Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Monday, May 11 COVID-19 emergency
As we launch into another week of battling COVID-19, we can do so with some hopeful news. Today, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams is a nticipating that if we continue to move in this positive direction we can begin to move towards recovery by the weekend. Recommendations will be released later this week on the use of non-medical masks in public

This week we can also celebrate the nurses who are battling the disease from the front lines as part of National Nurses Week. We thank them for their continuous efforts and hope they all stay safe.

Today also marks the start of Police Week, a celebration of the work our front-line police officers, 9-1-1 communicators, civilian staff, and all members of our police service do to keep our citizens safe and healthy, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As Chair of the Halton Regional Police Services Board I commend all these professionals for the work they do every day. This year, due to the pandemic, the HRPS will not be able to go out into the community and engage with citizens as they have traditionally done during Police Week. Instead, the celebration is going online. You're invited to reach out on social media and to thank our police officers and members for all they do to keep our communities safe, while practicing appropriate social distancing.

In addition to these two weeks of celebration we have much to be thankful for. Scroll to the end of this email and you'll see the updated timeline of how far we've come in the pandemic and where we're headed in the recovery. You'll also see some inspirational messages from a young Oakville resident who has been leaving them on sidewalks in the hopes of encouraging others.
Items in this update:

  • COVID case counts
  • Keys to fending off second wave
  • Wuhan, China reports new virus infections
  • Provincial Parks reopening today, Friday
  • How to shop and eat local
  • Stranded in the Philippines during COVID-19
  • Ontario makes plan to protect child care spaces
  • Ontario expected to extend state of emergency to June 2
  • Ontario’s Big City Mayors propose relief, recovery, and reform
  • Premier's fight against price gouging leads to 200 police investigations
  • Prime Minister announces additional support for businesses
  • Some Quebec students return to school
  • COVID-19 exposes drug supply gaps
  • Europe slowly begins re-opening
  • Saudi Arabia triples taxes, cuts $26B in costs amid pandemic
  • U.K. U-turns on masks as lockdown-easing steps spark confusion
  • New Mexico woman, 105, who beat 1918 flu, has COVID-19
  • How does a pandemic end?
  • Tips for dealing with COVID-19 anxiety
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Oakville & Halton:
COVID case counts
Total confirmed cases in Halton have decreased by 1 from 516 cases yesterday to 515 today. This is the result of out of the 2 pending cases yesterday, only 1 was confirmed positive. There are 0 new confirmed cases in Oakville, with confirmed cases at 176 . There were also 4 recoveries in Oakville from 150 to 154

*Please note this is a change from 172 confirmed cases in Oakville as of last Friday's eNewsletter update
Meanwhile, community transmission of COVID-19 is also down 2 per cent from 42 per cent in the last report to 40 per cent today.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 21,620 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 1,732 deaths.

Those totals both represent very small 24-hour increases relative to recent weeks. The 317 new cases since the same time Sunday, a 1.5 per cent jump, was the lowest daily increase since late March; the 23 new deaths reported over the same time was the least since mid-April.

However, the totals followed a sharp fall in the province’s testing rate and it was not immediately clear if weekend reporting delays had played a role in the apparent slowdown.

Ontario's top doctor says community spread is responsible for more than half of the province's new COVID-19 cases, something he says is "perplexing" given the weeks of stringent physical distancing measures in place.

Approximately 55 per cent of the new cases cannot be traced to a clear source, Dr. David Williams said at a news conference Friday afternoon. 

"It is still perplexing to me that we're not making major headway going down on that," Williams told reporters. "It makes me wonder if people are being less than consistent in their physical distancing, and if they were in close contact, if they were not wearing a facial covering in those few moments."

"You still have to do that or we're going to be in this plateau for quite a while."

69,156 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Canada with 4,906 deaths. More than 32,400 or 47% of cases have recovered.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will continue to push for caution in terms of lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

Trudeau says leaders across the country are trying to find the right balance in terms of easing back on the lockdown and reopening the economy.

But he says the sacrifices that Canadians have made over the past two months will “all go up in smoke” if the wrong choices are made.


Visit https://art-bd.shinyapps.io/covid19canada/ for the U of T COVID-19 data aggregation map
New coronavirus testing, contact tracing key to fending off second wave, experts say
Provinces hit hardest by COVID-19 have ramped up testing capacity as they plan to reopen their economies, but infectious disease experts say there will be recurring outbreaks without more robust testing, contact tracing and quarantine services across the country.

Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has said reopening schools and businesses relies on testing and the ability of public health departments to trace the contacts of positive cases. Physical distancing also remains critical since people who aren't experiencing symptoms can spread the disease.

Wuhan, China reports new virus infections
China reported a new cluster of coronavirus cases in Wuhan Monday after a month without fresh infections at the pandemic's global epicentre, as a northeastern city was placed under lockdown.

The cases added to fears China could be facing a new wave of infections, even as restrictions continued to ease in some other parts of the country.

Deaths per millions around the globe and close to home
How to shop and eat local
Starting today, more people will be returning to work across the province as the Ontario government allows retail stores with a street entrance to offer curbside pickup and delivery. Over the weekend, garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores began offering in-store purchasing. All retailers should follow available safety guidelines in order to protect staff, consumers and the general public during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Learn how you can shop and eat locally:




Stranded in the Philippines during COVID-19
In the Philippines since January, 25-year-old Oakville resident Ilke Geladi emerged from a biological expedition in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario
Provincial Parks reopening today, Friday
Starting today, the provincial government is re-opening some provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access. The remaining areas will be open on Friday, May 15.

Recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching while maintaining physical distance.

Access will be free until the end of the month.
Before planning your trip, please visit  www.ontarioparks.com/park-locator  to check the status of your local provincial park.

Bronte Creek Provincial Park is open as of today.

Ontario makes plan to protect child care spaces
The Ontario Government is protecting licensed child care in Ontario during the COVID-19 outbreak by ensuring parents retain access to local licensed child care, as well as EarlyON Child and Family Centres. The government unveiled a plan that, together with federal and municipal partnership, provides supports to licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to open when parents return to work. 
The plan is focused on protecting child care spaces for parents with a time-limited approach that includes: 
  • support for fixed operating costs for eligible child care and EarlyON Centres, while providers are prohibited from charging parent fees while the Emergency Order is in effect;
  • direct and rapid funding delivery through municipal service managers for centres that currently receive funding;
  • a straightforward application process for child care centres that do not currently receive provincial funding by allowing them to apply directly to the Ministry of Education;
  • direction that all child care centres will be required to maximize all available support under Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, including staffing costs retroactively to March 15, 2020, in addition to federal-provincial rental subsidy supports;
  • red tape reduction and cost savings by waiving all child care licensing applications, renewals and revision fees;
  • automatic extension of child care licenses set to expire during the emergency period; and
  • protecting existing base funding for licensed home child care agencies, and regular funding and wage enhancement grant funding for licensed home child care providers who have remained active during the emergency closure.

Ontario expected to extend state of emergency to June 2
Ontario’s legislature will sit Tuesday and is expected to extend the province’s state of emergency to June 2 and also holding question period again.

Ontario’s Big City Mayors propose relief, recovery, and reform to federal and provincial ministers
In a meeting held last week via teleconference, I along with other Big City Mayors, urged the governments of Ontario and Canada to continue to work in partnership with municipalities to address the economic impacts of COVID-19, and to plan for post-pandemic recovery and reform.

Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen, as well as Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, and Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney joined the teleconference to discuss how to move beyond emergency response measures and establish a consistent municipal approach to reopening the economy.

To meet this goal, LUMCO mayors have proposed a three-phased approach to enable cities to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, which includes:

  1. Relief: Immediate financial relief for municipalities facing fiscal pressure as a result of reduced revenues, with a focus on addressing the projected $415 million revenue loss from April to June in transit systems that serve LUMCO municipalities
  2. Recovery: A comprehensive recovery plan to address COVID-related impacts for municipalities as they work to reopen the economy, and
  3. Reform: A longer-term partnership agreement between municipalities and the federal and provincial governments to re-align capital and service delivery responsibilities with sustainable revenue streams for the future
Premier’s fight against price gouging leads to 200 police investigations
Premier Doug Ford’s crusade against  coronavirus  price gouging by retailers has led to about 200 law enforcement investigations across Ontario, newly available data shows.

At the same time, some 500 businesses have received warnings against selling “necessary goods for prices that grossly exceed” the usual cost of such items.

Canada:
Prime Minister announces additional support for businesses
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced new measures to support businesses so they can keep their workers on the payroll and weather this pandemic.

Millions of Canadians pay their bills and feed their families by working for large and medium-sized businesses. The government will offer support to those businesses affected by COVID-19 based on a number of conditions. To help protect Canadian middle class jobs, and safeguard our economy, the Government of Canada will :

  • Establish a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis. The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.
  • Use key guiding principles in providing support through the LEEFF, including:
  • Protection of taxpayers and workers: Companies seeking support must demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investment activities. Recipients will need to commit to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers’ pensions. The LEEFF program will require strict limits to dividends, share buy-backs, and executive pay. In considering a company’s eligibility to assistance under the LEEFF program, an assessment may be made of its employment, tax, and economic activity in Canada, as well as its international organizational structure and financing arrangements. The program will not be available to companies that have been convicted of tax evasion. In addition, recipient companies would be required to commit to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports consistent with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.
  • Fairness: To ensure support across the Canadian economy, the financing is intended to be applicable to all eligible sectors in a consistent manner.
  • Timeliness: To ensure timely support, the LEEFF program will apply a standard set of economic terms and conditions.
  • Expand the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million. Through the BCAP, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with private sector lenders to support access to capital for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions.
  • Continue to provide financing to businesses through Farm Credit Canada, the BDC, and EDC, including through the Canada Account. This will ensure the government is able to respond to a wide range of financing needs, including for some large employers facing higher risks, with stricter terms in order to adequately protect taxpayers.

Some Quebec students return to school
Quebec children have begun heading back to class today for the first time since March as the province reopens elementary schools and daycares outside the Montreal area.

Quebec is the first province to open schools following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and school officials say it will be far from business as usual.

Students are being met by staff wearing masks and in some cases face shields, and they are being told to follow physical-distancing rules and wash their hands frequently.

Libraries, gyms and cafeterias will be closed, and children will spend most of the day at their desks.

Attendance isn’t mandatory, and some school boards have indicated that most parents are keeping their children home for now.

Schools in the Montreal area, which continues to be hit hard by the novel coronavirus, will remain closed until at least May 25, while high schools and junior colleges won’t be back until the fall.

COVID-19 exposes drug supply gaps 
Worries about drug shortages have some scientists and health experts eyeing “out of the box thinking” that could help Canada reduce its reliance on foreign supplies of critical medication.

Read about how a “made in Canada” approach could solve this issue.

International
Europe slowly begins re-opening
Plastic spacing barriers and millions of masks appeared Monday on the streets of Europe’s newly reopened cities, as France and Belgium emerged from lockdowns, the Netherlands sent children back to school and Spain let people eat outdoors.

All faced the delicate balance of trying to restart their battered economies without causing a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Fears of infection spikes have been borne out over the past few days in Germany, where new clusters were linked to three slaughterhouses; in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus started; and in South Korea, where a single nightclub customer was linked to 85 new cases.

With Monday’s partial reopening, the French did not have to carry forms allowing them to leave their homes. Crowds formed at some metro stations in Paris, one of France’s viral hot spots, but the city’s notorious traffic jams were absent and only about half the stores on the Champs-Elysees were open.
Saudi Arabia triples taxes, cuts $26B in costs amid pandemic
Saudi Arabia is tripling taxes on basic goods, raising them to 15 per cent and cutting spending on major projects by some $26 billion as the country suffers economic blows from the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.


U.K. U-turns on masks as lockdown-easing steps spark confusion
The British government performed an about-face on masks Monday, telling people to cover their mouth and nose in shops, buses and subway trains. The change came as part of a plan to gradually lift a nationwide lockdown imposed seven weeks ago to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

New Mexico woman, 105, beat 1918 flu, has COVID-19
A 105-year-old New Mexico woman who beat back the 1918 flu that killed millions, including her mother and infant sister, is battling COVID-19.

Read the full story here

Or here
How does a pandemic end?
This New York Times article examines how pandemics have ended historically - both medically and socially - and looks at what the end of COVID-19 could be like.

Click the image to read
Tips
How to deal with COVID-19 anxiety
Dr. Roselyn Wilson, a psychiatrist at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton's Youth Wellness Centre, offers some tips to help young people cope with the stress and anxiety they face while on lockdown under COVID-19.

A little inspiration...
A 14-year-old resident has been leaving these inspirational messages around town.
ArtHouse in Transition: COVID-19
For more than 10 years ArtHouse has engaged hundreds of vulnerable young people with Neighbourhood Programs delivered at Subsidized Housing locations and Community Hubs throughout Halton. The Goal – to provide consistent, safe, free programming with strong role-model relationships. The work will always focus on the power of the arts, but often includes homework help, cooking, gardening and environmental education. ArtHouse may well be the child's only extra-curricular activity.

COVID-19 has dramatically affected the lives of the program’s families, including kids' access to school breakfast programs. And, no more ArtHouse after-school Programs.

ArtHouse adapted quickly to meet the impact of these sudden changes.

They initiated an emergency food program providing freshly prepared dinners thanks to three ArtHouse Restaurant friends along with Wellington Square Church in Burlington. 64 families (250 Individuals) have received a total of 600 Meals to date!

They have also implemented On-line ArtHouse You-tube and Interactive ZOOM Programs open to hundreds of our young people, thanks to creative Arts Instructors.

The focus will be on how, in their way they can support the Whole Child – physically, socially, emotionally, educationally and nutritionally.

The Appeal continues – it truly is a village! Please DONATE to help ArtHouse meet the growing demand for support.

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 operate

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakville Meals on Wheels continues to operate under increased safety measures. I f you know or are aware of someone who is struggling, call 211 and get help to navigate the network of health, community and social service programs. This service is offered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and has interpretation for over 150 languages. And, if you are able, please consider supporting the Meals on Wheels effort by making a donation.

Downtown Oakville Instagram live series
On Wednesday, May 6 Downtown Oakville will be launching a weekly Instagram Live Series hosted by different Downtown businesses. The live events will allow you to purchase products, participate in fitness classes, attend workshops, and more!

Follow @oakvilledowntown on Instagram to learn more and tune in. 

Schedule
May 13 at 7 p.m. - Hot Yoga and Pilates 
May 20 at 7 p.m. - Fred Astaire Dance Studio 
May 27 at 7 p.m. - Downtown Oakville Live Auction 
June 3 at 2 p.m. - Lakeshore Yoga 
June 10 at 1 p.m. - Makers Mojo 
June 17 at 2 p.m. - Must Boutique 
June 24 at 7 p.m. - Dr. Adrienne, Naturopathic Doctor 
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