City of Toronto officials say they are preparing to redeploy hundreds of staff to support critical and essential services in response to a surge in new COVID-19 cases fuelled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Toronto city manager Chris Murray in a statement today says staff are ready to fill any gaps as the latest wave of new infections keeps employees in key areas from being able to work.
Murray says many of those readying for redeployment were previously called upon to help last year.
While emergency preparations are underway, the city says staff in its public health dental services program will be called upon throughout January to help administer vaccines, as many residents rush to get booster shots to better protect against COVID-19.
And the city says it plans to ramp up its use of rapid antigen tests for staff other than those in long-term care facilities and daycares to include police, fire and paramedics.
Toronto is also suspending non-essential, in-person services at city hall and other civic centres to free up staff to help with the emergency response and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Services will continue to be offered by phone and online.
The measures will remain in place until further notice.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press