Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Updates on COVID-19 emergency
More encouraging case numbers are being reported in our region today with just six new COVID-19 cases in Halton and just one in Oakville. Let's continue to do our parts in slowing the spread and saving lives.

The less encouraging numbers are those for the global economy. Many of our local businesses and residents have been negatively affected due to the pandemic. We are here to help. My Oakville Economic Task Force is diligently working to develop the necessary recovery plan as per the terms of Council's Emergency Management Plan and we'll be here for you throughout the recovery.

In the meantime, the Federal Government has announced new assistance today that should help many Oakville businesses.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to email me at mayor@oakville.ca. I'm here to help.
Items in this update:

  • Ottawa expands loans, rent relief for small businesses
  • Ontario expands hospital capacity for any COVID-19 scenario
  • COVID case counts
  • Nursing homes testing positive at double the rate
  • Outbreak at Ontario Correctional Institute
  • Outbreak over at Oakville seniors residence
  • Businessman learns first-hand how bad COVID-19 can be
  • Police warn of phishing scam
  • Electricity disconnection ban extended
  • Ontario Enables Auto Insurance Companies to Provide Driver Rebates During COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Guidance for High-Risk and Essential Workplaces 
  • HRPS newest recruits experience pandemic-style ceremony
  • WHO busts myths on alcohol consumption and COVID-19
  • Also launches chatbox function on FaceBook
  • One million N95 masks coming from China this week
  • Support for local businesses
  • Little Caesars to serve free slices for healthcare workers and first responders
  • VelocityEHS Launches Complimentary Resource Site to Help Employers Combat COVID-19
  • Downtown construction continues through COVID emergency
  • Do your garbage right!
  • Empty retail storage space makes room for more beds
  • Pandemic vaccine research speeds up
  • Federal health committee calls on WHO advisor to testify amid concerns over false Chinese data
  • Vaughan a COVID-19 hotspot, leading the way in fighting the virus
  • COVID-19 has world's major economies on track for worst quarterly decline in history
  • More than 20 million Americans have filed for unemployment
  • Amazon wants to test all employees
  • Covid cheer up song
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Ottawa expands loans, rent relief for small businesses
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is expanding a loan program for small businesses suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program program will seek to provide loans, including forgiveable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June.

The loan program will now be open to businesses that had payrolls last year between $20,000 and $1.5 million.

The Canada Emergency Business Account previously offered up to $40,000 in loans to business with payrolls between $50,000 and $1 million.

Trudeau also says a program is coming to help businesses cover rents for at least three months but the details still need to be worked out with the provinces and territories.

Acting on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health care professionals, the Ontario government has expanded hospital capacity in preparation for any COVID-19 outbreak scenario. The province has added 1,035 acute care beds and 1,492 critical care beds and taken steps to ensure hospitals have the staff available to care for a sudden surge in patients.

COVID case counts
Halton’s total cases have increased by 6 from 344 cases yesterday to 350 today with 1 more cases in Oakville from 114 to 115.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the health units were reporting 9,738 confirmed or probable cases of the disease, a jump of 470 cases or 5.1 per cent in 24 hours.

Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, says models are now predicting between 1,200 and 1,620 deaths from COVID-19 by April 21. Last week the projections expected between 500 and 700 deaths this week, and Canada today has confirmed 1,048 deaths.

Tam says the overall curve is “bending” when it comes to the number of new infections being confirmed in Canada but the death rate is higher than expected because such a high proportion of outbreaks are in long-term care centres.

Tam says more than 90 per cent of the patients confirmed to have died from COVID-19 are over the age of 60, and half of them lived in long term care centres.

Visit https://art-bd.shinyapps.io/covid19canada/ for the U of T COVID-19 data aggregation map.

Nursing homes testing positive at double the rate of the general population

The number of nursing home residents testing positive for COVID-19 has gone up 12 per cent in the last day, double the rate in the general population, according to statistics released Thursday by the Ontario government.

Another 99 nursing home residents have contracted the potentially deadly illness that is taking a heavy toll in several long-term care facilities, prompting Premier Doug Ford to target more resources to the sector he says has been hit like a “wildfire” by the virus.

At least 933 residents of nursing homes have tested positive to date, along with 530 staff, an increase of 77 in the government statistics based on reports from public health units as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Peel Public Health confirms outbreak at Ontario Correctional Institute

Peel Public Health has confirmed an “outbreak” at the Ontario Correctional Institute, which means there are two or more cases at the provincial jail in Brampton. Mayor Patrick Brown said Wednesday night that three staff members at the jail have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Outbreak over at Oakville seniors residence
With outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the country, we have a bit of good news here in Oakville. The outbreak at  Chartwell Waterford retirement residence in Oakville, is over, according to Halton Region.

Businessman learns first-hand how bad COVID-19 can be
He’s 63, got COVID-19 following a sailing trip to Florida. The virus dragged him to the brink and showed him its terrifying depths, and he wants the world to understand.

COVID-19 is a monster, he says. And his survival does nothing to inoculate him against his fear.

“This virus — it’s more terrifying to me than ever.”

Read Richard Reid’s story:
Police Warn of Phishing Scam
The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) would like to warn residents about a fraudulent email circulating the community.

Over the past week, the HRPS received more than 30 calls concerning the same email. In this email, a current or previous password used by the victim is provided as proof that the sender has access to the victim's computer. A demand is then made for bitcoin with the threat of an explicit video of the victim being released.  This is a phishing scam.  The fraudsters do not have access to your computer. The passwords were obtained from a previous data breach, likely of a legitimate business that had this information. 

The HRPS recommends people who receive the email delete it without replying. If you have fallen victim to this scam and provided money or bitcoin (and reside in the Halton region) you can contact our Fraud Intake Office at  905-465-8741.

Protect your computer
Watch out for urgent-looking messages that pop up while you're browsing online. Don't click on them or call the number they provide.

No legitimate company will call and claim your computer is infected with a virus.
Some websites, such as music, game, movie, and adult sites, may try to install viruses or malware without your knowledge. Watch out for emails with spelling and formatting errors, and be wary of clicking on any attachments or links. They may contain viruses or spyware.
Make sure you have anti-virus software installed and keep your operating system up to date.
For further information on this and other types of scams and how to protect yourself, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at  www.antifraudcentre.ca
Electricity disconnection ban extended
On March 19, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) extended the winter ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for residential customers to July 31, 2020. Low-volume, small business customers (those who pay time-of-use or tiered electricity prices) will now also be protected by the ban during this period.

There is currently a great deal of uncertainty as to the severity and duration of the current COVID-19 pandemic. There has already been a significant amount of disruption in the lives and livelihoods of residential and small business electricity customers in Ontario, and the OEB believes that the risk of loss of electricity service on account of arrears should not be an added source of uncertainty at this time.

A number of electricity distributors have taken additional steps to support their customers by waiving certain charges and making special payment arrangements during this difficult time. Contact or visit your distributors website for more information about programs it may have put in place.

Visit oeb.ca for the latest updates from the Ontario Energy Board on measures it’s taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ontario government is enabling auto insurance companies to provide temporary insurance premium rebates to drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The province has amended a regulation under the Insurance Act to help ease the financial pressure on working people and families during this public health crisis.

By amending this regulation insurance companies would be able to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the declared emergency has ended.

COVID-19 Guidance for High-Risk and Essential Workplaces 
To help high-risk occupations and essential services and industries work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has developed a series of pandemic guidance tip sheets and made them available for free on their website.

These pandemic (COVID-19) tip sheets offer guidance and good practices for specific occupations, industries and services, for both employers and workers. The sheets are intended to be used and customized by businesses and organizations to help protect workers from illness as well as prevent the spread of infection.

HRPS Newest Recruits
The Halton Regional Police Service family grew as the newest officers were welcomed during a unique pandemic-style ceremony.
World Health Organization: Busting myths on alcohol and COVID-19
 As part of its public health response to COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has worked with partners to develop a factsheet which provides important information about alcohol consumption and COVID-19. It addresses, among other things, the misinformation that is being spread through social media and other communication channels which have generated a dangerous myth that consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the COVID-19 virus. It does not.

WHO also launched a chatbox feature on FaceBook . n an effort to better inform the world about CODIV-19.

The F acebook Messenger version of the WHO Health Alert platform offers instant and accurate information about COVID-19– via Facebook’s global reach.

One million N95 masks coming from China this week
Public Procurement minister Anita Anand says 1.1 million more N95 respirator masks will arrive in Canada from China this week.

She says six flights from China have already arrived, and four more are coming this week.
Anand says already 17 million surgical masks and 800,000 N95 respirators have arrived.

Anand also said Irving Oil is the latest Canadian company that is shifting its business to help in the pandemic, adjusting some of its operations to produce hand sanitizer
Support for Oakville Businesses
Oakville's Economic Action Plan includes property tax relief, digital support for business, and a collaborative approach to economic recovery. Visit the Invest Oakville website for regular updates or to connect with the team for information and support.

Little Caesars to "pie it forward" with free slices for healthcare workers and first responders
Headquartered in Oakville, Little Caesars has set up a national fund to combine efforts with franchisees to give up to 250,000 pizza slices in their local communities.

Customers can join the effort by using the Little Caesars app to send a pizza to medical personnel, police, and firefighters in their local areas.
VelocityEHS Launches Complimentary Resource Site to Help Employers Combat COVID-19
VelocityEHS , the global leader in cloud-based environment, health, safety (EHS) and sustainability solutions, has released its free COVID-19 Resource Site to provide employers with the information necessary to keep their workforce safe and healthy from the global virus pandemic. The extensive repository contains articles, webinars and other helpful guides from VelocityEHS’ team of industrial hygiene, chemical management and ergonomics experts.
Downtown construction continues through COVID emergency
Downtown construction continue through the COVID-19 emergency. Last week the following projects were completed:
  • North side between Allan and Reynolds – excavation and curb removal for Silva Cell and installation of services
  • South side between Allan and Reynolds – sanitary and water services
  • Duct work at Trafalgar intersection for future traffic signals
  • Street light and traffic signal poles at Allan intersection
And currently:
  • North side between Allan and Reynolds – installation of sanitary and water services
  • South side between Allan and Reynolds – installation of Silva Cells, streetlight pole foundations and duct work for underground hydro
  • Allan Street intersection works

As a reminder, p icking up a take-out meal or curb side delivery is encouraged. While on-street practice physical distancing, try not to linger or cluster in groups. Only be around those who live in the same residence. 
Do your garbage right!
On garbage day, please ensure all your bags are securely closed and not put to the curb until the morning of collection. Animals can rip into the bags and the wind can blow your recycled items around, leaving a potentially unsafe mess for your neighbours to tidy up.
Empty retail storage space makes room for more beds
Smart Centres and Fengate are offering up space in their empty stores to hospitals to store unneeded items so they can open more space for beds. The old Target location in the South Oakville mall is one of the locations being used. It’s great to hear about these initiatives.
Pandemic vaccine research speeds up
With a whole globe to protect, vaccine trials aim to bypass red tape without sacrificing safety.
At least 70 research teams, including some in Canada, are racing to develop potential pandemic vaccines within a year — an accelerated pace in an unprecedented search for an end to humanity's lockdowns.

Vaughan is a COVID-19 hot spot. But it has also taken the lead in fighting the deadly virus
Vaughan has been particularly hard hit by the  COVID-19  outbreak, with a rate of 113 infections per 100,000 residents — one of the highest rates in the GTA.

But Vaughan council has been out-front in how it has dealt with the virus. It was one of the first to declare a state of emergency, shut down its parks, and now, move its Canada Day party online, in the hope that a preventative approach would slow the spread.

COVID-19 has world's major economies on track for worst quarterly decline in history
The flood of negative economic indicators caused by COVID-19 is set to reach epic proportions in the second quarter, with the world's major economies poised to see a decline unlike any before.

"I don't think there's any question that the second quarter of this year is going to show the worst numbers for all major economies in recorded history," said Brett House, deputy chief economist at Scotiabank Economics.

In the U.S., Morgan Stanley economists are predicting a 30.1 per cent drop in gross domestic product from April to June compared to last year.

The Bank of Canada says there could be a similar decline in GDP in this country, with economic activity 15 to 30 per cent lower in the second three months of the year compared to the end of 2019. But the bank also said there's no point in releasing a formal forecast for the second quarter.

More than 20 million Americans have filed for unemployment
Weekly jobless claims, the most timely data on the economy's health, are being closely watched for clues on the depth of the downturn, when the waves of layoffs may let up and when a recovery might start.


Amazon’s Bezos wants to test all employees
Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said the online retail giant is developing COVID-19 testing capabilities as a first step toward a system of regular checks on its employees globally.

In an annual letter to shareholders, the billionaire founder outlined other steps the e-commerce giant has taken to curb the coronavirus, from shutting down non-essential services like Amazon Books to overhauling processes at Whole Foods. The next step was regular testing for all staff — including those who showed no symptoms, he said.

Bezos said his company had assembled a team of scientists, managers and software engineers to build internal testing capacity, and hoped to build the first testing lab soon.
Covid cheer up song
My old Ottawa friend Dick ("The dream never dies") Cooper, performed a little Covid cheer up song. It was posted by my friend Mayor Jim Watson. We hope it would help cheers up the residents of Oakville.

Food Banks experiencing record demand
Oakville's food banks are in record-breaking demand. If you can donate anything, please do. Your help is needed.

Fareshare Food Bank Oakville: 905-847-3988 or email  oakvillefoodbank@gmail.com

Kerr Street Mission: 905-845-7485 or donate online at kerrstreet.com

The Salvation Army Oakville: Donate online https://salvationarmy.ca/
Oakville Meals on Wheels continues to deliver
Oakville's Meals on Wheels continues to offer services despite COVID-19. Thank you to the staff and volunteers for all they do. Please note the following measures that have been implemented to ensure everyone's safety.

  • Proactive screening of clients, volunteers and staff members
  • Reinforcing Government of Canada and Ontario protocols for clients, volunteers and staff members returning from affected countries
  • Continuing existing infection prevention and control measures
  • Ensuring volunteers and staff are informed and have access to appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Monitoring the situation daily.

Get your digital daffodil
For the first time ever, to support social distancing and ensure the safety of those we serve, the Canadian Cancer Society made the difficult decision to suspend all face-to-face fundraising activities in April and beyond.

Instead, they're offering 'digital daffodils'

  1. Donate and create a Digital Daffodil on cancer.ca/daffodil – a virtual badge to honour someone you care about to share on your social media channels.
  2. Share your reason for supporting CCS – post your daffodil on social media, or share with our community your connection to the cause, give encouragement to those in our community facing cancer during this difficult time, etc. Please tag us on Facebook at CCSBurlington, Twitter at CCSHaltonUnit and Instagram at CCSHalton.
  3. Encourage community members to participate in the CCS Digital Daffodil Campaign by doing the same.
Call the COVID-19 hotline
For the duration of the pandemic, if a member of the public wishes to report an incident of non-compliance with the emergency orders, they may contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722

It is critical that our residents use 911 for emergencies only.