Health Experts Say the COVID-19 Outbreak Has Likely Peaked in Ontario

News Release

April 20, 2020

Modelling shows physical distancing still needed to prevent further spread

TORONTO — The Ontario government today released updated COVID-19 modelling, which shows that the enhanced public health measures, including staying home and physically distancing from each other, are working to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. However, the Chief Medical Officer of Health says emergency measures must remain in place to continue reducing the number of cases and deaths.

“The modelling clearly demonstrates that we are making progress in our fight against this deadly virus. That’s due to the actions of all Ontarians, those who are staying home and practising physical distancing, and to the heroic efforts of our frontline health care workers,” said Premier Doug Ford. “But COVID-19 continues to be a clear and present danger, especially to our seniors and most vulnerable citizens. That is why we must continue to follow the advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and stay the course in order to keep people safe and healthy.”

Key highlights from the modelling update include:

  • The wave of new community spread cases of COVID-19 in Ontario appears to have peaked.
  • Outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings continue to be a major concern. Concerted actions are underway to protect vulnerable people in these settings.
  • Ontario is now trending toward a best case scenario rather than a worst case scenario and has significantly improved its standing as compared to March modelling.
  • The province has avoided a significant surge in cases. Total cumulative cases are forecast to be substantially lower than worst case or even moderate case scenarios projected by previous models.
  • While several hundred new cases are identified daily in Ontario, hospitals across the province have not been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 outbreak as a result of capacity planning and the public health measures currently in place. The rate of growth day-over-day is declining.
  • To further reduce the number of cases and deaths, it remains critical that Ontarians continue to adhere to public health measures, including staying home and practicing physical distancing if they must go out for essential reasons only.

“The information released today shows early but unmistakable signs that our efforts are working,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “These numbers are not an accident. They are the re sult of months of planning and collective action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. However, in order for these projections to become reality, each of us must continue to stay home as much possible and practise physical distancing.”

To enhance protections for residents and staff in long-term care homes, last week Ontario launched the COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes. This action plan will ensure the implementation of critical new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes. These measures include enhancing and expanding testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases; providing public health and infection control expertise; and redeploying staff from hospitals and home and community care to support the long-term care home workforce.

“The new province-wide modelling data are encouraging, but we know that long-term care homes and other congregate settings will track on a different path,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “We will continue to take aggressive action to support our most vulnerable residents and their caregivers.”

QUICK FACTS

  • All Ontarians need to stay home unless absolutely necessary for essential trips, such as accessing health care services, groceries, picking up prescriptions or supporting vulnerable community members with meeting essential needs. If you must leave your home, go alone and stay at least two metres apart from others.
  • Ontario has made improvements to its COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool by expanding its symptom list, addressing the most high risk individuals, and making it more accessible and responsive.
  • Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and protect your health: wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer; sneeze and cough into your sleeve; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; avoid contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Christmas Begins in Westport

The BEST week-end ever to get you in the Christmas groove. Thanks to Westport Arts Council and Tracy and Paul for two amazing Christmas Markets. Shoppers were out for Shop’n’Hop Saturday Night – great work businesses. The Lions Santa Claus Parade today was incredible with so many local people participating and having a lot of fun.

The Christmas Tree on Spy Rock was lit last night – thanks Rob and your elves – and it shone bright and true in the cold, clear night.

And finally, hats off to everyone who made generous donations to the Westport Food Bank. The mountain of food grew before our eyes at Kudrinko’s this afternoon. Special mention to Lake 88.1 for their coverage. If you missed today’s event and want to donate, you can e-transfer to westportfoodbank@gmail.com.

Hometown Pride – what a great feeling.

Westport Council 2022-26

The new Council was sworn in on November 15, 2022, by CAO Kim Westgate.

INAUGURAL SPEECH BY MAYOR ROBIN JONES, November 15, 2022

Good evening Council, Families and Staff

I wish to begin by recognizing each of you for your commitment to Westport and congratulate you on your election win.  This is not only an exciting day but one that is full of anticipation for the next 4 years.  

We have much to consider and decisions to take.  The Official Plan will be coming forward in 2023 and then the Zoning by-law will be reviewed.  Bill 23 will need to be understood and considered alongside Watercolour and other development.  A new Class C EA has been approved and a technical committee formed to assist the Engineer’s work.  After years of little or no inflation, we need to be looking for ways to face down 7% YTD.  Early signs from the province are not positive as one of our major grants, OMPF, has seen a reduction for 2023.

On a positive note, although COVID is still a threat – we are all finding ways to return to many of the activities that we enjoyed before March 2020.  We have a young Junior C team that is working hard and making us proud.  Community groups, such as FOTA, Westport Arts Council and Westport in Bloom continue to bring successful activities to the Village.  The Library, Museum and Harbour are integral parts of our village.  Our municipal staff are hard-working people who are dedicated and committed to the village and public service.  These are strong components that continue to make Westport a Timeless Lakeside Village.

I am humbled and honoured by the trust the voters placed in me and look forward to working with each of you.  I will continue to draw on my experience to bring clarity to issues. I have a strong moral compass and you can count on my integrity and honesty.  I am also fair, open-minded, and an accountable leader.  

Without a doubt, there were some differences on the issues among the candidates in the last few months.  Those debates and conversations were necessary, but it’s now time to come together.  I want to recognize Frank Huth and John Pringle who individually put forward their energy and collectively contributed to discussions that will make our village better.

The Austrian psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl stated.  “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

So tonight, we begin to lay the foundation of how we choose our responses to the stimuli, as a team of 5 people, elected by the voters of Westport and given the mandate to do the hard work of setting policy designed to deliver collective services to the community with limited financial resources.

Let’s consider a more collaborative government, which involves the government, community and businesses communicating with each other and working together to achieve more than any one sector could achieve on its own. Choosing this response requires listening, considering new and different ideas, high degrees of social responsibility and critical thinking.  Consider the growth we can achieve as a collective.  

Now, if you agree, this approach will take some time, thought and discussion.  Eight years ago we began down this path of getting input from the community with the establishment of Committees of Council. Some have had positive outcomes, however overall they have not been that effective – particularly for the community members who volunteered to be part of them.  I have given this a lot of thought and look forward to hearing from you and considering different ways of establishing a framework, that includes involvement by the community and businesses to achieve more collaborative solutions.

I would like to thank my family and friends, many of whom were part of my re-election team.  Your support, time and generosity are deeply appreciated.

For members of Council, the work begins next week … so take a few days to reflect on what you bring to the team for the next four years. And while you do, remember what Theodore Roosevelt says: “The only person who makes no mistake is the one who does nothing”.

Again, congratulations and I look forward to the next four years.

Council Training

All members of Westport Council 2022-2026 attended training in Brockville on Saturday, November 5. The five of us appreciate the efforts of staff at the United Counties of Leeds & Grenville for providing this opportunity to learn about the Municipal Act, Land Use Planning, Roles of Councillors and Staff and other important topics.

We are looking forward to the Inaugural Meeting on November 15 and the first Committee of the Whole on November 22. Both will be live-streamed on the Village of Westport Youtube channel.

Spring St Sidewalk – update

The concrete is scheduled to be poured this week. Thank you to everyone for your patience and understanding. The new sidewalk will be worth the wait.

The Village recognizes the support from the federal and provincial governments for the grant to complete the sidewalk. We appreciate that Westport continues to get its fair share of funding for crucial infrastructure from other orders of government.

Committed to community. Dedicated to progress.