Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Updates on COVID-19 emergency
Thank you to our readers for the positive feedback. The Office of the Mayor and Council is pleased that you're finding the information we're providing helpful.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves daily it's often difficult to keep up-to-date with the changes, but our aim is to give you as much current, valuable and insightful information as possible.

Another way we're doing that is with my YourTV show, Oakville Matters. This show airs Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on YourTV and this week I'm joined by Ward One Town Councillor Beth Robertson and Ward Seven Town and Regional Councillor Pavan Parmar, answering some of Oakville residents' most asked questions.

Please reach out to me at mayor@oakville.ca should you ever have any questions or want me to connect you to help you need.
No place like home
Film.ca puts up a famous movie quote that fits today's spirit. Send me your movie quote that expresses our situation and we will feature yours in a future Mayor's news update.

Items in this update:
  • Outbreaks at long-term care facilities
  • Request for PPE supplies
  • Donations needed
  • Canadian shipment received yesterday
  • Ford Motor Company producing plastic face shields
  • Paramedic services and in-home visits for the vulnerable
  • Emergency child care
  • Transit schedule supports hospital staff
  • Advocacy letters sent to MPs and MPPs
  • Other financial assistance
  • Increase in Halton's coronavirus cases
  • Reporting changes will increase COVI case count tomorrow
  • Park and Town bench use
  • Tenant eviction information
  • Shared custody agreements during COVID-19 emergency
  • Research links air pollution to higher coronavirus death rates
  • Donating to food banks
  • Something completely different
  • Public appeal for information on unsolved murder
  • Easter Bunny is essential
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Outbreaks at Long-term Care Facilities
On April 3, Dr. Meghani notified Regional Council that Public Health had declared an outbreak at Post Inn Village after we were advised that an employee tested positive for COVID-19. On April 5, Dr. Meghani notified Regional Council that Public Health had declared an outbreak at Allendale Long-Term Care Home after an employee also tested positive for COVID-19.

Communications to residents, families and staff occurred over the weekend.
These outbreaks follow the previous weeks’ outbreaks at Georgetown’s Mountainview and Amica retirement residences.

Outbreak management procedures are in place at all of these homes and residents are being closely monitored for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Should symptoms arise, families will be contacted immediately.
We understand that this is a stressful time for the families of residents and we are dedicated to the health and well-being of all residents and staff.

Halton Region Public Health runs three accredited, non-profit long-term care homes: Allendale in Milton, Creek Way Village in Burlington and Post Inn Village in Oakville.

  • To provide a safe and secure environment for all residents, Halton Region long-term care homes currently restrict entry of non-essential visitors.

  • The Region follows all Ministry of Health directives for COVID-19 and is ensuring infection prevention best practices to reduce the risk of infection in our homes.

  • Halton Region’s long-term care homes take a number of other measures to protect residents and staff, such as:
  • enhanced cleaning and disinfecting;
  • active screening of anyone who enters the home (including staff, new admissions, etc.);
  • using personal protective equipment when necessary;
  • maintaining physical distancing (social distancing) between staff; and
  • ensuring proper hand hygiene.

• If a resident starts to show symptoms of COVID-19, he/she will be isolated immediately.

• Halton Region has also been communicating with families of residents and all staff members about the current COVID-19 situation.

Regional Personal Protective Equipment Supply – Request for Emergency Supplies
The declared outbreaks in two Regional long-term care homes this weekend has resulted in a greater need for Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”), including masks, gloves, face shields and gowns. PPE supplies are increasingly difficult to acquire and as such, the Region has submitted a request to the Ministry for emergency supplies, particularly masks, in accordance with the process established by the Province. 

The supply of PPE continues to be a very significant concern.

If you are able to donate PPE, please email OakvilleCommunityDrive@gmail.com
Caring for our Community Frontline Workers Fund

Whether you are a life-long resident of Oakville or new to our community, all of us share a deep appreciation for the courageous and dedicated frontline workers at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. While we stay at home, they bravely leave their families to care for critically ill patients during this pandemic.

Let us show our appreciation to our community hospital and its physicians and staff however we can. We see first-hand the exceptional care they provide every day. As they manage through the additional challenge presented by COVID-19, we know our demonstration of support will make a difference.

To meet their critical needs now, the hospital foundation has established the Caring for our Community Frontline Workers Fund . Your support will help our Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital health care providers who are working around the clock each day for you and your loved ones. Your donations will help fund the resources they need including essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and life-saving equipment for patients. They have always taken care of us. It’s our turn to take care of them.

All donations will be matched by a family.

Visit oakvillehospitalfoundation.com to make a sure online donation or contact Suzanne Hallsworth at shallsworth@haltonhealthcare.com
Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada received eight million surgical masks from China on Monday, and orders made directly by Nova Scotia and Quebec were on board.

She says Canada expects more deliveries from China in the days to come.
She says Canada has sourced more than 230 million surgical masks, and over 60 million have been delivered to date.

Canada has also ordered 113,000 litres of hand sanitizer, most of which is expected to be delivered this month.

Roughly 20,000 litres of hand sanitizer have been received in the last 24 hours and officials are expecting another 20,000 litres this week.
Ford converts Windsor Engine Plant to produce plastic face shields
The Ford Motor Company has retooled a portion of its Windsor Engine Plant and begun producing plastic protective face shields for healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shields will be donated for use in Ontario and the rest of the country, but the first shipments have already gone out locally.

Paramedic Services and in-home visits
for vulnerable residents

Community paramedics have been maintaining contact with vulnerable residents and facilitating in-home visits, as required.

As of today, a small number of community paramedics have been trained to undertake COVID-19 testing in-home. This service will be offered to vulnerable residents who do not have access to transportation to attend assessment centres. These visits will be coordinated with Halton Region Public Health and the local COVID-19 assessment centres.
Emergency Child Care
Emergency child care has been launched across Halton Region in three licensed child care centres. Emergency child care is also available through approved licensed home care agencies.

All selected operators worked closely with Halton Region Public Health to conform with the guidelines for emergency child care from the Ministry of Health. Public Health inspections took place at each site over the weekend and no issues were identified. 

You will recall that eligibility for emergency child care is defined by the Ministry of Education. A full list of eligible workers is  available on the provincial website
Oakville Transit Schedule to Support Hospital Staff
To assist with the needs of hospital employees, Oakville Transit are implementing modified service on their routes, summarized below. Timetable details are available as per the links below.

·        Monday to Friday – Routes 3, 4, 5, 14A and 24 will operate hourly service from approximately 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Most other routes will operate hourly service from approximately 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with some routes providing rush hour only service.

·        Saturday – Routes 3, 4, 5, 14A and 24 will operate hourly service from approximately 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Most other routes will operate hourly service from approximately 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

·        Sunday – Service will operate hourly service from approximately 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Advocacy letters sent to MPs and MPPs
Yesterday, my Oakville Economic Task Force sent letters to MPs Anita Anand and Pam Damoff, as well as MPPs Effie Triantafilopoulos and Stephen Crawford advocating for more immediate help for businesses.

While businesses have welcomed the measures announced by the Federal Government, pressing issues such as cash flow and rent relief is needed immediately. As such, the advocacy letters requested speeding up the processing of federal support measures to get funds into the hands of businesses.
Other financial assistance

Other financial assistance is being developed by senior levels of government that the Town, with its own severe revenue losses and statutory prohibition on debt financing, cannot duplicate. There are municipal, Provincial, and national levels, each playing its part in the emergency.
 
As well, the Provincial and national assistance to renters is meant to relieve landlords from having to carry tenants. A person or a business can defer taxes for up to three years before the Town could make any move on the property. This means landlords have what we can do for now to relieve immediate pressure and have a three year emergency runway as backup to the assistance to come from Ontario and Canada.
Increase in Halton's coronavirus cases
Fourteen new coronavirus cases reported today brings the total in Halton Region to 169. There are seven new reported cases in Oakville, six in Halton Hills, two in Milton, and one in Burlington.

There are 4,726 cases in Ontario.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says there are 17,063 COVID-19 cases across the country, 345 deaths, 346,000 people tested, with five per cent positive testing rate. There is one case in an Inuit community, which Tam says is very serious given heightened risk in those communities.
In today's briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced deals to put  another 30,000 ventilators into production in Canada , on top of the 10,500 announced earlier. Canada has about 5,000 ventilators now.

Trudeau says the government has acted to have companies build as many ventilators as they can, as quickly as they can to meet domestic needs, as well to supply countries that don’t have the capacity to build them.
COVID cases to increase tomorrow
As a result of further public health guidance from the Ministry and Public Health Ontario, all lab test results that were initially “presumptive positives” and required confirmatory testing, can now be reclassified as “lab-confirmed cases”. As such, you will see a larger increase in our published case count tomorrow - likely to more than 200 cases.

Additionally, the number of “probable” cases will be listed by age and municipality as per the new definition of probable cases by the Ministry of Health. This includes symptomatic close contacts of cases and returning travellers who have COVID-19 symptoms.
Park and Town bench use
In accordance with the Provincial Order, park benches are closed.
Use of park benches on streets such as in the downtown are not covered by the Provincial Order and people are welcome to use them however, physical distancing measures still apply.
Community gardens are closed until further notice in response to the Provincial Order.
Tenant eviction information
The Ontario government is committed to ensuring no Ontarian is forced to leave their home while the public health situation evolves. If a tenant has been locked out their unit or if they’re being threatened with eviction they should contact the  Rental Housing Enforcement Unit by calling 1-888-772-9277 .
  • Tenants who are able to pay their rent, must do so, to the best of their abilities But tenants cannot be forced to leave their homes if they can’t pay their rent.
  • We’re calling on landlords to be as flexible as possible when it comes to collecting rent at this time when many Ontarians are struggling and consider possible deferral of rent payment, or agree to other payment arrangements.
Shared Custody Arrangements during COVID-19 emergency
According to the Law Society of Ontario, unless the child and one parent is under quarantine or must self-isolate, court orders or agreements must continue to be followed. If a court order or agreement does not exist, it is expected that parents maintain the children’s routine as much as possible. This means a child can continue to see both parents if that is what would normally happen. Both public health and family law prioritize the best interests of the child. In troubling and disorienting times, children need access to the love, guidance, and emotional support of both parents. This guidance has been put forward in recent family court cases.

Small or temporary changes may be needed to agreements, for example if a court order states that parents will meet at a business that is closed in response to COVID-19, an alternative location would need to be agreed upon. Or, if one parent must self-isolate for 14 days. If a parent is concerned about the child’s safety due to behaviour or plans that do not follow COVID-19 recommendations, specific evidence or examples would be needed for consideration to stop access. According to the Law Society of Ontario, a court is likely to agree that it’s a good reason to stop access until self-isolation is completed. Contact your local court for more information.
Garden centres open as essential businesses
Many residents are wondering if garden centres will be open this spring. Depending on the retailer, garden centres can be open as an essential service. They fall under two items in the list under the Agriculture and Food category.

Call your local garden centre to ensure they have decided to open at this time.
New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates
According to a new study out of the United States, Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country.


Please note: registration to the NYT is free and provides access to many coronavirus articles.

And now for something completely different
Enhanced unemployment benefits and aid to small businesses do get at the heart of the current problem. So that’s what serious economists are recommending, says 2008 Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman.

Public Appeal for Information About Unsolved Homicide - Reward Offered
On the evening of Saturday April 21, 1984, the body of 33-year-old Corporal William McINTYRE was located inside his apartment at 1300 Marlborough Court in the Town of Oakville.

In early 2020, a Joint Force Homicide Team was formed to continue the investigation, involving members of the Halton Regional Police Service and the OPP. Investigators are hopeful that the reward (as described below) will encourage witnesses to come forward with information that will generate new leads.

On behalf of the Halton Police Board and the Province of Ontario, a reward totaling $100,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this murder. The $100,000 reward is payable in Canadian funds and expires in one year (from date of release) and shall be apportioned as deemed just by the Halton Police Board and the Solicitor General for the Province of Ontario and the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, Thomas Carrique.
Any person with information in this case is asked to contact the Halton Regional Police – McIntyre Homicide Team at 905-825-4777 ext. 8969 / Homicide Tip Line 905-825-4776.
Easter Bunny is essential
Today I confirmed that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy will continue their essential work in Oakville until further notice!

Let's all make sure to check in on friends, family and neighbours by phone or social media this upcoming Easter weekend.
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.