A key to the city has been given to one of the key figures in Mississauga’s reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr. Lawrence Loh, the Medical Officer of Health for Peel Region, was honored during a briefing at Mississauga City Hall on Thursday morning.
It was Loh’s final scheduled regular briefing after spending the previous two years providing Mississauga residents with weekly updates on the COVID-19 epidemic.
Loh has also delivered weekly updates to Brampton residents over the last two years but announced earlier this week that he was ceasing to regularly participate in those briefings as well, given the improving situation with the Omicron variant and the lifting of most public health restrictions.
“Since the start of this pandemic, Dr. Loh has had a singular focus and that has been to do whatever it takes to keep Mississauga and Peel residents as safe as possible,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in presenting him with the key on Thursday morning. “I know that, like myself, many residents appreciate your honest and straightforward approach Dr. Loh. But what I admire most about Dr. Loh is how strong and principled a leader he is. He’s often been in the very unenviable position of having to support and make some pretty unpopular decisions. But he did so knowing that it would ultimately help protect us and it did.”
Loh took over as Peel Region’s interim medical officer of health at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020 and was ultimately awarded the permanent job a few months later.
Crombie said that because Peel Region was “hit harder than any other part of this province” in the early days of the pandemic, Loh often had to go “further with health measures than even the province had put in place to better protect businesses, workers and residents.”
But she said that doing so helped to blunt the impact of the pandemic locally and has now paved the way for “an incredibly bright spring and summer where people can fully get back to doing the things they love.”
“Dr. Loh you are truly a health-care hero in every sense of the word,” Crombie said. “On behalf of the City of Mississauga and on behalf of my council colleagues we are forever grateful.”
Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Loh said the key to the city “represents the work of many hands who have truly made a difference in shifting the risk around COVID from something that was catastrophic” to something that we can learn to live with.
However, Loh warned that “even if we are heading in for a landing,” there would likely be “some bumps along the road” in our extended fight against COVID-19.
According to the most recent data, almost 800 patients with COVID-19 are still in hospitals, with 267 of them in intensive care.
“As we continue to navigate forward on this change, I urge everyone to stay patient and watchful,” Loh added.