After five Toronto city recreation facilities closed because of an outbreak of whooping cough in January, city officials announced Thursday that the closing will continue to affect some programs, according to the Toronto Star.
City spokeswoman Margareta Wahlstrom said all existing membership or activity fees for recreational programs and activities will be automatically canceled starting March 29.
“Children in our programs need to be vaccinated against serious infectious diseases,” Wahlstrom told the Star. “Due to a temporary staff shortage at the City of Toronto, we have decided to temporarily suspend some club programs.
“This temporary suspension will allow our staff to get trained and certified in vaccines for pertussis (whooping cough) and HPV (human papillomavirus) before returning to work at the City of Toronto.”
The city has been combating a decline in whooping cough rates, which were the lowest in nearly 40 years. Wahlstrom said the number of cases was eight in January, which would be compared to 64 for the same time period last year. The city plans to resume some programs in mid-April, Wahlstrom said.
The recent flu season appears to have worsened the spring spread of whooping cough, making this year’s outbreak “one of the most severe we’ve seen,” Wahlstrom said.
In Toronto, the number of new cases has jumped to 196 this year from 37 at the same time last year, Wahlstrom said.