesn't discriminate, and neither should we.
Try to take care of your mental health and to get out for walks or bike rides if you can, to breathe, to remember that we are all in this together and together we will get through it. If you’re able to stop in at a local business to make a purchase and help keep them going, that would also be amazing. (Our local businesses are doing a great job managing social distance and keeping surfaces and door handles clean while still allowing customers in to make purchases.)
Personally speaking, the walks I take with my dogs and the bike rides I take out to Tommy Thomson Park are a big part of taking care of myself, but you don’t need a dog or a bike to get outside and walk around a block or two. Fresh air really helps!
I know our community is strong and caring. I am grateful everyday for your big hearts and compassion. Please continue to support each other, be kind and connected at a distance. Even if all you are doing is adhering to social distancing norms, you are doing enough. You are helping to limit the spread of this disease, which in turn is protecting yourself and your loved ones, as well as the most vulnerable among us. Thank you!
Warmest wishes and stay safe,
MPP for Beaches - East York
Reminder: For the most up-to-date information and contact information for Toronto Public Health, Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Agency .