Toronto medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa urge people to stay home to fight coronavirus (Photo: The Star)

Toronto, Ontario

96 active cases

Toronto health officials announced that the coronavirus is spreading locally on Monday, pleading for everyone to stay home who can — “social distancing” measures that research shows can massively diminish the spread of COVID-19, if adopted early enough and if followed by nearly everyone.

The city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said Toronto Public Health is investigating three people who tested positive for COVID-19 and who had not recently travelled outside Canada or had close contact with someone who had. The city has 96 active cases overall.

De Villa urged dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and movie theatres to close, and asked all other businesses to help staff work from home. She told residents to limit gatherings.

“If you can stay home, do,” de Villa said at a City Hall news conference Monday.

“I am calling on our city to rise to this challenge to reduce the spread of this virus. We know that these measures that I’m recommending today work, based on the experiences of other jurisdictions.”

De Villa added: “I cannot overemphasize how important this is, particularly at this critical time.”

Research from other coronavirus-slammed countries strongly suggests that population-wide, early adoption of widespread social distancing, including workplace closures, is necessary to avert dramatic increases in the numbers of COVID-19 patients, hospitalizations, intensive care admissions, and deaths. Keeping some parts of society home and not others is insufficient.

Pinay is Toronto’s new Medical Officer of Health