Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy decisions
Tuesday, April 16th, 2020 (Toronto), Toronto Public Health (TPH) vice-chair Tom Heneghan says people who follow the advice of public health officials will help control the spread of COVID-19.
TPH is currently advising the public to keep physical distancing and social distancing to prevent exposure to COVID-19.
Heneghan said while we’ve seen the numbers of patients with COVID-19 drop from early May, the overall number of new cases is still going up with 5,300 patients diagnosed as of Tuesday.
Heneghan spoke to the Star in response to a question about some members of Toronto City Council’s citywide executive committee not following public health advice.
“You’re asking me about city council because council makes the decisions about when to close down businesses and when to close schools, who to let into closed schools, and when they need to shut down schools for a period of time,” said Heneghan. “So it is council that make decisions at city wide council level on when to close and when not to close a school.
“The point is while it doesn’t hurt Toronto and the people of Toronto to be careful and not take that kind of risk – if that was your only risk to avoid getting ill it would be fine by me,” he added. “But there is, as we learned later in the spring at the height of this outbreak, when you do take that kind of risk, it causes significant additional health effects – so you have to weigh those two things when you’re weighing whether you’re going to go against public health advice.”
Heneghan said the council should be working on the same level of public health as we work on.
“The same level of public health as I work in with council. I am more vigilant with my own health and I’m more vigilant with my health so that I can make sure that I’m not putting myself – you know as people that are trying to protect – in a situation where I’m putting myself in greater harm than good