I hope everyone is enjoying the nice weather we are having. This update provides a lot of new information regarding the COVID-19 situation. I’m happy with the progress we have made to date, and we are now starting to see the positive effects of physical distancing. While some progress has been made and we can expect more restrictions to be eased, it is more important than ever that we continue to follow the guidelines provided by health officials to continue to slow the spread of the virus. We must all continue to be diligent and follow the latest advice from the experts. By working together, we will get through this, Kanata North.
Kanata North Updates:
- Lately, I have been receiving questions about where people can purchase hand sanitizer. I wanted to share that Big Rig Brewery is now selling hand sanitizer online. I also saw some for sale at Sobeys on March Road on Monday. If you know of other stores selling hand sanitizer, please let me know and I will share with the community for their information.
- Public Health guidance on the wearing of face masks continues to grow. It is now recommended that anyone using public transit wear a mask. Additional guidance has been provided by Ottawa Public Health here. With many volunteers working hard sewing masks in our community, I am happy to provide residents needing masks with them. Please submit a request here and I will ensure a mask is delivered to you as long as supplies last.
- Please know that myself and my team are still working to help coordinate assistance for those in our community who need help with grocery shopping or errands. We have a small army of volunteers ready and willing to assist those who need help. Please reach out and I will be in touch with a volunteer to help.
- Today, I hosted a live discussion with Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Andrew Falconer, President & CEO of the Queensway Carleton Hospital, to discuss Ottawa’s response to COVID-19. It was great to hear the many different tactics being implemented around our city to combat the virus. Both doctors answered many questions and provided information about what we can do to stop the spread. If you missed the discussion, you can watch it on Facebook, Twitter, or my website.
City of Ottawa/Ottawa Public Health Updates:
The following are the latest updates from the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health (OPH):
- I am thrilled to share that residents will be permitted limited access to the city’s greenspaces. This does not include sports fields or equipment. It is important to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air, however, we must follow the regulations provided by the Provincial Emergency Order and Ottawa Public Health. Please be aware that all organized sporting activities and training, such as football, softball, ball hockey, soccer, ultimate frisbee, and basketball are prohibited as these do not allow for proper physical distancing. Examples of permitted activities for individuals in groups of up to five people or members from the same household include:
- Having a picnic with your family.
- Flying a kite.
- Sitting on a blanket, grass, or lawn chair.
- Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class.
- Letting young children run and burn off some energy.
- Local innovation could be the key to our economic recovery. Last month, I directed the city to investigate the feasibility of utilizing the Innovation Pilot Program to seek innovate projects to recover from the impact caused by COVID-19. Our city will face new challenges as restrictions ease up and more businesses are permitted to open. We are challenging the business community to send proposals for technology innovations that will accelerate Ottawa’s ability to get the workforce back to work and safely resume business operations. Proposals are now being accepted; you can submit yours here.
- Surveillance testing for all residents and staff in the 28 long-term care homes in Ottawa continues. Testing has occurred in 15 homes, with testing in all homes to be completed before May 15th. This surveillance has included testing of approximately 1,880 residents and 1,826 staff with results still pending from multiple homes.
The Ontario Government provided the following updates:
- To better support residents experiencing anxiety and depression through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government is expanding virtual mental health services. The government has committed to investing $12 million to mental health during COVID-19 to help mental health agencies hire and train more staff, purchase the necessary equipment and technology they need to help patients, and support the creation and enhancement of virtual and online supports for mental health services including:
- Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT): Clients can self-refer to programs through the various service providers listed and be guided through their client journey to find the appropriate supports they need. Online iCBT is supported by therapists and available in English and French.
- Supports for frontline health care workers: Online iCBT is available to frontline health care workers experiencing anxiety, burnout or post-traumatic stress disorder. Those requiring intensive levels of care could be referred to virtual face-to-face care, as well as weekly online peer discussion groups and access to confidential support from a clinician.
- Virtual mental health support services: These include BounceBack telephone coaching and workbooks, and Kids Help Phone for children and youth.
- A Mental Health and Addictions COVID-19 Response Table, led by the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence at Ontario Health, has been created to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on access to public mental health and addictions services. The Response Table is identifying concerns and implementing quick solutions, supporting virtual care strategies, sharing best practices, and connecting with other COVID-19 regional and provincial tables to ensure any issues impacting the province’s mental health and addictions system are quickly resolved.
- The Ontario government has expanded the list of essential businesses that can continue to work under the health and safety guidelines developed by the province. Retail stores with street access will be allowed to provide curbside pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores. The business owners should review the health and safety guidelines developed by the province and its health and safety association partners. The government will also permit more essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue.
- To help ramp up the production of disinfectants, the provincial government is providing Virox Technologies Inc. with $850,000 through the Ontario Together Fund. The manufacturer will double its production of its Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide products by installing a high-speed assembly line to produce 6,000 cases per day, which will help meet increased demand from the health care sector and general consumer market during the outbreak. The project will create 20 full- and part-time jobs and help retain 120 positions in Oakville.
These are the latest updates from the Canadian Government:
- Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an investment of more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors providing essential services to Canadians daily. He also announced that the government intends to propose an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector. The Government of Canada will provide targeted support to farmers, ranchers, agricultural producers, and food processors by:
- Creating a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to emerging pressures from COVID-19 so they can better supply Canadians with food during this period.
- Launching a national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants. This new federal funding will help beef and pork producers and processors adapt to a changing market, and help farmers and ranchers keep their animals longer before marketing.
- Announcing the intention to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste. The government will work with opposition parties to achieve the required legislative change.
- Launching a first-ever Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.
- Working with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent through AgriStability, a federal, provincial and territorial program that supports producers who face significant revenue declines. This change has already been enacted in some provinces.
- Working with provinces and territories to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector. This work with provincial and territorial partners would insure against lost production due to an insufficient workforce, should producers be unable to find enough labour to harvest.
Thank you for continuing to do your part. Please reach out if you need anything.