Since March 11th my office has provided daily updates (now 67 of them!) to our community regarding COVID-19. This was done to ensure you had accurate and timely information regarding the measures being taken to combat this pandemic. In that time, I also launched a volunteer program where over 200 of you have raised your hand to help your neighbours, we have launched a #ShopLocal page to support local businesses, published resources to help our community get through this challenging time, and worked with tireless volunteers making and delivering masks to the most vulnerable in our community. None of this would have been possible without everyone in our community working together to help others.
Starting next week, due to the pace of new information coming in, I will continue to ensure that you have the most up to date and timely information at your fingertips, however this will likely not be required daily. I will be in touch as frequently as needed to ensure you have what you need to make informed decisions for you and your family. You are also always welcome to reach out anytime and follow me on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Kanata North Update:
- I know many of you have questions regarding the pandemic. On May 6, at 1 p.m. join me for a live COVID-19 discussion with Ottawa’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vera Etches and Queensway Carleton Hospital CEO & President, Dr. Andrew Falconer. You can post your questions live or submit them beforehand. I will be streaming this over Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you won’t want to miss this!
- Exciting news, Kanata North, starting Monday, work will begin to repave March Road from Carling Avenue to Shirley’s Brook Drive. I know the road conditions have been frustrating for our community and I am happy to see this project start. Given the light traffic, this is great timing for road work operations to begin. You can find more details about what you can expect here.
- Celebrate Mom this year in a unique way! Many local businesses are offering special services for Mother’s Day amid the pandemic. I have started a brief list here. Do you know a Kanata North business that should be added to the list? Email me as I will be updating the list with your suggestions.
City of Ottawa/Ottawa Public Health Update:
- Ottawa Public Health is looking to get your feedback and ideas on the current COVID-19 situation and the work they continue to make. I encourage you to submit your feedback here.
- OPH is now recommending that residents over 60 years of age experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, go for assessment. The full list of who is eligible for testing is available on the OPH website. You can get tested at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre or at a COVID-19 Care Clinic.
- Long Term Care Homes continue to be a focus for OPH. This weekend, paramedics will be out again working with OPH, Long Term Care Home’s staff, and the Ottawa Hospital to test more individuals at Long Term Care Centres. This will allow for greater surveillance and continued monitoring of these particularly vulnerable patients.
Here is the latest update from the Province:
- Today, the Ontario Government announced that certain businesses and workplaces will be allowed to reopen as long as the public health measures are followed. Yesterday, general recommendations were shared on how to safely open and operate businesses. The 60 guidelines provide sector-specific measures that will help employers prepare their workplaces, so they can be reopened safely and ensure workers, customers and the general public are protected.
- By following the proper health and safety guidelines, these businesses will be permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m.:
- Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only.
- Lawn care and landscaping.
- Additional essential construction projects that include:
- Shipping and logistics.
- Broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure.
- Any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services.
- Municipal projects.
- Colleges and universities.
- Childcare centres.
- Site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development.
- Automatic and self-serve car washes.
- Auto dealerships, open by appointment only.
- Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public.
- Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.
- To better support the needs of the hospitals and health care workers through the pandemic, the Ontario government has issued new temporary emergency order. The new temporary emergency orders issued today will:
- Give hospitals the authority and flexibility to quickly appoint grant privileges to medical and other professional staff, in order to address potential surge volumes due to COVID-19. This emergency order will allow for the reduction of administrative processes and better enable hospitals to focus operational resources on providing frontline services.
- Authorize coroners, registered nurses appointed as coroner investigators, and public health units to access the provincial electronic health record to help reduce demands on clinicians’ time related to death investigations, reduce exposure to COVID-19 related death investigations, and improve the ability to monitor the spread of the virus.
- Allow registered nurses appointed as coroner investigators to complete medical certificates of death instead of a physician or nurse practitioner, giving these medical professionals more time to focus on patient care and helping to ensure that medical certificates of death are being completed and sent to funeral directors in a timely manner.
As we go into the weekend here are answers to some of the questions I have heard from many of you:
Q: Where can I find the latest case numbers in Ottawa?
A: You can find the latest information on the COVID-19 numbers here. To date, there are 1,372 cases and tragically 76 deaths. Unfortunately, we are still seeing community spread, there are signs that this has slowed, but we must continue to do our part to slow this further.
Q: How long do we need to wait for test results?
A: It usually takes approximately 24 hours to a few days to receive tests results for COVID-19. Please continue to self-isolate while awaiting test results. The Ontario Government launched a new online portal to access COVID-19 test results. This portal will offer fast and secure access to test results on your computer and mobile device. You can find the tool by visiting Government of Ontario’s new user-friendly online portal.
Q: Can individuals that have been infected with COVID-19 get it again?
A: People who have recovered from COVID-19 infection have antibodies to fight future COVID-19 infections. People who recovered from SARS infection acquired in the 2003 epidemic (an infection caused by a very similar virus to COVID-19) had protective antibodies reported as long as 2 years after their first infection. One SARS survivor was found to have protective antibodies 17 years after infection. Hence, people who have been infected with COVID-19 will very likely be protected from reinfection with COVID-19 for months to 1 or 2 years, and perhaps longer – we will know more about this as time goes on, but this is a safe assumption.
Q: Where can I find more information about the Provincical guidance for business sectors?
A: You can find the latest information from the province for businesses here. Additionally, you can visit the OPH webpage about COVID-19 information for workplaces, which provides many recommendations.
Q: How should I handle waste at home?
A: During COVID-19, Ottawa’s Green Bin program is accepting plastic bags as a bagging option for organic waste. Used paper facial tissues should be placed in plastic bags and can go in the green bin as per regular waste disposal practices.
Residents should continue to practice proper hygiene when handling any waste by thoroughly cleaning their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Clean any surfaces that may have come in contact with waste products with a household disinfectant. You can use 20 mL of bleach with 1 litre of water (or 4 tsp of bleach with 4 cups of water) as an easy disinfectant.
City staff and contractors continue to use the precautions that are already in place to protect workers from the hazards of handling municipal waste. In addition, the city is taking steps to ensure a steady supply of personal protective equipment for front-line staff. Ottawa Public Health manages the disposal of hazardous waste and has protocols in place to ensure its safe handling.
Q: Where can I find the latest Federal updates on COVID-19?
A: You can find the latest updates from the Federal Government on their COVID-19 response here.
Q: Where can I find the latest Provincial updates on COVID-19?
A: You can find the latest update from the Province on their COVID-19 response here.
Q: What are some suggestions that OPH has for parents and those pregnant?
A: Being a parent and pregnant has its unique challenges during COVID-19. OPH has provided this helpful guide for you.
Q: How should I handle groceries at home?
A: COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus. Although there are still things we are learning about COVID-19, we do know that other coronaviruses do not survive very long on surfaces like cereal boxes or canned foods. Coronaviruses are usually spread through respiratory droplets (for example when someone coughs or sneezes). There is currently no evidence that people have become infected with COVID-19 through items bought at a grocery store. Still, it might be possible that the item you handled or bought was recently touched by someone who had COVID-19 on their unwashed hands. The best way to protect yourself is by washing your hands often with soap and water, including after handling your groceries. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running tap water is recommended as per normal when preparing foods. Always wash your hands with soap and water before washing fruits and veggies and between handling different kinds of foods. Visit Ottawa Public Health’s Keeping foods safe (clean, cook, chill, separate) for more information.
Q: When can we reopen our businesses?
A: The Provincial government has developed a framework and set of criteria that cities must follow to safely ease regulations and measures. OPH continues to assess these and work with the Province to ensure we do this transition safely and not jeopardize all the work we have done to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Q: What are some recommendations for staying active during COVID-19?
A: Staying active during COVID-19 is important for your overall health. OPH has developed this resource to provide guidance on safe ways to stay active during these challenging times.
Q: English is not my first language; do you have resources in other languages?
A: Yes, we do! You can find the latest OPH resources on a wide range of languages here.
Q: I need help during this pandemic to get groceries and other essentials, can you help?
A: Yes, we have over 200 volunteers ready to help. Please go to my website and submit your information and how we can best help.
Q: Are there resources available for mental health?
A: It is okay not to be okay. Please visit this website to find the latest information on mental health and resources available.
Thank you, Kanata North, for how you’ve come together to help our neighbours during this difficult time. Please remember that the best thing we can all do is to build on the progress we have made and continue to practice physical distancing.
Stay healthy, reach out anytime.