Region of Peel Chair, Nando Iannicca, along with Peel Regional Council, voted to terminate the declared emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during Regional Council today. This decision was made in consultation with Medical Officer of Heath, Dr. Lawrence Loh, as well as Regional Emergency Management.
The Region of Peel’s response to COVID-19 pandemic has been the longest and most extensive emergency operation in our community’s history. After five waves, though, we’ve made a collective difference by following the precautions and getting vaccinated and boosted. This has kept our most vulnerable safe and saved lives. I urge residents to remain vigilant as our transition beyond the acute phase of the pandemic continues.”
– Regional Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh
Chair Iannicca declared a state of emergency for the Region of Peel on March 18, 2020. At the time of the declaration, COVID-19 was a novel virus from which residents did not have immunity, and widespread infection presented a risk of severe outcomes in the Peel community. With no vaccines or treatments available, community transmission of COVID-19 represented a substantial threat to resident lives and the wellbeing of the local healthcare system. This environment formed the basis for the Regional declaration of emergency.
A declaration of emergency is an administrative tool that delegates some authority from Council to the Chief Administrative Officer and allows staff to be transferred to different roles and work sites to fill emergency related needs. During the Regional declaration of emergency, changes were made to existing service delivery and operating practices, staff were redeployed to COVID-19 efforts, and new programs were launched, including the Region of Peel’s contributions to the largest vaccination roll-out in Canadian history.
The recent decline in cases from the recent Omicron wave, coupled with Peel’s high rates of vaccination, has reduced the risk of severe outcomes in the community. This change in environment now allows Peel to transition out of the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regional staff will continue to remain vigilant and support community response as required, including continued support for vaccination clinics in a variety of settings across Peel.
Some Regional programs and services are returning to regular operations in a safe, measured and controlled fashion, although many programs in Public Health and Long-Term Care continue to respond to COVID-19 and have not yet returned to regular operations.
Should the COVID-19 environment in Peel destabilize, the Regional Chair may make another declaration of emergency to support an emergency response. The Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, may also exercise existing powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to address immediate risks under certain conditions.
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