Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Updates on COVID-19 emergency
With the state of emergency in the province extended for two more weeks and the announcement of public school closures until May, now is the time to follow Dr. Theresa Tam's advice to "double down" on physical distancing.

In a correction to messaging sent yesterday, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer says now is not the time to relax physical distancing and self-isolation measures.

These measures must be practiced whenever we leave our houses, but are told we should only do so for essential reasons, including:
  • For medical appointments
  • Grocery shopping
  • Picking up medications
  • Walking pets
  • Helping the vulnerable

Walking while avoiding crowds and maintaining social distancing is allowed, but please be respectful of others while you're out.

It is also strongly recommended that anyone with a compromised immune system, underlying medical conditions or over age 70 begin self-isolating now and stay home to avoid increased risk of COVID-19. 

The life you save may be your own - or someone you love or need. Go home and stay there so you don’t spread the virus. You can have the virus and not show it or know it.

Your Town Staff, Council and I are committed to ensuring we provide every support necessary to our community, our staff, and our regional public health officials during this very challenging time

As always, ask for help if you need it. Email me at mayor@oakville.ca – I will guide you to help.



Items in this update:

  • Publicly funded schools closed until May
  • Vital equipment expected to arrive this week
  • Increase in Halton CIVID-19 cases explained
  • MP Pam Damoff to host Tele-Town Hall
  • Outdoor recreational facilities still closed
  • Ontario increasing health and safety measures to protect frontline nurses
  • Grocery delivery services available
  • What having COVID-19 looks and feels like for patients
  • Opinion: U.S. not winning the fight
  • Safe walking tip
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Publically funded schools closed until May
Today, Premier Doug Ford said the next two weeks are critical.

As such, the provincial government has extended the order to close schools until at least May 1 for teachers and May 4 for students. Private schools and child care centres are also closed for two more weeks. The government is prepared to extend these closures further if they have to.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce discussed plans to introduce phase two of the Province’s Learn at Home programming that will keep students and staff safe while continuing to learn. This second phase will restore the teacher-student relationship, enhance student support and offer support for parents.

Minister Lecce recognizes the difficulty of this task and that it’s not ideal, but noted that students on track to graduation will be prioritized and students of all grade levels will be graded on the work, based on student access to technology to complete the work.
The Minister also noted that mental health services would be made available to students during this time.

Meanwhile, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Ross Romano confirmed a six-month suspension on student loan payments and that there will be no barriers to accessing postsecondary education.

Vital equipment expected to arrive this week
Canada’s COVID-19 supplies procurement proceeds on the basis of PHAC requests, Minister of Procurement and Government Services, Oakville MP Anita Anand, advised us today.

“In terms of health workers, we are working closely with provincial and territorial government, which are in turn working closely with healthcare providers to assess needs and identify priority items. Requirements are evolving rapidly, and governments at all levels are working around the clock to coordinate in real time.

“In order to avoid potential delays in meeting requirements, my Ministry has started proactively buying above and beyond the provincial requests. I am also setting up an FPT ministerial procurement table to better streamline and coordinate procurement."

Such purchases include a contract with Medicom of Pointe Clair, Quebec of more than 157 million surgical masks. An order of more than 60 million N95 masks has also been made with delivery set for this week.

Minister Anand also noted that Public Services and Procurement Canada is working with Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience, which will provide COVID-19 rapid test kits.
“The made-in-Canada kits will enable the testing of many more Canadians over an above the millions of tests already ordered.”

A significant order of ventilators has been made through Toronto’s Thornhill Medical as part of the 1,570 ventilators ordered from companies in Canada, Europe, the United State and overseas. Minister Anand says Canada is “working to secure upwards of 4,000 additional ventilators and very possibly more.”

“Many of our shipments are coming in now. We are helping PHAC transmit supplies to the provinces that are urgently reporting shortages," advised Minister Anand, who admitted "there’s still much work to be done, and we are working day and night on it."

In addition to thanking Canada’s essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister Anand also thanked and Home Depot for generous donations of personal protective equipment.
Grim models project high U.S. toll in months-long crisis
Just in from the New York Times: President Trump warned of “a very, very painful two weeks” ahead as his medical experts predicted at least 100,000 American deaths, with as many as 240,000 from the coronavirus.

Increase in Halton COVID-19 cases explained
Halton saw a spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Region today, up to 59.

This increase of 23 cases is partly due to the transition of 14 cases formerly considered "probable" to "confirmed" status due to a change in testing requirements.

The province is reporting 1,966 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario; this number included those cases that have been reported as resolved or deceased. This represents an increase of 260 confirmed cases from the previous report.

7,708 cases have been reported in Canada with 89 deaths .

For the most up-to-date information please visit halton.ca/COVID19, ontario.ca and canada.gc.ca.
MP Pam Damoff to host Tele-Town Hall
On Thursday, April 2 at approximately 5:30 p.m. Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff will be hosting a tele-town hall meeting with residents to update residents on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and answer questions.

MP Damoff has assembled a panel including Member of Provincial Parliament, Effie Triantafilopoulos, Burlington Mayor, Marianne Meed Ward and me.

Residents can expect at call between 5:30 and 5:50 p.m. All you have to do is stay on the line to connect to the conversation. I hope you'll join us.

Outdoor recreational amenities still closed
Yesterday, the Premier announced new orders to close outdoor recreational amenities such as sports fields, playgrounds, basketball courts, picnic areas, park shelters, community and condo gardens, and others. The order builds on local municipal government action that Oakville had already taken and makes it consistent across Ontario.

Green spaces in parks, trails and ravines remain open for pass-through access, but visitors must continue to practice physical distancing. Enforcement of these closure orders can be carried out at the discretion of municipal by-law officers with fines from $750 for failure to comply or vandalizing, which includes removal of signage and closed tape. Town staff will be inspecting parks for damage, vandalism and gatherings daily.

In Toronto, Mayor John Tory expressed his disappointment in those who aren’t following the government guidelines for closures and gathering.

Read the full story:

Ontario increasing health and safety measures
to protect frontline nurses
The province, in collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and in consultation with the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), Ontario Health and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), is issuing a directive on health and safety standards for frontline nurses in hospitals in order to prevent exposure to and transmission of COVID-19. 

Measures include:
  • Precautions for interactions with suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19 patients, including relying on the clinical education and training that nurses receive to use their professional and clinical judgement;
  • Point-of-care risk assessments for every patient interaction to assess appropriate health and safety measures; and
  • Training on safe use of all personal protective equipment (PPE).


Grocery delivery services available
As we try to assist those vulnerable members of our community, families that are self-isolating after returning from travel and others, please try to remember to offer help where you can, including shopping for groceries for them when you're out for yourself.

If this isn't possible, there are a number of delivery options available. Please remember that demand for these services is high and as such, some planning is required.

What COVID-19 looks and feels like for patients
Construction health and safety line
The Province of Ontario has a health and safety line that construction workers who believe their job site is unsafe due to COVID-19 can call. The number is
1-877-202-0008
Opinion column: U.S. not winning the fight
New York Times opinion columnist David Leonhardt says the United State's slow and uneven response to the COVID-19 emergency has caused the curve to spike, rather than flatten.

Safe walking tip
When you're out for your walks and trying to maintain physical distance, one resident suggests that rather than zig-zagging across the road to avoid others, just walk parallel to and in the same direction as cars. This will avoid having to cross the road by simply keeping enough distance in front and behind you.
Safely support local

Find out which services are open and closed, which retailers are offering online shopping and what restaurants are open for takeout downtown.

Halton Community Services Directory

Visit this database of the social and community services available to residents of Halton Region,