Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Wednesday, May 13 COVID-19 emergency
Over the course of the past week we've seen a move towards the "new normal". You've read many references to it in this eNewsletter and yesterday, Premier Ford hinted that more information will come tomorrow about the reopening of more businesses.

Today, CBC News obtained a draft news release that shows Premier Doug Ford is ready to announce on Thursday plans to allow the reopening of retail stores that are not in malls, as well as seasonal businesses, pet services, household cleaning and maintenance, and in-person health and counselling services. 

The release also announces "lifting essential workplace limits on construction" and allowing picnics in parks.  

But the draft does not indicate when these restrictions will be lifted. In fact, the version obtained by CBC reads: "Ontario will begin Stage 1 of reopening on [insert date]."

Ontarians who want to hold social gatherings larger than the current limit of five people will have to wait a little longer. The release says the government "will provide updates on easing restrictions on social cohorting in the coming days." It also says information on school programs, child care and summer learning will be provided next week.

As we await this announcement some outdoor spaces have reopened and the weather is getting nicer, but this morning at our Regional Council Meeting, Halton Region's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hamidah Meghani reminded us to:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Wash our hands
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Maintain physical distancing in the community

They seem like simple things to ask, but can quickly be forgotten as we fall into our old routines. Dr. Meghani says these items are important parts of our new normal and I encourage you all to adopt them as regular practices.

As we await the Province's announcement tomorrow of what restrictions may be lifted for the long weekend, let's not forget how far we've come in the COVID-19 pandemic and look ahead to the "new normal" by scrolling to the end of this email for the updated timeline.

Within this newsletter you'll find an assortment of information. Sometimes one item may seem contradictory of another. This tells me, and I hope you, too, that more information will be needed to sort them out. The result, I hope, is that you can see why sometimes we have to keep open to changing advice, as apparent contradictions sometimes get resolved by additional information.
Items in this update:

  • COVID case counts
  • Health Canada approves first test to detect antibodies for COVID-19
  • Province acknowledges potential link between COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory vasculitis
  • Comparing COVID to chronic illnesses
  • China may test all of Wuhan amid fears of virus comeback
  • The long road to recovery
  • Councillors answer FAQs on Oakville Matters
  • Why restrictions were implemented
  • Parking lot closures explained
  • New emergency order allows Ontario to control management of long-term care homes
  • Voluntary redeployment of education workers to fill staffing shortages
  • COVID-19 questions to ask before you let your kids visit their grandparents
  • Government of Canada announces additional Support for small- and medium-sized enterprises
  • Feds unveil new COVID-19 stream for provincial infrastructure program
  • Who is eligible for the Canadian government's new COVID-19 aid for seniors
  • Students now eligible for benefits
  • StatsCan says no excess deaths in Canada in early COVID-19 stages
  • What Canada can learn from other countries about lifting lockdown measures too soon
  • How prepared was Canada?
  • Novel coronavirus can live in water, but is it contagious?
  • COVID-19 ‘infodemic’ reaching Canadians through social media and apps, survey suggests
  • U.S. death toll predictions trend upwards
  • Britain tentatively eases restrictions
  • Brazil records deadliest day
  • Deadly second wave of Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 may hold clues for reopening today

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Oakville & Halton:
COVID case counts
Total confirmed cases in Halton have increased by 6 from 518 confirmed cases yesterday to 524 with 2 new confirmed cases in Oakville, from 178 to 180 . There is 1 reported recovery in Oakville, the total changed from 154 to 155

Ontario reported  329 additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday , br inging the province's total number since the outbreak began to more than 21,200. Nearly three-quarters, or some 15,845, of the cumulative cases are now resolved, according to the Ministry of Health.

Dr. David Williams said Ontario is on the seventh or eighth day of a downward trend, but the curve isn't falling as rapidly as he'd like.

In Canada overall, there were more than 71,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 10:40 a.m. Wednesday. More than 5,280 Canadians have died.
Visit for the U of T COVID-19 data aggregation map
Health Canada approves first test to detect antibodies for COVID-19
Health Canada has approved a test that can detect antibodies specific to COVID-19 in an individual’s blood, allowing Canadian labs to take a significant step forward in understanding immunity against the disease.

The test is the first of its kind to be approved in Canada and will help scientists determine whether a person was exposed to COVID-19 and, more importantly, whether or not they still have virus-fighting antibodies in their system.

The test, called the DiaSorin LIAISON, was approved Tuesday following “priority scientific review,” Health Canada said.
Province acknowledges potential link between COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory vasculitis
Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, issued the following statement about multisystem inflammatory vasculitis, which appears to be similar to Kawasaki Syndrome, in children and COVID-19:

"Recent reports in Canada and internationally indicate that there may be an increase in multisystem inflammatory vasculitis, a rare but serious multisystem inflammatory illness that impacts children who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

While the link between this inflammatory illness and COVID-19 is not confirmed at this time, we are taking immediate action to better monitor this emerging issue so that we can effectively respond to the illness and protect Ontario's children.

In consultation with Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, we are updating the case definition of COVID-19 to include multisystem inflammatory vasculitis as an atypical presentation in children. This will support clinicians in making clinical assessments of patients who may have symptoms, including some of the most vulnerable of patients, children.

Some of the symptoms associated with this illness include persistent fever, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as rash. Parents should contact their health care providers immediately if their children are having these symptoms.

Comparing COVID to chronic illnesses
In this video update, Dr. Andy Thompson compares COVID-19 to a chronic illness like diabetes to explain why it’s important to maintain social distancing practices and more.
China may test all of Wuhan amid fears of virus comeback
Authorities in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic first broke out, are planning to test all 11 million residents in the next 10 days, Chinese media reported.

The short order came after the discovery last weekend of a cluster of six infected people at a residential compound in the city, the first new cases in more than a month. China has moved quickly to snuff out new outbreaks wherever they pop up, even as it relaxes restrictions on the movement of people and reopens public attractions to limited numbers of visitors.

The long road to recovery
As doctors continue to figure out what recovery looks like for different patients, read the story of an Ontario man who spent 27 days in hospital, 16 on a ventilator, and is still recovering.
Deaths per million around the globe and close to home
Councillors answer FAQs on Oakville Matters
In this week’s edition of Oakville Matters I’m joined by Ward 2 and 3 Regional and Town Councillors Cathy Duddeck and Dave Gittings as we discuss some of Oakville’s frequently asked questions and the success Halton has had with flattening the COVID-19 curve.
Why restrictions were implemented
We’ve received many questions about the restrictions put in place in response to COVID-19. Restrictions have come from all levels of government and in the tiered system Oakville must follow the rules set by the higher levels of government.

The restrictions were all put in place to prevent overwhelming healthcare capacity while capacity was added. Having succeeded at both, there is beginning to be a shift to the new reality that capacity affords us. We must all continue to play our roles in physical distancing, not gathering in groups of more than five and staying within our own household units until the higher levels of government tell us otherwise, which they haven’t officially done yet.

The Declaration of Emergency has been extended through June 2 to give the provincial government the agility to pivot if people misuse the new loosened restrictions, such as slacking off on two-metre separation and hand washing and the province gets a resurgence of COVID cases that can’t be handled with the new healthcare capacity.

Parking lot closures explained
As Town facilities remain closed, so too do the parking lots attached to them. This is part of the provincial legislation, which has closed facilities. The lots remain part of the facility, which is why they were initially closed.

Parking lots at Oakville parks remain closed to prevent over crowing at these sites that have reopened. We are encouraging residents to only use greenspace within their neighbourhood, that they can walk or cycle to. Driving to space outside your neighbourhood could lead to crowding at these parks, preventing physical distancing.

New emergency order allows Ontario to control management of long-term care homes
A new emergency order allows the Ontario government to temporarily control the management of long-term care homes hardest hit by COVID-19.

Premier Doug Ford said in a news released issued Wednesday morning that the move will help ensure the spread of the virus in care homes is contained.

The order allows the province to step in if a facility has a high number of infections or deaths, or if it's facing a staffing shortage. The province said the appointed manager could be any person, including a corporation or hospital.

Voluntary redeployment of education workers to fill staffing shortages
The Ontario government is working together with the province's education sector to voluntarily place available employees in staffing roles needed at congregate care settings during the COVID-19 outbreak. This initiative is part of the government's ongoing efforts to redeploy broader public sector workers to areas where they are needed most, such as hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, women's shelters, and homes serving those with developmental disabilities.

A framework was developed and endorsed by the Ontario government, trustees' associations, and almost all of the provincial union representatives that will allow the temporary voluntary redeployment of education sector employees, while ensuring they maintain their employment status with their school boards.

Starting later this week, subject to a local agreement of the framework, eligible education sector staff who volunteer will be able to register through an online portal and to be matched with congregate settings that are facing staffing shortages. Positions available may include custodial, maintenance, food preparation, children and youth service workers, social workers, and educational assistants. Training and appropriate safety equipment will be provided to redeployed staff. Volunteers who are redeployed will be eligible for Ontario's temporary pandemic premium and emergency child care.
COVID-19 questions to ask before you let your kids visit their grandparents
Two experts consulted by the Toronto Star on Monday said there are a few key questions parents should ask themselves before piling in the car to go see the grandparents.

Government of Canada announces additional Support for small- and medium-sized enterprises
Today, the Government of Canada released details on additional measures to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who were unable to access existing Federal COVID-19 relief programs, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, or the Canada Emergency Business Account.

The new  Regional Relief and Recovery Fund  (RRRF) is being delivered by Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to help more businesses and organizations in sectors across the economy such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and local economies.

As the RDA for southern Ontario,  FedDev Ontario  will work with key partners, such as the Community Futures Development Corporations, across the region to help southern Ontario businesses during these difficult times.

A total of $252.4 million will be available for southern Ontario businesses :
  • $213 million for SMEs facing financial pressure; and
  • $39.4 million to provide rural businesses with access to capital and business support, delivered by southern Ontario’s Community Futures Development Corporations.
Eligible applicants must:
  • Be a Canadian or provincially incorporated business, co-operative or an Indigenous-owned business located in southern Ontario with 1 to 499 full-time equivalent employees;
  • Be facing funding pressures with fixed operating costs as a result of COVID-19;
  • Have been a viable business before the COVID-19 pandemic and plan to continue to operate their business or resume operations;
  • Have already applied to other Government of Canada emergency credit relief measures for which they are eligible, as outlined in the program guidelines.

Priority may be given to SMEs in the manufacturing, technology, tourism and other sectors key to the region, that are major employers in small communities or that support the government’s commitment to underrepresented groups.

Feds unveil new COVID-19 stream for provincial infrastructure program
The federal government is preparing to spend more than $3 billion in infrastructure money on projects to make facilities more pandemic-resistant and encourage outdoor activities in the age of COVID-19, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna says.

McKenna told The Canadian Press in an interview Tuesday that while many of her cabinet colleagues have spent the last two months responding to the immediate crisis, her department has been doubling its effort to review and approve infrastructure projects submitted by provinces and territories for federal funding.

Hundreds of applications have been greenlit in recent weeks, though the specific announcements have yet to be made. 

*Note: You can sign up for free access to the Globe and Mail to read this and other articles

Who is eligible for the Canadian government's new COVID-19 aid for seniors
The newly introduced one-time, tax-free payment is available to the following people.

  • $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension
  • $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

Anyone who receives both the OAS pension and the GIS will be eligible for both payments for a total one-time payment of $500, according to the government. The payments will be applied automatically.

Students eligible for benefits
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that students and recent graduates who have seen their education and job prospects hampered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit as of Friday.

StatsCan says no excess deaths in Canada in early COVID-19 stages
As excess death figures are used around the world to suggest COVID-19 death tolls may be worse than official tallies show, the limited information available in Canada suggests that may not be the case here – or at least was not during the early days of the pandemic.
"Excess deaths" is the term used to describe the number of deaths recorded during a given time period above the number that would have been expected based on historical trends. In places including  New York City  and  the United Kingdom , these figures have been used to suggest that far more people have died from COVID-19 than are recorded in the official tally.

What Canada can learn from other countries about lifting lockdown measures too soon
As Canada moves to start easing lockdown measures, experts say there are key lessons we can learn from other countries to avoid risking a sudden spike in new COVID-19 cases.
Countries like South Korea and Germany lifted some restrictions and have faced setbacks — but also did some things right. 

What they've shown is that easing measures could result in new outbreaks and a return to restrictions if not handled correctly. Experts say effective testing, tracing and isolating of cases need to be put in place before reopening.

How prepared was Canada?
Last year, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer wrote a paper on how to plan for a major outbreak. It didn't imagine anything as menacing as this coronavirus.

Click the image for the full story
Novel coronavirus can live in water, but is it contagious?
While experts say the novel coronavirus can live in water for hours to days, the risk of actually picking it up from swimming is low. The real danger for infection is from people who will be flocking to those areas once they've reopened across the country.

"I'm not saying stay away from beaches, I'm saying stay away from crowds," said Colin Furness, a professor at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School for Public Health. "If the beach is crowded, stay away.

COVID-19 ‘infodemic’ reaching Canadians through social media and apps, survey suggests
Misinformation about the  COVID-19 pandemic  is reaching a majority of Canadians who use social media and popular apps, suggests an online survey by Ryerson University researchers.

U.S. death toll predictions trend upwards
In the U.S., a new prediction from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) at the University of Washington, one of the models used by the White House and state governments, revised its projection of deaths by Aug. 4 upward by 12,000. The projection under the current trajectory now estimates 147,000 American deaths by that date.

Leading U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned a Senate committee similarly on Tuesday.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told a U.S. Senate panel that states should follow health experts' recommendations to wait for signs, including a declining number of new infections, before reopening. U.S. President Donald Trump has been encouraging states to end a weeks-long shuttering of major components of their economies.

Britain tentatively eases restrictions
Britain tentatively began easing its coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday. Some people who cannot do their jobs at home were urged to return to work, as stark economic data showed the disastrous impact of the pandemic.

The worst-hit country in Europe, with more than 40,000 deaths from COVID-19 according to official data, Britain has been in an extensive lockdown since March 23.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that 144 people employed within the National Health Service and 131 social care workers have died.

As of Wednesday morning, Britons in manufacturing and certain other sectors were being asked to return to work if they could.

Brazil records deadliest day
Brazil on Tuesday recorded its deadliest day yet, and one of the deadliest days seen outside of the U.S. during this pandemic, with 881 confirmed deaths in 24 hours from the COVID-19.

Brazil's health ministry had confirmed 12,400 deaths overall from the virus as of Tuesday, but President Jair Bolsonaro has been one of the most insistent leaders in the world about the need to keep the economy going.

Deadly second wave of Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 may hold clues for reopening today
the lessons learned from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and the potential deadly consequences of removing physical distancing restrictions too quickly, experts say.

More than 100 years ago, the so-called Spanish flu was responsible for the deaths of at least 50 million people worldwide — 55,000 in Canada and 675,000 in the U.S., including many people between the ages of 20 and 40.

The virus also came in multiple waves, the second wave in the fall of 1918 considered the deadliest.

What's on at the OPL
The Virtual Adult Book Club meets every Wednesday at 6:30 pm. This week, they are discussing The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata .
Learn more about upcoming sessions

Monday, May 11 • 12 pm
Let’s Talk About ... Books, Movies and More: Fierce Women
This session, we're discussing our favourite books, movies, and podcasts that feature fierce women. These weekly virtual sessions explore different themes in arts, culture and literature.
Join us on Zoom (Meeting ID: 979 3115 3183) or call 1-647-558-0588. Details

Tuesdays & Thursdays • 10 am
Family Storytime on Instagram Live
Get moving with stories, songs and fun during Family Storytime! Hosted virtually on Instagram Live. Follow @oakvillelibrary on Instagram .

Tuesdays & Thursdays • 2 pm
Kids Library Club
Join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays as we explore fun activities in the fields of science, technology, art and more! Tuesday's session is all about Poetry and Thursday will be Hour of Code (wait list only). Limited spaces. Register

Wednesday, May 13 • 6:30 pm
Adult Book Club: The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata
Join us every Wednesday for our Virtual Adult Book Club!
Join us on Zoom (Meeting ID: 979 5422 2073) or call 1-647-558-0588. Details

Thursday, May 14 • 11 am
Let’s Talk About ... Books, Movies and More: Historical Fiction
This week, we'll discuss our favourite books, movies, podcasts, and more that relate to historical fiction! "Let's Talk About" are weekly, virtual sessions that explore different themes in arts, culture and literature.
Join us on Zoom (Meeting ID: 978 6552 4184) or call 1-647-558-0588. Details

Fridays and Saturdays • 10 am
Family Storytime on YouTube 
Follow OPL on YouTube and enjoy Family Storytime, both live and pre-recorded. On Fridays, we go Live at 10 am, and on Saturdays, we upload new, pre-recorded stories - both at 10 am, and by OPL staff. Remember to subscribe to our YouTube page so you don't miss out!

Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Staff Book Recommendations on YouTube
Listen to over 100 short book reviews from OPL staff, uploaded weekly on YouTube .

Virtual Tech Help
Book a virtual one-on-one session for basic technology assistance. Limited sessions. Register  

Note: Dates and times are subject to change without notice. Visit for up-to-date information.
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 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. 

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