Tag Archives: Dr Paula Stewart

Update from Paula Stewart MD, FRCPC, Medical Officer of Health – Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

As you may be aware, Ottawa has had a significant rise in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 the past week.  Dr Paula Stewart regularly updates the Mayors in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.  In today’s email, Dr Stewart references the Ottawa concerns and with her permission, I share part of her email.

“We are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa where there has been  a resurgence in the number of people with COVID-19 since July 18. This is a major concern for our region as many Leeds, Grenville and Lanark  people visit Ottawa for shopping or recreation, health visits, and for connecting with family and friends. While all ages have been affected, the biggest group is the 20 to 39 year olds. Many are linked to large indoor social gatherings or parties, showing how quickly COVID-19 infection can spread among people with close contact.”

We must all continue to practice the public health regimen – frequent hand washing, physical distancing, wearing a face covering and staying home if you are not feeling well – that you have heard many times since March 15.  Ottawa this week and Kingston a few weeks ago are geographically close to us – places that many of us visit for speciality items, doctors and other necessities.  Please be careful and avoid community transmission of COVID-19.

 

Masks Mandatory inside enclosed public spaces as of Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 12:01am

Local health units announce regional approach to mandatory masks

July 6, 2020

Today Medical Officers of Health from Eastern Ontario Health Unit; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit; Renfrew County and District Health and Ottawa Public Health announced a regional approach to the use of face coverings/masks in enclosed public places within their respective jurisdictions.

Each public health unit will be issuing an Instruction under the province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act Stage 2 which states that the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall operate the business or organization in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting.

In Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, this Instruction will require businesses to adopt a policy to ensure facial coverings/masks are worn inside enclosed public spaces/settings that are openly accessible to the public. The Instruction comes into effect as of Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 12:01am and will be reviewed on September 30, 2020. The LGLDHU, to support implementation of this Instruction, will provide information and consultation to operators of enclosed indoor spaces. This directive is to be primarily used to educate people on facial covering/mask use in enclosed public spaces where 2-metre physical distancing cannot always be maintained.

As the province continues to reopen, there are increased opportunities for people to have close contact with others in enclosed public spaces. This could lead to an increased risk of potential spread of COVID-19, especially indoors or confined spaces where there is minimal airflow, higher concentrations of people, and an increased chance of sharing high-touch surfaces.

Evidence shows that wearing a mask or face covering, such as a bandana, scarf or cloth that covers the mouth and nose, can help contain the spread of COVID-19 when used in combination with staying home when ill, frequent handwashing and practicing physical distancing. Facial coverings/masks that cover your mouth, nose, and chin help to prevent respiratory droplets from your mouth and nose from reaching others or landing on surfaces.

“We have learned over the course of this pandemic that we have to get ahead of the COVID19 virus – it is very infections and can spread easily among people with close contact in enclosed spaces. Most people do not have immunity to COVID-19 and some people may experience no symptoms but still be able to spread the virus,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “We have been recommending the use of face coverings/masks in enclosed indoor spaces for many weeks. With the increase in opportunities for people to be indoors in public spaces with others, now this is the time to add facial covering/mask use to the existing requirements for operators of indoor public spaces. Each person wearing a facial covering/mask says I am protecting you. We all need to reciprocate this behaviour – it is social responsibility.”

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

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Update – Live music on Food Premises Operating Patios

For those who have questions regarding musicians performing in hospitality sector outdoor patios, I provide the following information.  The wording in the Regulation is as #1 below – No dancing or singing may be permitted in the outdoor dining area (patio).  

Earlier this week when I was made aware of this issue, I contacted Dr Paula Stewart, MOH for Leeds, Grenville & Lanark and requested if the Health Unit would consider providing guidelines so that singing could occur safely for the musician, staff and customers.  The next morning. I was pleased to hear from Dr Stewart that the below guidelines had been approved.

Westport needs to give a shout out to Dr Stewart and all of the staff at the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark Health Unit as this is another occasion when, on behalf of the residents of the Village, I have contacted her or one of her staff  for direction or a decision during the pandemic.   Their responses have been quick and thorough.  Thank you Paula and your staff!

Dancing and Singing 

  1. No dancing or singing may be permitted in the outdoor dining area (patio).
  2. Instrumental music is allowed in the dining area as long as the musician is at least 2m/6ft away from another person, and people other than the musician do not play the instrument.
  3. For singing musicians, they must be 12 ft away from the dining area or behind plexi-glass, and no other people can be in the same area as the musician.

Province Encourages “Social Circles”

MEDIA RELEASE:

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

June 12, 2020

The Province has announced that as of today, people of Ontario can expand their household “bubbles” and establish a “social circle” of no more than 10 people. These 10 people can come into close contact with each other without having to practice physical distancing measures. It’s a chance to reconnect with loved ones; something many of us have been craving.

“Social circles will support the mental health and well-being of people in our communities and help reduce social isolation,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “However, it is important that we make a contract to only be in close contact with those in our circle to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.” Restricting close contact to one circle of 10 people will help keep the number of contacts low in the event a member of the “circle” becomes infected with COVID-19. If anyone in the social circle develops COVID-19 all members of the social circle will be required to self-isolate and get tested.

To form a safe social circle these steps should be followed:

  • Start with the people you live with or who regularly come into your household. Large households may not be able to add additional people to their circle, as it would exceed ten people.
  • If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including another household, family members or friends.
  • Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle and no other one.
  • Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle.
  • Be true to your social circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.

Find out more from the Ontario website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/create-social-circle-during-covid-19?_ga=2.171083104.1307259032.1591985207-1302784084.1591985207

It is important to clarify that these “social circles” are different than social gatherings. Visits with non-circle people would be considered a social gathering and must use the same rules as before including being outside, keeping a physical distancing of at least 2m/6ft, staying home if sick, practicing good hand hygiene, covering your cough or sneeze, and cleaning & disinfecting commonly touched surfaces.

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

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MEDIA RELEASE – Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 11, 2020

Take-Out Food Safety during COVID-19

Many people are taking advantage of the decision by restaurants to offer take-out meals. Public Health Inspectors with the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit have worked with each restaurant to ensure they adhere to safe food handling practices. The Public Health Inspectors have also suggested ways to minimize the contact with the public as people pick up their food – keeping the duration of contact to a minimum, maintaining a distance of 6 feet, and washing hands or using hand sanitizer between exchanges of food with the public. People who pick up food should wash their hands before they eat the food.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “there is currently no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus and there are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 transmission through food. People are unlikely to be infected with the virus through food.” https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html?topic=tilelink

If an employee of a restaurant has lab confirmed COVID-19, then the Health Unit will follow up to assess whether the public was at risk from contact with this individual.

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30 to 4:30 every day at 1-800-660-5853 x2499. Public health inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns.  You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

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