Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Thursday, April 23 COVID-19 emergency
It's fitting that Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is falling this year during the COVID-19 emergency.

During an average week, these technicians process more than 500,000 tests across the province, and even more are being added as testing for COVID-19 is added.

This Medical Laboratory Professionals Weeks is more important than ever to recognize the work our technicians do in the process of keeping us all safe.

Thanks to these hidden heroes for continuing your essential services.

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

Items in this update:

  • COVID case counts
  • The Toronto Star tracks COVID counts in long-term care homes and hospitals
  • Contact tracing critical to preventing COVID spread
  • More on signs, because you asked
  • Today in Town Council
  • Local PPE donations
  • Sheridan ranked top animation school in the world
  • Lakeshore Road construction continues
  • Waste reminder
  • Ontario extends emergency orders
  • Premier moving to open garden centres soon
  • Action plan increases protection for vulnerable, caregivers
  • Toronto's top doctor suggests second COVID wave is likely
  • Municipalities seek emergency funding
  • Universal testing in Toronto nursing home saving lives
  • Provincial Day of Action on Litter cleanups postponed
  • Feds commit $1.1B for COVID-19 vaccine, clinical trials, immunity research
  • Increased testing tops list to relax restrictions
  • Tracking every case in Canada
  • National study collecting data on aging adults’ experience during COVID-19
  • More than a third of Canada’s COVID-19 intensive-care admissions are people under 60
  • Top 25 COVID-19 deaths by country
  • Nearly all COVID-19 patients put on ventilators in New York's largest health system died, study finds
  • As states face a downturn worse than the Great Recession, McConnell suggests they consider bankruptcy
  • Masks support Halton Women's Place
  • Walking in the right direction
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Oakville & Halton:
COVID case counts
Total confirmed cases in Halton have increased by 16 from 394 cases yesterday to  410  with 5 more confirmed cases in Oakville, from 123 to  128 .

Ontario public health units are reporting 662 new cases (up 5.0 per cent) and 55 more deaths in the last 24 hours. The province now has 13,825 confirmed or probable cases and 770 deaths .

There have now been at least 516 deaths of residents at Ontario nursing homes from COVID-19, the Ministry of Long-Term Care reports. That’s up from 447 yesterday and about 70 per cent of the total in the province.

Premier Doug Ford’s 95-year-old mother-in-law, a resident of a Toronto long-term care home, has tested positive for COVID-19 according to the Toronto Star. Friends say that Karla Ford and her sister have been trying to sing to their elderly mother from outside her long-term care home window. The Premier said today 70,000 Ontario families are going through the same thing.

The situation in Quebec is what we're trying to avoid in Ontario with isolation measures. Quebec is reporting 109 new COVID-19 deaths today, bringing the total to 1,243. There are now a total of 21,838 positive cases in the province, including 873 reported over the last 24 hours.

Premier Francois Legault says a big concern is finding health-care personnel as 9,500 staff are off the job due to illness or other reasons. He's asking all workers who are not in quarantine and able to return to work to do so.

Visit for the U of T COVID-19 data aggregation map.

The Toronto Star tracks COVID counts in
long-term care homes and hospitals
Readers can now look up outbreaks and deaths in long-term care facilities, retirement homes, shelters and hospitals, and find this data on an interactive map that will be updated daily.

Contact tracing critical to preventing COVID spread
Since the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in China and in our community, Halton Region Public Health has been working around-the-clock to track the virus, assess health risk, conduct contact tracing and keep residents safe and informed.

When there is a confirmed case, Public Health follows up with the case and identifies all individuals who may have had close contact with case. Public Health then does a risk assessment of the exposures a case has had with their contacts.

When Public Health performs contact tracing, they speak with the person who has COVID-19; asking them where they’ve been and who they’ve interacted with. They then track these people down and call them. To protect the privacy of the individuals, they don’t share any identifying information.

Halton Region Public Health officials also explain the symptoms of COVID-19, assess their risk and provide guidance to minimize the risk of spreading infection. This can include: asking individuals to stay home for 14 days, monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, or seek further care as appropriate. They may even arrange testing if the individuals have symptoms and are at risk for severe illness.

A close contact is typically an individual who has cared for, had close physical contact with, or lived with someone who might have or does have COVID-19. Close contacts can be from anywhere — work, daycare, friends, parks, visits to retirement homes or hospitals, other medical facilities and more.
More on signs, because you asked
New signs being installed around town this week are not required for enforcement. However, because by-law officers are receiving so much push-back, town staff has decided that they should help remind people about what's closed, what's open for pass through only and what rules are in place regarding physical distancing and more.

The hope is the signs will encourage people to follow the rules.
Today in Town Council
Today, Oakville Town Council unanimously endorsed the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s (CUTA) request to the Government of Canada for emergency funding to provide immediate liquidity to transit operators and on-going funding to alleviate revenue loss as ridership rebuilds.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakville Transit was experiencing a six per cent increase in ridership through January and February and is now losing an average of $762,000 in farebox revenue every month.
CUTA is Canada’s largest public transport lobby, of which includes Oakville Transit, has called for $400 million a month to keep services running as fares and other revenue have dropped up to 100 per cent.
Council also voted to offer rent deferrals to Town residential and commercial tenants who lease space in open Town facilities as the tenant’s operations are restricted because of the Ministry of Health’s closure of non-essential services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For tenants in closed Town community centres and facilities that cannot access their premises because of the closure, Council has already approved waiving the rent that would be payable during the period of time that the facilities are closed.

Promation printing face shields

Promation  is 3D printing Medical Face Shields for front-line workers. The team of highly motivated design and manufacturing engineers redesigned the structural components and applied DFM principles to the process which has resulted in a design that allows each mask to be manufactured in significantly less time. By partnering with a local laser cutting company and a network of other colleagues who can ramp up production in their manufacturing facilities, Promation is facilitating production of 650 face shields per day.

Ford donates face masks

Ford Motor Company of Canada donated 80 N95 masks to Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and 2,900 pairs of Nitrile gloves to Brampton Civic Hospital. Ford Canada has retooled a portion of its Windsor Engine Plant to produce 100,000 plastic protective face shields to be donated to healthcare workers in Ontario and across Canada. Engineers from the Oakville plant are assisting other manufacturers of PPE in Canada and dedicated teams will continue to monitor the COVID-19 impact and explore new solutions.

Sheridan ranked top animation school in the world
According to 2020 rankings of the top international animation colleges in the world, Sheridan is number one.

Lakeshore Road construction continues
This week, work on Phase 1 Granite began. You will see the removal of temporary asphalt and, weather permitting, the installation of granite and grout.

Other work underway this week includes:

Allan to Reynolds
  • Silva Cell granular base and drainage, North side of Lakeshore
  • Street lighting duct work and footings, North side of Lakeshore
  • Wiring work in the Allan intersection continuing
Reynolds to Trafalgar
  • Catch basins at Trafalgar intersection

Within four to six weeks, you will see the installation of new sidewalks in the blocks running from Allan to Reynolds. Beginning on the south side of the block, we will being pouring concrete and installing granite, marking the completion of this portion of work.

And, if you’re noticing the new drains look rusty, there’s a reason why. It is called ductile iron uncoated. When the iron is initially exposed to moisture and air, it turns orange-brown in the first year of installation. Over time, the orange-brown colour will wear away. This process is long lasting, maintenance-free and environmentally-friendly.

Bag and tie all masks, gloves, hand towels
We continue to hear reports of residents failing to properly dispose of masks, gloves and even used paper hand towels. Some of these reports are from disposing in open receptacles, such as blue boxes, that the wind picks up. Please bag and tie all items so that waste collectors and your neighbours don’t have to pick up items that are a potential health hazard.

Ontario extends emergency orders
On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the  Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act  until May 6, 2020. This extension will help protect the health and well-being of people across the province and stop the spread of COVID-19.

This Emergency Order extension includes the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and limiting staff from working in more than one retirement home or long-term care home.

In his daily address, Premier Doug Ford says the government will move in the “next day or two” to ensure garden centres are allowed to open soon.
Action plan increases protection for vulnerable, caregivers
The COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People focuses on three specific areas:
  • Enhanced Screening and Reduced Exposure to Prevent Spread
  • Enhancing screening of visitors, staff, and residents on sites, as well as restricting non-essential visitors.
  • Providing masks to staff working in congregate care settings and providing training on the use of personal protective equipment in the event of an outbreak. 
  • Infection Control: Managing Outbreaks and Limiting Spread
  • Enhancing testing of symptomatic staff and clients to identify the need for isolation and additional infection control measures on-site.
  • Planning to limit staff from working at more than one congregate care setting during an outbreak, specifically in developmental services, intervenor services, violence against women and anti-human trafficking settings.
  • Providing additional training and support for high-risk settings dealing with an outbreak, including guidance on how to isolate clients.
  • Sustaining Staffing and Managing Staff Shortages
  • Working with organizations to promote workforce stability and capacity in high-risk settings.

Toronto's top doctor suggests second COVID wave is likely
Toronto health officials have released data slides showing how the city is progressing in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The slides, presented by Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, show the city will likely experience a second wave of COVID-19 because herd immunity to the disease has not been reached yet.

“We will continue to see COVID-19 spreading in our community until we start to experience herd immunity,” she said. “This will not happen until many people are infected with COVID-19 and recover and they build immunity that lasts or we develop a vaccine.”

Municipalities seek emergency funding
Municipalities nationwide are calling for emergency federal funding to continue supporting Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic. That call comes as an urgent written appeal today from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

FCM’s data shows municipalities facing a minimum of $10-15 billion in near-term, non-recoverable losses due to COVID-19. That figure includes foregone property taxes, utility charges and user fees—including an estimated $400 million each month from lost transit ridership alone. At the same time, municipalities are taking unprecedented steps to support public health and safety.

In March, the province provided an important $200 million  down payment  to help with added human services costs and to fund added emergency benefits through Ontario Works. The approach was much needed and notably flexible.

The province followed up in its March Fiscal and Economic Statement with authority to delay education tax remittances, and other measures, to support municipal cashflow. One of the most important messages at that time from the Minister of Finance was that it was just a “first step”, recognizing more would be needed. Finance Minister Phillips has repeated that message on a number of occasions.

Financial assistance from the federal and provincial government will be essential to the management of the current emergency and the recovery afterwards. Both Canada and Ontario have the fiscal capacity to backstop municipal operations through this crisis and to help underwrite the longer-term financial sustainability of Ontario’s diverse communities.

Universal testing in Toronto nursing home saving lives
A team of doctors and staff from Women’s College Hospital have swabbed nearly all residents and more than 100 staff at Kensington Gardens long-term-care home in downtown Toronto, with the rest to be completed in the coming days.

The results, while scary for families because of the jump in cases, have helped the home understand and control its outbreak. Among more than 25 new positives in residents and staff, the testing blitz found one resident who was then asymptomatic and who lived on a unit with no other known cases, so wasn’t under outbreak protocols — but now is.

John Yip, the CEO of Kensington Health, says the ability to test so widely with the hospital’s support is “saving lives.”

Of course, May 12, 2020 will continue to be the first official Day of Action on Litter. To mark this occasion this year, we will be focusing on raising awareness of the impacts of waste in the environment, and what actions each and every Ontarian can take to prevent, reduce and divert waste, right at home. 

Feds commit $1.1B for COVID-19 vaccine, clinical trials, immunity research
With increased testing and further understanding of the virus deemed necessary before reopening the Canadian economy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is spending an additional $1.1 billion for a national medical and research strategy to address COVID-19.

Increased testing tops list to relax restrictions
Canada could soon conduct 60,000 COVID-19 tests per day as provinces consider relaxing restrictions. The ability to test widely and quickly to detect any new outbreaks is at the top of the list of which metrics should guide provinces toward reopening.

Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan government has outlined a five-phase plan to reopen parts of the province’s economy during the COVID-19 crisis. Premier Scott Moe says restrictions will first be lifted starting May 4 for dentist offices, optometry clinics and physical therapy providers.

Golf courses are to reopen on May 15 and retail shops selling clothing, books, flowers and sporting goods might be allowed to open their doors on May 19. Hairdressers and barbers could also start seeing clients again on May 19, but employees working directly with the public would have to wear masks.

Tracking every case in Canada
National study collecting data on aging adults’ experience during COVID-19
A COVID-19 study is being conducted by the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), a national research platform on health and aging involving more than 50,000 participants across 10 provinces.

The collaborative research project, conducted in partnership with more than 10 institutions across the country, will examine the experiences of older adults during the coronavirus pandemic, exploring how they cope, the impacts on their physical and mental health, and changes to how they access health-care services.

For more information on the CLSA COVID-19 study, visit: .

More than a third of Canada’s COVID-19 intensive-care admissions are people under 60
More than one-third of people admitted to hospital and intensive-care units in Canada as a result of COVID-19 are under the age of 60, highlighting that younger people are susceptible to severe illness as a result of the disease.

The latest figures, provided in an epidemiological report published this week by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), underscore warnings from health care providers about the risks COVID-19 poses to people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, and a potential second wave of illness across the country.

Top 25 COVID-19 deaths by country
1.      USA    49,231
2.      Italy   25,549
3.      Spain 22.157
4.      France 21,856
5.      UK 18,738
6.      Belgium 6,490
7.      Iran 5,481
8.      Germany 5,404
9.      China 4,632
10. Netherlands 4,177
11. Brazil 2,940
12. Turkey 2,491
13. Canada 2,141
14. Sweden 2,021
15. Switzerland 1,549
16. Mexico 970
17. Portugal 820
18. Ireland 794
19. India 721
20. Indonesia 647
21. Peru 572
22. Ecuador 560
23. Romania 545
24. Austria 522
25. Philippines 462

*calculated as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, 2020

Nearly all COVID-19 patients put on ventilators in New York's largest health system died, study finds
Overall, about 20 per cent of COVID-19 patients treated at  Northwell Health  died, and 88 per cent of those  placed on ventilators  died, according to the study. 

As states face a downturn worse than the Great Recession, McConnell suggests they consider bankruptcy
During the Great Recession, tax collections fell so steeply that state and local governments furloughed and laid off police officers and cut aid to key services like health care, transportation and schools. Some cities turned off street lights to save on electricity, and Hawaii cut its school aid so much that it closed them down altogether on many Fridays.

The current downturn is shaping up to be worse, and bipartisan groups of governors and mayors from around the country have been pleading with Washington for aid to help them keep workers on their payrolls as they grapple with a growing public health and economic crisis.

But Congress did not provide money for state governments in the new $484 billion aid package that the House was expected to pass on Thursday, after Democrats failed to persuade Republicans to do so, setting up the next political battle over pandemic relief.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, made it clear that he was reluctant to give them federal aid, suggesting that some should consider bankruptcy. 

Around town
Non-medical face masks support Halton Women’s Place
Watch Us Women is selling non-medical face masks online with all proceeds going to Halton Women’s Place. Masks are $12 each plus tax with curbside pick up or free delivery. Order at:
Walking in the right direction
Ensuring physical distance while out for a walk can be tricky on most sidewalks, which aren't two-metres wide, let alone narrow ones.

I propose that we all start a custom of walking on sidewalks in the same direction the vehicles go on the road.
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

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

The Salvation Army Oakville: Donate online
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 – 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