Tag Archives: Westport

Hallowe’en – trick/treating on the council agenda for tuesday, october 20

As many of you are aware, Westport Council took the decision at its October 6 Council Meeting to cancel door to door trick/treating for this year due to the rising numbers of COVID-19. Prior to that meeting, unsuccessful attempts were made to learn of any guidelines from Chief Medical Officer Dr D Williams and the Ministry of Health.

Councillors had consulted with many residents prior to the October 6 meeting and it was a difficult, but unanimous decision.

On Tuesday, October 13, Dr P Stewart, MOH for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Health Unit provided some guidelines for trick/treating. As her guidelines have been taken into consideration throughout COVID-19, the matter will be on the Council agenda for Tuesday, October 20.

Since Council’s decision has already been taken, the Procedural By-law requires a two-stage process to debate it again. The first stage is called “reconsideration” – essentially this means that members of Council must agree by a majority vote to bring the matter back onto the table. If that motion carries, then the issue of door to door trick/treating will be discussed and voted on. The passing of the reconsideration motion is not an indication of how the motion on trick/treating will be decided.

I encourage you to contact a member of Council if you have any comments.

You can watch the Council meetings on live stream by clicking on the Village You Tube page at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-fs2y1g5jXLiioR0KdDgbA

For further information contact CAO Paul Snider  psnider@villageofwestport.ca 613-273-2191

or rjones@villageofwestport.ca 613-273-9195

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

Ontario Implementing Additional Public Health Measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region

NEWS RELEASE

October 9, 2020

Office of the Premier

TORONTO — In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, and local medical officers of health and other health experts, the Ontario government is introducing additional targeted public health measures in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions. These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Director of the Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation and the Dalla Lana Chair of Public Health Policy at the University of Toronto.

“The health experts presented the most recent health data which identified some alarming public health trends that require immediate attention and early action to keep people safe,” said Premier Ford. “That’s why we are making the difficult, but necessary decision to accept the health advice, and impose further restrictions in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region. By taking action ahead of the long weekend, we will help contain the spread in these hotspots, protect the surrounding communities, shield our seniors and most vulnerable, and contain the second wave surge. At the same time, we are providing support to our small businesses in these hotspots.”

“We are seeing the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 rising, hospitalization rates are growing, and community outbreaks are entering our nursing homes and vulnerable congregate settings,” said Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams. “We need to act quickly, and we need everyone to follow the public health guidelines if we are going to stop the spread and contain the second wave.”

Effective Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., these targeted measures are being implemented in Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto as a result of their higher than average rates of transmission. Measures under a modified Stage 2 include:

  • Reducing limits for all social gatherings and organized public events to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained. The two limits may not be combined for an indoor-outdoor event;
  • Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls;
  • Closing of:
    • Indoor gyms and fitness centres (i.e., exercise classes and weight and exercise rooms);
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
    • Indoor cinemas;
    • Performing arts centres and venues;
    • Spectator areas in racing venues;
    • Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.;
  • Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming);
  • Reducing the capacity limits for:
    • Tour and guide services to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
    • Real estate open houses to 10 people indoors, where physical distancing can be maintained.
    • In-person teaching and instruction (e.g. cooking class) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with exemptions for schools, child care centres, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc.
    • Meeting and event spaces to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, and
  • Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).

Schools, child care centres, and places of worship will remain open in these communities and must continue to follow the public health measures in place. Before-school and after-school programs will also be exempt from these new restrictions.

Given the extraordinary costs associated with these functions, wedding receptions scheduled for this weekend may proceed under existing public health rules. Effective Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., updated public health measures will apply to wedding receptions, including new gathering limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors at event spaces.

“The rising number of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks with increasing rates of hospitalization and ICU admissions is very concerning and putting our health system capacity at risk,” said Minister Elliott. “We need to halt this dangerous trend by tightening public health measures in Ottawa, Peel and Toronto in order to keep our schools open, protect our seniors and our loved ones in long-term care homes, and avoid the need for harsher measures in the future. This was not an easy decision but a necessary one to potentially preventing something much worse.”

In addition to the measures being implemented in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is also urging all Ontarians to:

  • Limit trips outside of home, except for essential purposes only such as work where it is not possible to work from home, school, grocery shopping, medical appointments, and outdoor healthy physical activity. In addition, travel to other regions in the province, especially from higher transmission to lower transmission areas, should only be for essential purposes;
  • Practise physical distancing of at least two metres with those outside your household;
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so; and
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly; and following gathering limits and rules.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts continue to closely monitor the evolving situation across the province to advise if and when public health measures or restrictions should be adjusted or tightened.

For additional protection, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.

As these necessary public health measures come at a cost to small businesses, Ontario has planned to and will make $300 million available to assist significantly affected businesses with fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.

“Since the outset of the pandemic the government has recognized that the health and safety of the people of Ontario must come first, while supporting workers and business-owners during this unprecedented global pandemic,” said Minister Phillips. “Ontario will build on the historic collaboration with the Government of Canada to ensure workers are protected, businesses are supported, and that this support arrives as soon as possible.”

This support will be provided by the province and will be made available in any region where these measures are necessary. More details will be released in the coming days.

This funding builds on the actions the government has taken to support small businesses throughout the pandemic, including putting in place a temporary moratorium on commercial evictions, making $60 million available for a $1,000 grant for small businesses to offset the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE), and exploring options to permanently allow restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order.


Quick Facts

  • The Ontario government has developed a $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, to ensure the province’s health care, long-term care and education systems are prepared for the immediate challenges of the fall, including a second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season.
  • With a recent increase in cases of COVID-19, it remains vital for the government to continue to protect vulnerable populations and for each Ontarian to follow public health advice.
  • As well, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) to October 22, 2020. Orders in effect under the ROA will allow the government to maintain the flexibility it needs to address the ongoing and emerging risks as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On July 24, 2020, the ROA came into force to ensure important measures remained in place after the provincial declared emergency came to an end. Under the ROA, orders can be extended for up to 30 days at a time. The government will continue to review all orders continued under the ROA and will report on order extensions to the Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight.

Ontario Implementing Additional Public Health and Testing Measures to Keep People Safe – Difficult, but Necessary Decisions to Prevent and Stop the Spread of COVID-19

NEWS RELEASE

Office of the Premier

October 2, 2020

TORONTO — In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health and public health experts, the Ontario government is tightening public health measures. At the same time, in response to the second wave of COVID-19 and in preparation for the cold winter months, the government is taking action to reduce testing turnaround times while prioritizing those who are at the greatest risk.

The announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Dirk Huyer, Coordinator of the Provincial Outbreak Response, and Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health.

“The modeling we released this week demonstrates the absolute necessity to take action now to reverse current trends and protect our hospital capacity,” said Premier Ford. “With the weather changing and more people moving indoors, the decision to introduce new restrictions on restaurants, gyms and other businesses was difficult. However, we will do whatever is necessary, acting on the advice of our public health experts, to turn the tide on this second wave and keep everyone safe.”

New Measures for Testing

The government is taking additional steps to respond to the second wave of COVID-19 and prevent and stop the spread of the virus, while safely keeping schools and businesses open. These include:

  • Transitioning to appointment-based testing at Ontario assessment centres beginning Tuesday, October 6, 2020, providing certainty to patients as to when they can receive a test during the cold winter months and allowing assessment centres to conduct enhanced screening to ensure adherence to the guidelines released on September 24, 2020;
  • Beginning on Sunday, October 4, 2020, assessment centres will discontinue walk-in testing services, so the province’s lab network can make significant progress in processing tests and to allow assessment centres the necessary time to reset, deep clean and ensure preparedness for the new appointment-based model;
  • Continuing mobile testing and pop-up testing centres to reach vulnerable populations and provide targeted testing for long-term care, congregate care, and other vulnerable populations;
  • Expanding the number of pharmacies where people with no symptoms within provincial testing guidance can get tested; and
  • Implementing updated testing guidance for children to help parents determine when it is most appropriate for students, children and their families to seek a test for COVID-19.

Ontario is also taking longer-term actions to increase the province’s test processing capacity so people can get their results faster, including:

  • Increasing testing and processing capacity to 50,000 tests per day by mid-October and 68,000 tests per day by mid-November; and
  • Introducing new testing methods once they are approved by Health Canada, including point of care testing and antigen testing.

New Public Health Measures

As the number of new cases continues to rise, the province is taking decisive action to prevent and stop the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdowns. These new restrictions were adopted through the amended order O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020). They include mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services.

Targeted measures will also be implemented in Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto as a result of their higher than average rates of transmission. These include:

  • Setting an indoor capacity limit to restrict occupancy at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) to the number of patrons who can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other patron, to a maximum of 100 patrons, permitting no more than six patrons per table, requiring operators to ensure patrons lining up or congregating outside of their establishment maintain physical distancing, and mandating that the name and contact information for each patron be collected;
  • Restricting group exercise classes at gyms and other fitness settings to 10 individuals, as well as restricting the total number of people allowed at these facilities to a maximum of 50; and
  • Setting a limit on the number of people allowed at meeting and event facilities, including banquet halls, to six people per table and 50 people per facility.

“With Ontario’s recent alarming growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, our government is taking further action to help stop the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdowns,” said Minister Elliott. “These are difficult, but necessary decisions that are being made to keep people safe, especially our seniors and vulnerable citizens. Everyone must follow the public health guidelines if we are going to stop the spread and contain the second wave.”

This amended order will come into effect on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

In addition, the government is:

  • Extending the pause on any further reopening of businesses, facilities, and organizations for an additional 28 days, unless already permitted to open under O. Reg 364/20;
  • Pausing social circles and advising that all Ontarians allow close contact only with people living in their own household and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household; and
  • Finalizing additional guidance for seniors (70 and over) on how to minimize their risk of acquiring COVID-19, including for upcoming annual gatherings such as Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts continue to closely monitor the evolving situation across the province to advise if and when public health measures or restrictions should be adjusted or tightened.

It remains critically important for everyone to continue following public health advice, including everyday actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as practising physical distancing with those outside your household; wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so; washing your hands frequently and thoroughly; and following gathering limits and rules.

For additional protection, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.


Quick Facts

  • All booked appointments at assessment centres that take appointments will continue as scheduled.
  • The Ontario government has developed a $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan,  Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, to ensure the province’s health care, long-term care and education systems are prepared for the immediate challenges of the fall, including a second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season.
  • With a recent increase in cases of COVID-19, it remains vital for the government to continue to protect vulnerable populations and for each Ontarian to follow public health advice.
  • As well, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) to October 22, 2020. Orders in effect under the ROA will allow the government to maintain the flexibility it needs to address the ongoing and emerging risks as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On July 24, 2020, the ROA came into force to ensure important measures remained in place after the provincial declared emergency came to an end. Under the ROA, orders can be extended for up to 30 days at a time. The government will continue to review all orders continued under the ROA and will report on order extensions to the Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight.