Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Wednesday, April 22 COVID-19 emergency
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Under normal circumstances, this would be celebrated widely with gatherings, clean ups and events around the globe.

Here in Oakville, a group of local residents recently cleaned up an area of trails and the 14 Mile Creek bed from Colonel William to the end of the Pineridge peninsula. Over the course of a few days, the clean up group grew and in total collected nearly 50 bags of garbage as well as bikes, barbecues, chair, parts of swing sets and even tires which were disposed of at the Halton Waste Management Site.

All work was completed while practicing safe physical distancing and wearing necessary personal protective equipment and Town Council and I extend our thanks to this group for their initiative and safe practices.

Tonight, you can join the Halton Environmental Network for a screening of all of the organization's Amateur films on YouTube. Look for the link on twitter and Facebook , and be a part of a Netflix Party Screening of the Biggest Little Farm.

To see a timeline of where we are and what we've been through, scroll to end of this newsletter.

Items in this update:

  • Halton Mayors form Recovery Coordination Group
  • COVID case counts
  • Expanded institutional testing
  • New signs, same messages
  • Oakville physician supports local food relief efforts
  • Robotics team using ingenuity, resources to help the community
  • Supporting our hospital
  • GTHA municipalities to coordinate with Toronto on economic recovery
  • “It's not anywhere near over”
  • COVID-19 treatment being tested in Hamilton patients
  • Feds announce financial relief for students
  • Daily deaths from COVID-19 rank it among the top 3 killers in Canada
  • Non-medical masks or face coverings mandatory for air travel
  • Tracking every case in Canada
  • Why forecasting COVID-19 deaths in the US is critical
  • International COVID-19 tracker
  • The coronavirus-kidney link
  • Why some people get sicker than others
e-Newsletter sign up
Did you receive this email from someone? Please consider signing up so you never miss an update.


Oakville & Halton:
Halton Mayors form Recovery Coordination Group
Today, the Mayors of Halton’s municipalities joined together to form the Halton Mayors Recovery Coordination Group.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette, Milton Mayor Gord Krantz and I will  will coordinate and work together to prepare for a successful transition to a post-COVID-19 future and recovery period.

All four Mayors have made the commitment to keep each other apprised of decisions being considered in each respective municipality, share best practices, and coordinate when it comes to the recovery planning.

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we have stayed in constant contact as we responded to this crisis so it makes sense that we remain aligned as we plan for the post-COVID 19 recovery phase,” said Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.
 
“Some residents in Milton work in the other Halton municipalities and vice-versa; so one of our immediate challenges will be restarting our economies in a safe manner that protects public health across all four municipalities,” said Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz.
 
“We all have diverse expertise and experience that will inform this group’s collective action. There is also a lot of talent and know-how in all of our municipalities that we as mayors can draw upon during the recovery phase,” said Mayor Rick Bonnette.
 
I look forward to working with my fellow Mayoral colleagues. Whether it is on the CN Hub issue or the amalgamation question, we have found that we are stronger when we work together as a team."


COVID case counts
Total confirmed cases in Halton have increased by 8 from 386 cases yesterday to  394  with 2 more confirmed cases in Oakville, from 121 to  123 . Two more deaths have also been recorded in the region.

Halton institutional counts have increased by1 from 70 to 71 with nine deaths.

As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Toronto Star reported 13,163 confirmed or probable cases of the disease, including 715 deaths, an increase of 39 fatal cases from the same time Tuesday.

This is the slowest 24-hour rate of growth counted since the COVID-19 pandemic began, yet just two days ago Ontario was reporting the highest numbers of new cases since the pandemic began ( https://www.cp24.com/news/ontario-confirms-606-new-cases-of-covid-19-a-new-single-day-high-1.4903576)

And, the death rates continue to climb, up 58 fatal cases since Monday.

Chief Public Health Officer Teresa Tam today said 38,422 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Canada with 1,834 deaths

The country’s medical officers of health are at work setting criteria that from a health perspective could provide guidance on when physical distancing restrictions can ease up and several provinces are now considering loosening their lockdowns.

Dr. Tam says criteria that might be included are the rate of hospitalizations, new cases being reported daily and how the virus appears to be reproducing. She says the special advisory committee on COVID-19 is actively at work on the details of that guidance now.


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

Expanded institutional testing
Ontario is  expanding COVID-19 testing to every resident and worker in the province’s long-term care homes , as nearly 450 residents have died amid growing outbreaks in the facilities.

As of today, there have been at least 448 deaths in long-term care in Ontario, amid outbreaks at 127 facilities.

This is just part of the larger COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes which has included such measures as:
  • Assisting 20 long-term care homes, which were previously experiencing outbreaks, to become now outbreak-free. 
  • Increasing testing on both symptomatic and asymptomatic staff and residents. To date, approximately 11,600 tests have been completed amongst residents in long-term care.
  • Conducting additional testing of asymptomatic residents and staff outside of the testing guidance at 21 long-term care homes, to help understand the spread of the virus.
  • Setting up a 24/7 Long-Term Care COVID-19 Response Team, which has already helped more than 30 homes by putting in place infection control protocols, resolving staffing issues, and fulfilling personal protective equipment needs.
  • Launching 31 Infection Prevention and Control interventions, which are currently in progress, with six assessments already completed. 
  • Continuing to identify critical 24-, 48-, and 72-hour help that homes ne ed by ma tching qualified people and volunteers who can help with duties, including nursing support and cleaning. 
  • Responding to every escalated request for personal protective equipment from long-term care homes within 24 hours through the following measures:
  • A four-step process is in place to ensure an optimized regional distribution and redistribution when supplies are urgently needed.
  • Critical supply needs are escalated for provincial action.
  • Daily distribution of supply from provincial warehouses to regional sites.
  • Daily monitoring of and reporting against performance target of 100 per cent of critical need requests being shipped within 24 hours.
  • Working with hospitals across the province to deploy additional staffing and infection prevention controls in long-term care homes:
  • In Toronto alone, five hospitals (Michael Garron Hospital, Women's College, North York General, Unity Health Toronto an d Mount Sinai Hospital) have been engaged to support approximately 40 long-term care homes in the city.
  • Other hospital partners and health partners have stepped up to help their local homes, including Trillium Health Partners, Halton Healthcare, Grand River, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, and the Ottawa Hospital.
  • More than 70 volunteers, including registered nurses, social workers, administration and medical doctors, have been recruited from the University Health Network to assist long-term care homes in the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Providing over 400 job matches for long-term care homes through the province's Health Workforce Matching Portal, with over half of Ontario's long-term care homes now using the portal.

New signs, same messages
You’ll notice new signage around town this week with reminders about physical distancing rules, not to linger in groups more than five, keeping dogs on a two-metre leash, do not litter and clean up after pets.

These signs can be found a park entrances, recreation facilities and parking lots as well as some trails.

Of course, please remember the most important message: Stay home. Stop the spread. Save lives.
Oakville physician supports local food relief efforts
An Oakville family physician has made a $200,000 donation through the Oakville Community Foundation in support of local food relief efforts and she is hoping to inspire others to do the same.

The doctor, who wishes to remain anonymous, chose o work with the Oakville Community Foundation to ensure the donations will go to food bank and food delivery programs across the community.

Robotics team using ingenuity, resources to help the community
After reading about the face shields the Oakville Community First Robotics Team - Orbit Robotics have been producing in yesterday's eNewsletter, the Fare Share Food Bank contacted the team for 10 shields to use at the Food Bank.
The team is also producing a small device to use with surgical masks. It’s a small band to go at
the back of the head so that users don’t have to put the elastics behind their
ears.
Supporting our hospital
Following this week's drive-by salute at OTMH, many people have asked how they can show their support. At this time the hospital said they are most grateful of everyone’s efforts to stay home. 

They also shared a photo of a heart from painted rocks that community members have left and said the middle could be filled by other community painted rocks. The heart is located on Volunteer Way on OTMH property.

And of course,  community support and donations are welcome and can be made through  COVID-19Donations@haltonhealthcare.com . https://www.haltonhealthcare.on.ca/covid-19-info/covid-19-community-support has information on the types of support and donations needed during this pandemic.  
Ontario:
GTHA municipalities to coordinate with Toronto on economic recovery
Toronto Mayor John Tory said Monday that Toronto will coordinate its economic recovery efforts with the other municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. 

Tory met Tuesday with the mayors and regional chairs of the GTHA to discuss their common goals as they look toward the region’s eventual economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Meanwhile, a survey of hundreds of small businesses in Toronto has found that nearly two-thirds of them may have to close down for good within three months as they struggle to keep up with rent and other bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It's not anywhere near over”
Markham Stouffville Hospital’s chief of medicine says he's 'terrified' people will stop physical distancing and hopes a look inside the ICU will give pause to those urging an end to physical distancing.

COVID-19 treatment being tested in Hamilton patients
Health Canada has approved the Anti-Coronavirus Therapies to Prevent Progression of COVID-19 Trial (ACT) led by the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) affiliated with Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University.

The trial will test a promising combination of two drugs — the antibiotic azithromycin taken with malaria medication chloroquine or a similar drug hydroxychloroquine.

Canada:
Feds announce financial relief for students
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today unveiled a $9 billion emergency program aimed at students. It includes a Canada Emergency Student Benefit worth at least $1250 a month from May to August.

The benefit can be accessed by those in post-secondary school now, headed to post secondary school in September or anyone who graduated after December 2019. The government is also creating 76,000 job placements for young people in sectors currently dealing with labour shortages.

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit will give students $1,250 a month from May to August, $1,750 if the student is supporting someone or living with a disability.

Daily deaths from COVID-19 rank it among the top 3 killers in Canada

Further to what I reported on Monday ( https://conta.cc/2Kom70A ), Toronto Star analysis has drawn the same conclusions, that given the current death rate of COVID-19 in Canada, it would rank as the third leading cause of death in Canada.

Non-medical masks or face coverings mandatory for air travel
Effective April 20, 2020, if you are departing or arriving at Canadian airports by air, you will need to show that you have a face covering or non-medical mask to cover your nose and mouth during travel. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to continue on your journey.

Tracking every case in Canada
International:
Why forecasting COVID-19 deaths in the US is critical
The Centre for Disease Control explains how forecasts of deaths will help inform public health decision-making by projecting the likely impact in coming weeks.

International COVID-19 tracker
This interactive tracker looks at rates of fear of contraction, wearing face masks in public and approval of government handling.

The coronavirus-kidney link
As doctors see coronavirus-kidney link, worry grows that the novel coronavirus has exposed another potential shortage in U.S. healthcare.


Amputations and blood clotting are also issues present with many COVID cases.

Why Some People Get Sicker Than Others
This in-depth report from The Atlantic’s James Hamblin looks at why coronavirus affects people differently, and why that might be more about the host than the virus.

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.
Coronavirus timeline