Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Monday, May 4 COVID-19 emergency
Today marks the start of Mental Health Week and perhaps this year it is a week more relevant than ever. The lockdown we’re currently under is undoubtedly impacting the mental health of many. It’s difficult to not be able to get together physically with friends and family. We can’t enjoy our parks the way we’re used to and with gyms being closed, many people are missing their physical outlet that helps with their mental health.

Teens, and indeed children of all ages, are also being affected by this situation. For teens who are used to being social, hanging out with friends and even attending school together, this lockdown is undeniably difficult. It’s an issue we address in this edition of the newsletter, offering suggestions of how to connect with teens and deal with their disappointment.

I would like to remind you that The Canadian Mental Health Association - Halton Region Branch  is offering the following services:

  • Free Call-In Counselling: Call 289-291-5396 and you will be contacted by a counsellor within 24 hours, Monday to Friday.
  • Crisis Support: Call their 24/7 COAST Crisis Line at 1-877-825-9011.
  • Information and Referral: Call 905-315-8664 for information on mental health, addictions, and Halton community support services.
  • BounceBack: Free skill-building phone caching program to help manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress, or worry.

You may also find comfort in the timeline at the end of this email. It provides a detailed account of how far we've come during the COVID emergency and that recovery stages are on the way.

And finally, today I extend my gratitude to all Fire Fighters on International Fire Fighters day, with a special thank you to the Oakville Fire Department for all they do.

Items in this update:

  • COVID case counts
  • New online processes available
  • Community gardens to open this week
  • New library offerings
  • Have your say in Oakville's economic recovery
  • Advice for teens
  • FareShare Food Bank Oakville accepts generous donation
  • Inside Halton creates local COVID case map
  • Mask up to shop Longos
  • What went wrong with Ontario’s COVID testing
  • Provincial government announces increased testing
  • The immunity passport debate
  • Ontario colleges and universities prepare to go online for fall
  • New TTC notice to maintain physical distancing
  • Federal Government creates COVID-19 supply council
  • Canada and international partners launch the Coronavirus Global Response
  • The workplace you return to won’t be the one you left
  • Zero cases in New Zealand
  • A more accurate way to compare coronavirus deaths to the flu
  • Meet the prophet of the pandemic
  • Why Does the Virus Wallop Some Places and Spare Others?
  • A young doctor fights for his life
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Oakville & Halton:
COVID case counts
Total confirmed cases in Halton have increased by  2  cases from 476 cases yesterday to  478  with  more confirmed case in Oakville, from 161 to  162 . There were also  recoveries in Oakville from 132 to  134

As of noon Monday, Ontario’s regional health units were reporting a total of 18,933 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 1,319 deaths.

These numbers represent a very low increase in both cases and deaths from the same time Sunday, however, a delay in case reporting in Toronto meant it was not possible to analyze the change over that time.

As of 10:45 a.m. Canada accounted for 59,844 presumptive and confirmed coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 25,421 cases as recovered or resolved. A tally lists 3,774 coronavirus-related deaths in Canada, with two known COVID-19-linked deaths of Canadians abroad.

Visit https://art-bd.shinyapps.io/covid19canada/ for the U of T COVID-19 data aggregation map.

New online processes available
The Town is introducing online processes to allow various building and development projects to advance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The town’s intention in resuming these services is to support economic recovery and to help advance essential projects and prepare non-essential work for when the Ontario government lifts essential business restrictions .

A new page on the town’s website offers information and instructions on how to navigate the online intake processes for various planning, building, engineering, and development applications and permits including plans of subdivision, rezoning and site plans.

Staff reviewed the new processes, which have been under development for a year, with the Mayor’s Community Development Task Force, comprising local developers, to gather feedback regarding these new online processes. The processes were referenced in the Economic Action Plan developed by the Oakville Economic Task Force ,which aims to help address the COVID-19 impact to businesses. 

Community gardens to open this week
Town staff has been working hard to open the community gardens with anticipated opening later this week.

We are following the advice of the regional Medical Officer of Health and clarifying protocols about the number of people allowed within each plot and sites to ensure safe, physical distancing can be achieved. Staff is reaching out to plot holders to update tenant agreements, and review protocols.

Before opening, the gardens will be tilled and staffing will be provided at each community garden site through the Park Ambassador program to ensure safety of participants during the planting season.

There is currently a wait-list for community garden plots.

New library offerings
The Oakville Public Library introduced the Kids Library Club. It features videos and programs from OPL staff on simple experiments, crafts, and creation zone projects that can be done at home and that relate to the Ontario School Curriculum.

This week, the Stories by Phone program will launch, offering callers short stories/poems, children’s stories or adult fiction (a chapter a week).

Have your say
My Oakville Economic Task Force is concentrating efforts on long term recovery planning. Local businesses are invited to participate in a short  online survey  to help inform Town priorities and initiatives in support of Oakville’s economic recovery.
Advice for teens
Spring is often an exciting time teens. From sport and trips to graduation ceremonies and proms, there is usually much to look forward to. But this year is different as all of these things are cancelled and teens are faced with disappointment, sadness and maybe even some mental health issues stemming from the cancellations and fear of the unknown.

From Halton Region’s HaltonParents portal, t his article from parentandteen.com can help parents understand and handle the disappointment their teens may be facing.

From a more practical standpoint, as one resident pointed out, it’s easy to explain to adults only going out for essentials, but for teens that’s more difficult. Many might not fully understand the consequences of gathering and are risking theirs and their family’s health by sneaking out. Teens are sensitive and times of change and uncertainty are difficult to accept. The best we can do is encourage them to follow the rules as their parents are. We can’t physically go in to work and school and are doing both from home. If parents are Zoom chatting with friends, teens can be encouraged to do that same. Many parents worry about the amount of screen time their teens are getting now between online classes and keeping up with friends on social media and it’s important to still set guidelines of how much time is necessary and when it’s time to power off and take a screen break.

Now is a great time to connect with kids, too. We hear many reports of family walks and talks, board games, baking and just spending time together. Support is what we all need and reiterating the need for distancing to teens in a thoughtful, respectful and sensitive way will help.

For more advice on how to parent through a pandemic, visit HaltonParents.

FareShare Food Bank Oakville accepts donation
Last week, FareShare Food Bank Oakville president Peter Wolfraim accepted a $5,000 donation from Lexus of Oakville owner Frank Apa. The donation was one of many generous donations says Wolfraim. Apa made a donation of the same amount to the Burlington Food Bank at the same time.

Wolfraim says that use of FareShare Oakville has increased by 25 to 35 per cent since the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks the community for their assistance with donations. He is encouraging financial donations to streamline the process while he works with fewer volunteers due to the coronavirus, which can be made online , by mail or dropped off at 1240 Speers Rd., Unit 6, Oakville. L6l 2X4

Inside Halton creates local COVID case map
This interactive map tracks the confirmed positive COVID-19 cases across Halton Region by municipalities.

Both Halton Region and Ontario's Ministry of Health are tracking positive cases of the deadly disease on a daily basis.

Mask up to shop Longos

As of today, customers shopping in Longos stores will be required to wear a face mask.

The announcement, made in a tweet, follows many initiatives the company has put into effect to stop the spread of COVID-19 in its stores, including all employees wearing face coverings and shields at checkouts.

Ontario:
What went wrong with Ontario’s COVID testing

From conflicting advice from rival health officials to shell-shocked politicians, to shortages of pandemic supplies, and  a sluggish start , the Toronto Star reports what went wrong with Ontario's COVID testing and how the province is still struggling to keep up.
Today, the Provincial Government announced they have significantly increased testing and contact tracing capacity, allowing health experts to identify cases of COVID-19 and support efforts to stop the spread of the virus in the community, long-term care homes, and other congregate settings.

In partnership with Ontario Health, Public Health Ontario, local public health units, and hospital and community laboratories, the Provincial Government has developed an integrated laboratory system which has established the province as a national leader in daily testing volumes per capita.

The immunity passport debate
In a tweet last weekend, the WHO says the expect people who are infected with COVID-19 will develop an antibody response that will provide some level of protection. But they don’t know the level of protection or how long it will last.

This is the reason Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has described talk of immunity passports as premature. He has set up a COVID-19 immunity task force that will “co-ordinate a series of countrywide blood test surveys” to determine the spread of the virus and potential immunity among Canadians.

Read the full story about whether “immunity passports” will work.
Colleges and universities quietly preparing to take all classes online this fall amid COVID-19
Ontario colleges and universities hope students can attend classes on campus this fall — but professors have been told to prepare for online learning.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the move to virtual learning until the end of the year, at least, is required to ensure staff and student  safety  — but it’s also a move fraught with uncertainty.

New notice on TTC
According to a new notice on the TTC website, in order to maintain physical distancing, bus operators may change the operation of the bus to “drop off only”. The LED sign on the front of the bus will indicate to customers waiting for a bus that the bus is full and is now in “drop off only” mode.
Canada:
Government of Canada creates COVID-19 supply council in support of Canada’s response and recovery
The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced on May 3rd, the creation of the COVID-19 Supply Council which will bring together a diverse group of leaders to provide the government with advice on the procurement of critical goods and services required as part of Canada’s COVID-19 response and recovery, including the Hon. Perrin Beatty, CEO and President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Prime Minister Trudeau, joined other global leaders to launch the Coronavirus Global Response.

This online pledging event aims to initially raise more than $8 billion (USD) to help researchers and innovators develop solutions to test, treat, and protect people, and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

 The Prime Minister highlighted that, to date, the Federal Government has announced investments of over $850 million (CAD) that support this fundraising target. 


The workplace you return to won’t be the one you left
As businesses around the world begin to reopen and Doug Ford offers more specifics on when and how Ontario will get back to work, one big question remains unanswered: What, exactly, will our workplaces look like when we return?

Anyone who thinks they’ll be anything like the offices, manufacturing plants, restaurants and stores we left in a hurry seven weeks ago is likely in for a shock. Not only will our workplaces look physically different and operate differently, experts say we can expect a whole new philosophy toward work — one where home life is part of the equation.

Of course, our workplaces will change physically as well. They must: It’s quite possible that we will have to design them to minimize human contact for months or years. And possibly forever.

This will impact every aspect of office, retail and restaurant design, and it will affect how we use those workplaces, too.

International:
Zero cases in New Zealand
For the first time since mid-March, New Zealand reported no new cases of the coronavirus. It’s an indication the country’s bold strategy of trying to eliminate the virus is working. New Zealand closed its borders and imposed a strict monthlong lockdown after the outbreak began. It eased the rules a little last week to help reopen the economy. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a decision would be made next Monday on whether to ease the rules further. “We cannot afford to squander the good work to date when our end goal is so close and within reach,” she said.

A more accurate way to compare coronavirus deaths to the flu
If we measure flu mortality the same way we count covid-19 deaths, the picture becomes very stark, according to The Washington Post .

The issue boils down to this: The annual flu mortality figures published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are estimates produced by plugging laboratory-confirmed deaths into a mathematical model that attempts to correct for undercounting. Covid-19 death figures represent a literal count of people who have either tested positive for the virus or whose diagnosis was based on  meeting certain clinical and epidemiological criteria .

Meet the prophet of the pandemic

Laurie Garrett, the prophet of this pandemic, expects years of death and collective rage.

Why Does the Virus Wallop Some Places and Spare Others?
The question of why the virus has overwhelmed some places and left others relatively untouched is a puzzle that has spawned numerous theories and speculations but no definitive answers. That knowledge could have profound implications for how countries respond to the virus, for determining who is at risk and for knowing when it’s safe to go out again.

This New York Times article examines some of the theories.
A Young Doctor, Fighting for His Life
Read the story of a 27-year-old ER doctor fighting for his life after contracting COVID-19 in Brooklyn, NY.
Oakville Youth Week goes virtual
Every year, Oakville celebrates  National Youth Week  with FREE activities, learning opportunities and events for youth ages 11-19. This year, the event goes virtual
Follow the  Oakville Youth Instagram , like the  Oakville Youth Facebook  page or follow on Twitter  @OakvilleYouth  for more information.

Share your photos using #OakvilleYouth.

Questions about Youth Week? Email  oakvilleyouth@oakville.ca
United Way virtual campaign

Friday, May 8, 2020
12:00-12:30 P.M.
 
Attire is comfortable, sneakers and track pants welcomed!

ALS walk

The virtual edition of the Walk to End ALS event will take place on June 21st.
 
ALS partner, Brain Canada, is offering a dollar for dollar match of up to $1 million to invest in promising ALS research.

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 6 at 2 p.m. - Lemonwood Cashmere 
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