Good afternoon Kanata North,
Today, the Provincial government declared a state of emergency. Effective Thursday, January 14 at 12:01 am, the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for essential work, or exercise close to home. The message is very clear: STAY HOME, STAY SAFE, SAVE LIVES.
Since the implementation of the provincewide shutdown, the latest modelling trends in key public health indicators have continued to worsen, forecasting an overwhelming of the health system unless drastic action is taken. Escalating case counts have led to increasing hospitalization rates and intensive care unit occupancy, which has resulted in cancellations of scheduled surgeries and procedures. Modelling from Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table suggests the province is headed toward 10,000 new cases per day by mid-February at the current rate of growth (3-5% per day).
Key Provincial findings include:
- Growth in cases has accelerated and is over 7% on the worst days.
- Almost 40% of long-term care homes have active COVID-19 outbreaks. Since January 1st 198 LTC residents and 2 LTC staff have died of COVID-19. Forecasts suggest more deaths in wave 2 in longterm care than in wave 1.
- COVID-19 ICU occupancy is now over 400 beds. Surgeries are being cancelled and the access to care deficit will continue to increase with real consequences for health.
- Mobility, and contacts between people have not decreased with the current restrictions. Survey data show that the majority of Ontarians are helping limit spread by following them. However, case numbers will not decline until more of the population follows their example.
- A new variant of concern of SARS-CoV-2 (B117) could drive much higher case counts, ICU occupancy and mortality if community transmission occurs. The doubling time for cases could drop by more than 2/3. This new variant is now in Ontario.
- Without significant reductions in contacts, the health system will be overwhelmed and mortality will exceed the first wave totals before a vaccine has time to take effect.
To further interrupt the deadly trend of transmission in Ontario communities, hospitals, and long-term care homes, the government will enact the following additional public health measures:
- Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. This is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely close to home.
- Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors.
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
- Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
What does this mean for our community? How will this affect local amenities?
This afternoon, following the provincial announcement, Mayor Jim Watson, Dr. Vera Etches, Councillor Keith Egli, Anthony Di Monte and Dan Chenier provided an update on Ottawa Public Health’s and the city’s response to the COVID–19 pandemic. The message is clear: Stay home to save lives! Leave your home for essential purposes only.
What types of outdoor exercise are allowed under the new restrictions? How does this impact community skating rinks, city amenities, sledding hills, cross-country ski clubs? The City of Ottawa is waiting for further guidance from the Province, which is expected tomorrow afternoon. I will provide these additional details as soon as they become available.
I know these latest announcements and restrictions are difficult to hear, but please do your part in reducing the spread of the virus. These last 7 days alone, we have seen 914 COVID-19 cases in Ottawa. We can and must do better to reduce the spread of the virus. Please continue to follow the provincial guidelines and Ottawa Public Health recommendations to help keep COVID-19 under control.
Stay home. Stay safe. Be COVIDWise.