April 15, 2021
📱Virtual Assistant to help with contact tracing📱
Stay in the know with this latest edition of This Week in Durham Region.
A message from Dr. Kyle on a new text messaging system for positive COVID-19 cases 
Due to the significant increase in cases, the Health Department has implemented the "virtual assistant" to help with notifying positive cases and collecting some preliminary information prior to the initial phone call from public health.
Residents who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a text message from Durham Region Health Department with a secure link to complete a personal assessment survey, which will collect information about their health status, close contacts, and potential exposures to COVID-19. The information collected is kept confidential and is protected by Ontario’s privacy laws.

Please be aware that in some cases, residents that test positive may not receive a text message, such as when they haven’t provided a mobile phone number at the time of testing. Read the full statement for more information.
Stay Home to #StopTheSpread
The province-wide Stay at Home Order is still in effect. The Order requires everyone to remain home except for essential purposes such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health services, going outdoors for exercise, etc. Even when outdoors, masks are encouraged; particularly when people can’t remain six feet apart. The current provincial order states that no more than five people may be together outside, unless they are part of the same family.

If you have concerns about non-compliant businesses or a large gathering, read the press release to learn how to make a report to the Durham Regional Police Service. Please do not call 911 for these types of reports.

The Health Department also has an online resource designed to provide residents and businesses with information on current regulations; regarding gathering limits and the restrictions that apply to all businesses under the provincial Stay at Home Order. Visit durham.ca/ReopeningToolkit for more information and additional resources.
Free On Demand and Specialized Services for travel to vaccine clinics in Durham
Seniors and all residents of Durham Region can book a free round trip from their residence to a local vaccine clinic using Durham Region Transit’s (DRT) On Demand or Specialized Services (eligibility required for Specialized Services). This temporary free service is funded by a generous $10,000 donation from Ontario Power Generation (OPG) in support of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Read the press release for more information. 
Inclusive Community Grant aims to improve quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities
The Regional Municipality of Durham and local Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) announced up to $60,000 in provincial funding to help improve the quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities through the Durham Enhanced Technology and Virtual Learning Series.

Through a proposed, two-part initiative—involving virtual learning and increased access to public transit—the Region and its local community partners aim to: improve access to safe, affordable transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities; reduce social isolation; and maintain the dignity of older adults and people with disabilities, through enhanced virtual programming. Read the press release for more information.
Invest Durham 2020 annual report
Regional Chair John Henry discusses the Invest Durham 2020 annual report which tackles things like the impact of COVID-19 and how our economy is more innovative and resilient than ever.

For more information, watch the video
If you require this newsletter in an accessible format, please contact Newsletters@durham.ca