Tag Archives: Dr Paula Stewart

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Region Moved to Yellow – Protect Level

MEDIA RELEASELeeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

December 11, 2020

Today the government of Ontario announced that the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark region will move from the Green–Prevent level to the Yellow – Protect level of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open COVID-19 Framework. The sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in LGL over the past two weeks means that the region meets the criteria for the Yellow – Protect level, with a weekly incidence rate between 10 and 24.9 cases per 100,000.

The move to the Yellow – Protect level means that strengthened public health measures will come into effect in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark on Monday, December 14, at 12:01 a.m. The additional measures include limited hours of operations for certain settings, limits on the hours for sale food and beverage establishments, limits on the number of individuals permitted in certain settings, and formalized Workplace Safety Plans for many businesses and organizations. Full details of the limitations and restrictions for the Yellow – Protect Level can be found on the Health Unit’s website: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/business-re-opening/framework/ .

Businesses in the affected sectors will be contacted directly; restaurants, fitness facilities and retail outlets are encouraged to check their email for important information from the Health Unit and contact protection@healthunit.org if they have questions.

“The move from Green-Prevent to the Yellow – Protect level in our region over the past two weeks highlights how quickly COVID-19 can spread when precautions aren’t in place,” comments Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. “Our staff are working diligently to follow-up and isolate all people with COVID-19 and their high risk contacts to prevent transmission in our community.  We are relying on the residents, businesses, services and workplaces in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark to follow precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 in their settings. It is in our hands to protect our communities, and prevent further restrictions at levels beyond yellow.”

Staying home and apart as much as we can is the most important thing we can do. Being safe and protecting yourself means you are protecting your family, friends and co-workers.

S – Self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Consider getting tested

M – Mask/face covering on properly when in enclosed public spaces and when physical distancing is a challenge outdoors.

A – Avoid touching your face.

R – Remain 2 metres/6 feet apart from people not part of your household – avoid play dates, and other close social contact. Social circles beyond the household are no long encouraged.

T – Twenty (20) seconds for regular hand hygiene. Cover your coughs and sneezes.

The Keeping Ontario Safe and Open COVID-19 Framework categorizes public health unit regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort.

For more information about COVID-19, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/business-re-opening/framework/  or call 1-800-660-5853.

MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS CLOSED UNTIL DECEMBER 21, 2020

The Community Emergency Control Group met this afternoon to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak in Westport. The meeting included a briefing from Dr Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for Leeds, Grenville & Lanark Health Unit.

This outbreak of COVID-19 requires measures to contain community spread and mitigate its impact on the community.  One of the strategies is to reduce opportunities for people to gather.  With this in mind, the CECG recommended that all municipal buildings in the Village be closed until December 21, 2020. I have issued an Emergency Order to that effect. The municipal buildings closed are Town Hall, library and community centre/arena.

Individuals also have an important job in containing the virus. Everyone needs to follow the basic public health measures including, continue to stay home when possible and wear a mask/face covering when out in public, practise physical distancing of 2 metres and wash your hands frequently.

Westport is a community of people related by kin and friendship who have worked together in the past to achieve our goals. There is no doubt that our common goal is clear – control the spread of the virus. We are stronger together – each of us performing our role to the best of our ability.  This is a point in time when we need to believe in our strengths, support each other and remember to be kind. 

COVID-19 Outbreak declared in St. Lawrence Lodge in Brockville

MEDIA RELEASE: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 26, 2020

The Health Unit is working with St. Lawrence Lodge in Brockville to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Infection control measures under the Long-Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.  The staff member is at home self-isolating and following the direction of public health and ministry requirements. 

St. Lawrence Lodge provided this statement: “At St. Lawrence Lodge, our primary focus is the health and safety of our residents and staff. Since the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, our management team has been monitoring the situation and updating our actions accordingly. Residents of long-term care homes have been identified as a vulnerable group and our focus has been on keeping our residents safe while providing high quality, resident-centered care.”

“Along with the increase in local cases of COVID-19, this outbreak serves as a reminder to the community to continue to be COVID-SMART,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, and to practice regular hand hygiene.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/. Information about local COVID-19 assessment centres is available by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

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covid-19 Outbreak declared in Chartwell Wedgewood Retirement Residence in Brockville

Media ReleaseLeeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 23, 2020

The Health Unit is working with Chartwell Wedgewood Retirement Residence to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One resident has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The resident has been isolated in their room and all infection management protocols are in place to prevent the spread of this, or any other infection to others. 

“We are working in close partnership with our local public health unit and medical director to ensure every possible step is taken to protect our residents and staff,” says Julianne Swindells, General Manager for Chartwell Wedgewood Retirement Residence. “We have been, and continue to, follow all public health and provincial directives to protect our residents and staff.  The health and safety of our residents and staff is our highest priority. ”

“Along with the increase in local cases of COVID-19, this outbreak serves as a reminder to the community to continue to be COVID-SMART,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, and to practice regular hand hygiene.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/. Information about local COVID-19 assessment centres is available by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

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October Public Health Municipal Update from dr paula stewart

In Leeds, Grenville and Lanark area,  one or two people each day are newly diagnosed with COVID-19. Household members have then become infected in some situations. Many of these people have become infected in other areas, including Ottawa. Given the current high levels of infection elsewhere in the province and in Canada, the public health message is to consider if it is necessary to travel outside our region, and to limit visits by family members and friends living in high risk areas, including college and university students.  If those visits do occur then ensure physical distancing is in place at all times, and use a mask/face covering when inside. Based on the experience in Ottawa, and elsewhere in the province, it is critical to avoid social gatherings with people outside our household to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection.

To date we have had  two schools where one or more people have tested positive for COVID-19. Excellent collaboration with parents, students, the school and the Board of Education led to a swift response which limited further spread in the school. Schools are working hard to provide a safe, healthy environment for students and staff.

Public Health has provided input into many public  events that are being developed by municipalities, businesses or other organizations. Going forward we would like to know about all public events so we can ensure that the organizers are adhering to all requirements in Regulation 364/20, including following Public Health Instruction.

The Health Unit will be using guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health to prepare resources for upcoming celebrations (including Halloween and Remembrance Day). The Halloween key messages are:

·         Virtual gatherings or events are safest

·         Outdoor gatherings or events are safer than indoors.

§  Consider fun and creative alternatives to trick or treating, like scavenger hunts and walks to look at neighbourhood decorations or having a themed dinner with household contacts.

§  If you choose to participate in trick or treating:

o   Only go out with members of your direct household

  • Wear a mask/face covering that fits properly – a costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering.
  • Stay 2 metres apart and don’t congregate or linger at doorsteps
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer
  • Consider creative ways to hand out treats so that children aren’t reaching into a bucket or bowl to grab treats

§  No matter how you choose to celebrate Halloween, the key is to be COVID-SMART. Resources  will be available on our Website shortly.  

The recent provincial restrictions to restaurants, gyms, the entertainment sector etc. in Ottawa and elsewhere may have a spillover effect in our communities. People from Ottawa may want to come to services in our area, and businesses may see the restriction in Ottawa as an opportunity to draw people to our area. It is critical that strong public health precautions be in place to reduce the risk, if this occurs.

The Mobile Community Paramedic Program for Lanark, and for Leeds, Grenville, has successfully provided local testing for COVID-19 in several communities. Thank you to the municipalities who facilitated the testing. We will be looking for indoor sites for mobile testing in colder weather. 

Recently, the amount of testing for COVID-19  being done in the province superseded the ability of the laboratory system.   The Ministry of Health has identified who can be tested for COVID-19. Asymptomatic people who don’t need to be tested as part of a provincial program or who have not been directed to be tested by public health will no longer be tested at an Assessment Centre or at a mobile testing site.  Appointments are now required for all tests.

The provincial government has now mandated face covering/mask use in businesses and organizations.  The Medical Officer of Health Instruction on Face Coverings/Mask Use in Enclosed Public Spaces will facilitate adherence to this new provincial direction. 

Subsection 4 in the Regulation 364/20:  the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensurethat any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area, unless the person:

·         performs work for the business or organization, and is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area or the employee or agent is within or behind a physical barrier.

·         Other Exceptions Included. https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/face-coverings-masks/

Paula Stewart MD, FRCPC

Medical Officer of Health

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health