Once again Premier Ford got it wrong

By Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, 0N

 

Ontario today reported 4,114 COVID-19 hospitalizations, 590 in the ICU and 64 deaths; is this what the Minister of Health meant by a “glimmer of hope”?

Yesterday Premier Doug Ford announced when and how he would open up the province and return to normal business.

January 31st

restrictions would be reduced.

February 21st restrictions would be reduced even further.

March 14th  restrictions would disappear.

Setting out information like this might be good politics but it is bad public health practice.

Once again the Premier got it wrong.

What he needed to say was that when hospitalizations are at ??? and ICU patients are at ??? THEN restrictions will be lowered.

It is decisions made by individuals that will bring down the number of people infected and the number of hospitalizations.

Stop the bromides Mr. Premier.  Let people take responsibility and when the data indicates that people are being responsible, then lift the restrictions.  I, too, want to go out to a restaurant for dinner – but I don’t want to compromise my health.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Kearns Ward 2 walking tour - back by popular demand

By Staff

January 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Back by popular demand.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns took more than 50 people on a walking tour of her ward last November.

She is going to do a second tour – people who missed the first tour wanted an opportunity to get a first hand look at what was planned for the ward.

Saturday February 5th – gather at the foot of Brant Street at Lakeshore Road at at 1:00 pm and watch what Lisa Kearns can do with a bull horn!

The November tour had a healthy crowd and decent weather – with Covid social distancing being observed

The map below is of the last November tour – same event in February.

If you want to take part – pop a note along to the Councillor’s office: ward2@burlington.ca

They’d like to get some idea of what to expect. Kearns has a arranged for a microphone so she can be heard this time.

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Two GO-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinics coming to Burlington Jan. 22 and Feb. 5

By Staff

January 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Both GO-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinics will take place at Sherwood Forest Park.  No appointment required.

GO-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinic details:

  • Dates: Saturday Jan. 22, 2022 and Saturday Feb. 5, 2022
  • Time: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Location: Sherwood Forest Park at 5270 Fairview St., Burlington

Both GO-VAXX Indoor Clinics are walk-ins. First, second, third and pediatric doses will be administered at the clinics as per the following schedule and guidelines on both days:

10 a.m. –3 p.m. : Moderna for ages 30 years of age and older

3:15 – 4:45 p.m. :  Adult Pfizer for ages 12 to 29 years of age

5 – 6 p.m. : Pediatric Pfizer: ages 5 (on the day of the clinic) to 11 years of age

Each clinic can deliver 320 vaccines in a day.

Additional information is available for getting the COVID-19 vaccine and  Who Can Get Vaccinated from the Province.

There will be approximately 320 vaccine doses administered during each vaccine clinic.

These GO-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinics are in addition to the two GO-VAXX Mobile Bus Clinics at Sherwood Forest Park on Monday, Jan. 24 and Monday, Jan. 31.

The City of Burlington actively submitted an application to the Province of Ontario for the Go-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinics and the GO-VAXX Mobile Bus Clinics to come to our city. The Province of Ontario operates these vaccination clinics as part of the province’s strategy to get COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians. The number of available vaccinations at the clinics is determined by the Province of Ontario. The City sought to support vaccination efforts by securing an appropriate local site to host these clinics to share additional vaccine opportunities with Burlington residents. In addition to these opportunities, there are many other ways to receive your COVID-19 vaccine, including at Halton Region clinics, pharmacies, community and pediatric clinics and doctors’ offices. Halton Region Covid-19 vaccination clinic information can be found at Halton – COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics.

Marianne Marianne Meed Ward wearing the Chain of Office while she presides over a council meeting.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward explains how these additional opportunities to get vaccinated came about: “Vaccinations are typically provided by the Province and administered by Halton Region Public Health, local pharmacies or doctors’ offices. So, when we learned of an opportunity recently for the City to work with the Province directly to bring additional clinics to Burlington, we jumped on it.

“These additional clinics provide yet another opportunity to get your first, second or booster shots faster than you otherwise would have been able to, and will help in our collective efforts to slow down the spread and severity of COVID-19. Thank you to all those who are stepping up to get vaccinated, and to everyone who has already done so. If you are still waiting to get vaccinated, please take advantage of this additional opportunity to do so.

“This helps protect you, your family and friends, our whole community and hospital capacities.”

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One of those thousand word images

By Staff

January 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One of those thousand word images.

 

Related news story:

Rivers on Omicron

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Rivers on Omicron: the Mild Variant that has re-shaped health care world wide

By Ray Rivers

January 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

COVID, since day one of the pandemic, has had a stigma attached to it.  Unless one was a resident in congregate living or a front-line worker at a health centre, school, factory or grocery store, catching COVID was because of carelessness.

Omicron has changed all that.  The virus has spread so extensively and quickly that probably one in three people you know can now claim to have had symptoms; mostly a mild cold if they had been appropriately vaccinated.  Instead of being ashamed people are beginning to wear COVID, almost, like a badge of honour.

Was the Omicron variant of Covid19 a glimpse of what the public was going to have to face for years ?

And that is sad because the latest variant has filled our hospitals and shut down elective surgery.  As we hit 4000 admissions with 600 in the ICU and 40 people a day dying, it should be clear that the term ‘mild’ is just so inappropriate.   While the new variant seems to be taking aim at younger people, it is still taking a toll on more vulnerable seniors.

4000 admissions a day is a lot of hospital beds.  To that end, the federal government has purchased some $300 million worth of field hospital units, which could be quickly assembled.

Something like this was erected near Burlington’s Jo Brant hospital earlier in the epidemic.  But these kits are mostly still sitting in a warehouse waiting for hospitals to have enough staff to use them.  And that is the problem.  COVID, particularly this latest variant not only has filled beds but it is also emptying the wards of sick and overworked staff who would attend to those beds.

There have been a number of articles published recently querying Canada’s health care system.  Of course, it really is 13 provincial/territorial systems delivering health care under the auspices of the federal government and the Canada Health Act.  The Act gives us universal care and a single insurer.

The bottom line, when all is said and done, is that Canada’s health care compares favourably with other nations, even during COVID.  We’re not the lowest cost per capita, but still operate at a lower cost per capita than Germany, Sweden and a host of other European nations.  And besides enjoying better health outcomes, Canadians spend less than half what our southern neighbours do.

Health care had become a political football

Critics like the Fraser Institute, a right wing think tank, will never be content with a single payer public health system.  Yet they fail to appreciate that the private sector is more involved in delivering health care (30%) here than in many other nations.

We have privatized the delivery of diagnostic, hernia repair, colonoscopy, cardiac care and other aspects – taking these services out of the hospitals and into private clinics, though they are still covered by our single payer insurance.

Politicians seeking election always promise to add more hospital beds, as Mr. Ford did last election.  It’s as if more beds is some kind of panacea – will fix what is wrong with the system.  But beds only work if there is staff to care for the people in those beds.  And that situation has only got worse with this pandemic.  When 20-30% of nursing staff are home sick and unable to work, and many are so burned out they are leaving the profession, we have a real problem.

At the beginning of the epidemic lawn signs seemed to be popping up everywhere thanking our front-line heroes for their tireless efforts to save us.   But not everyone felt that way.  In Alberta, as the second wave was receding, Jason Kenny determined in his mind that it was all over and decided to fire 11,000 health care workers.   Then, as if to add insult to injury, he set out to roll wages back by 3%.

Kenny, buoyed with false optimism, also lifted all public health restrictions, making Alberta a living example of the real wild west.  A crisis of his own making ensued as the virus surged back with a vengeance collapsing Alberta’s health care system and swamping its hospitals with sick and dying.  In the end he had to call in the feds to bail the province out.

Nurses were being pushed to the limit and felt they weren’t getting the support they needed. The burnout rate was very high.

And it wasn’t just Alberta.  The Ford government in Ontario has a philosophical problem with unions, but especially those in the broader public sector.  So Ford introduced Bill 124 to cap all public service salaries at an annual 1% increase, even as inflation has recently climbed to almost 5%.  Is it any wonder that nurses in this province are now in full flight to better paying jobs?

Long term care (LTC) in Ontario, and across much of the country, is an idea badly in need of re-invention.  Ontario is losing Minister Rod Phillips, who some consider the most/only competent minister in Ford’s government, providing we forgive him for breaking COVID rules and flying south in the midst of a nasty wave of COVID in the province.  Still, he had brought in some accountability, such as re-introducing the spot inspections of facilities, which Mr. Ford had cancelled soon after becoming premier.

But it’ll take more than that to fix LTC for our seniors, including facilitating people staying longer in their homes, if at all feasible.  And it will take national standards which the feds have promised.  Indeed a national LTC act with appropriate federal funding would be an excellent companion to what the feds have initiated at the other end of the age scale with child care… and, of course, the Canada Health Act itself.

Canadians overwhelmingly support our universal, single payer health care system, with some surveys running as high as 86% approval.  But it could always be made better.  We could add pharmacare, for example, something the previous provincial government in Ontario had been moving towards.  We could put more effort into reducing wait times for elective surgery, especially in geographically remote places where specialists are difficult to find.

And we could start to treat our health care front-line workers, and especially nursing staff, with the respect they deserve.  We should pay them what they are worth and maybe start putting up those ‘thank you’ signs again.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

 

Background links”

Health Stats –     The Debate –      More Funding –      Fed Mobile Hospitals

Rod Phillips –     Nurses –     Polling on Health Care –      National LTC Standards

Canada vs USA –      Canada VS USA –    Staff Shortages –    Staff Quitting

 

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Our COVID19 battle is far from over - hospitalization levels still rising

By Staff

January 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is far from over.

Ontario reported 4,183 people were hospitalized with COVID-19; 580 are in ICU units; at least 7,086 new cases  have been reported as of Tuesday the 18th at 10:23 am.

82.1 per cent of patients admitted to the ICU were admitted for COVID-19 and 17.9 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for COVID-19.

Related news story

Three levels at JBH reportiCOVID19 infections

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Metrolinx is adding reinforcements to its fleet of mobile vaccine buses to help push back against the spread of COVID-19.

By Staff

January 18TH, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Metrolinx has partnered with the Government of Ontario to operate a fleet of mobile COVID vaccine clinics to get more needles into arms at a critical time in the pandemic.

The popular mobile clinics – known as GO-VAXX buses – are retrofitted GO Transit buses and there are now five of them on the road. This is up from the original three buses.

The GO-VAXX buses go all over Ontario loaded with trained medical staff that can deliver about 250 to 300 COVID-19 vaccine doses per day. The mobile clinics make it easier for many people to get their first, second, third or child doses.

The easy-to-spot buses have been so sought after especially once Omicron began to rapidly spread, appointments are now required. This prevents people waiting in long lines during the winter.

GO VAXX bus
One of five GO-VAXX buses ready to hit the road. (Metrolinx photo)

Just how popular have the GO-VAXX buses been?

Since last summer, more than 30,000 doses have been administered. Most importantly, the buses help get into rural areas and other hard to reach communities that might not have nearby clinics.  This includes communities outside the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including eastern and western Ontario. They are also fully accessible.

The plan is to expand the GO-VAXX fleet even more in the coming weeks and months.

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COVID-19 Outbreak Expanded to Additional Inpatient Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital  

By Staff

January 18th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The COVID-19 outbreak that was declared on Unit 4 North 700 (4N700) on January 12 has extended to an additional unit, 5 North 400 (5N400), as of January 17.

Prior to that there was an outbreak on the 6th floor.

Three additional patients and four healthcare workers have now tested positive for COVID-19. These new infections are associated with the original outbreak on 4N700 that infected five patients.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all patients on the unit, along with staff and physicians who have been or may have been exposed, are being contacted, monitored, tested as required and self-isolating in keeping with Public Health guidelines.

Patients on the unit are in isolation as of January 17 and will receive instructions on home self-isolation requirements when being discharged from the hospital. 5N400 is closed to new patient admissions. In addition, Essential Care Providers (ECPs) and visitors are not permitted in the unit, with limited exceptions as determined by the nurse manager. ECPs are asked to speak to the care team with questions around access to the unit. Patients can still connect with their loved ones by telephone and video – both telephone and WiFi are available at JBH at no cost.

Joseph Brant Hospital is advising anyone who may have recently visited 5N400 to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Please consult the Halton Region website for more information if you are experiencing symptoms or had exposure to someone who is COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with Halton Region Public Health to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the care team or JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email patientrelations@josephbranthospital.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Second COVID19 outbreak at Joseph Brant Hospital

By Staff

January 13th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An outbreak has been declared on Unit 4 North 700 (4N700) at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) after five patients tested positive for COVID-19.

All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of patients, Essential Care Providers (ECPs), staff and physicians.

This is the second Covid19 outbreak announced by the hospital in the past ten days.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all patients on the unit, along with staff and physicians who have been or may have been exposed, are being contacted, monitored, tested as required and self-isolating in keeping with Public Health guidelines. Patients on the unit are in isolation as of January 11 and have been instructed to continue the 10-day self-isolation when discharged from hospital.

A number of enhanced safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians. This includes closing 4N700 to new patient admissions. In addition, ECPs are no longer permitted to enter the unit except under exceptional circumstances in consultation with the patient’s care team. Patients can still connect with their loved ones by telephone and video – both telephone and WiFi are available at no cost.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work closely with Halton Region Public Health to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email patientrelations@josephbranthospital.ca.

Related news story

Covid19 outbreak on unit 6 SOUTH at JBH

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COVID19 outbreak at Joseph Brant Hospital

By Staff

January 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Public Health people have said an outbreak of Covid19 has been declared on Unit 6 South 200 (6S200) at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) after three patients tested positive.

All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of patients, Essential Care Providers (ECPs), staff and physicians.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all patients on the unit, along with staff and physicians who have been or may have been exposed, are being contacted, monitored, tested as required and self-isolating in keeping with Public Health guidelines. Patients on the unit are in isolation as of January 6 and have been instructed to continue the 10-day self-isolation when discharged from hospital.

A number of enhanced safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians. This includes closing 6S200 to new patient admissions except for COVID-19 positive patients. In addition, ECPs are no longer permitted to enter the unit except under exceptional circumstances in consultation with the patient’s care team. Patients can still connect with their loved ones by telephone and video – both telephone and WiFi are available at no cost.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work closely with Halton Region Public Health to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email patientrelations@josephbranthospital.ca.

 

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And we thought these things were behind us - Telephone Town Hall on the 19th

By Staff

January 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City will host another COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall on Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m.


The City of Burlington will host its eleventh COVID-19 telephone town hall event.

The event provides an opportunity for the community to hear how this latest Covid19 variant is impacting us and a chance to ask questions about the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and how it is impacting city programs and services.

The event will be hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, who will be joined by a panel of local leaders, including representatives from Joseph Brant Hospital, to help answer residents’ questions.

How to Participate

Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:
Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email getinvolved@burlington.ca by noon on Jan. 18, 2022.

If you registered for any of the previous town halls, you are not required to register your phone number a second time. If you wish to have your phone number removed from the call list, please email getinvolved@burlington.ca by noon on Jan. 18, 2022.

Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-759-5308 just before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19 to join the town hall.

For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Listen to audio: Live audio from the Jan. 19 town hall will be broadcast on YourTV, channel 700 on Cogeco and on the YourTV Halton YouTube page.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

A recording and transcript of the town hall will be posted online after Jan. 19 

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Rivers on Ford: Was he at the cottage or hiding in the basement of Queen's Park?

By Ray Rivers

January 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Dog Logic – If you don’t see it, then it doesn’t exist. And Ontario’s Premier Ford figures that’ll work for him. If we stop testing, recording and reporting our cases of COVID infection the pandemic will seem… like it’s gone away.

Ontario is in the midst of the largest COVID wave ever and the government is overwhelmed and over its head. Ontario residents got angry last month when the Premier didn’t show up for a briefing on Omicron just as we were entering the Christmas period. Where was he while this new variant was wreaking havoc everywhere and spreading like wildfire is still unknown. But apparently he has a cottage and there is a basement at Queen’s Park where one could hide.

Is the medium the message? Going to take more than a T shirt to command public trust

Nobody blames Ford for the arrival of Omicron, it’s everywhere. But his inaction in the face of this new public crisis is indefensible/inexcusable. Unfortunately it’s a familiar pattern for this premier. He’s been late to act with every wave of COVID – each delay actually exacerbating the problem.

Anybody could have figured out that the viral surge in South Africa, last November, would land on Ontario’s doorstep by December. So what was Ontario’s government waiting for…Christmas? Even the World Health Organization had warned everyone that it was coming. The feds got the message, and Canada banned travellers from seven southern Africa countries as far back as late November.

Mr. Ford referred to the latest variant as spreading like a wildfire. So one would have expected him to have got the water hose out before the flames were already in the living room. But now he acknowledges that it’s too late, and is content to just slow it down. But he’ll use the same tool as always – lockdown restrictions to limit social contact.

No masks required if they are learning at home – question is – are they learning?

He has once again paused in-class education, after a good deal of dithering. Sadly, even as we move into the 3rd calendar year of COVID our schools are still not safe enough to fully resume in-class instruction. And that means there would have been almost certain student-to-student transmission with this highly transmissible variant. So initially the government plan was to hide the statistics – not report cases of infection in schools.

If you don’t see it, then it doesn’t exist. Except parents, teachers and health care professionals were not going to let him get away with that. Rather than suffer a backlash over reporting, Mr. Ford just closed the schools and Ontario is back to remote learning.

And when it comes to transparency, it isn’t just schools. The rules on PCR molecular testing have changed and are now limited only to health professionals and some most vulnerable folks. If you have symptoms and you’re vaccinated, just stay home for 5 days. That is unless you need to show your boss an official positive test result.

The government has suggested people use one of those antigen rapid tests to see if they are positive, as an alternative. But, despite the federal government giving 50 million test kits to Ontario, there are none available. Ontario had been distributing these free rapid test kits in some malls and the odd liquor store – but not apparently anymore. People lined up for hours to get a kit – bearing a close resemblance to characters from the movie ‘Hunger Games’ as they scrambled over one another.

It was pretty much the same sad story when it came to getting a lifesaving booster shot. The province opened up eligibility to non-seniors only after the Omicron wave was on us. People scrambled to make a booking and the booking systems did what they had done before – disappointed or crashed. Even the National Post, a Tory friendly paper couldn’t hold back its disgust.

The government may be right on reporting infection test statistics. What is the point if they are unreliable and unrepresentative? That is a sad admission – so we will be treated to hospital and ICU admissions data from now on instead. Ford’s is not the first government who has wanted to end testing and reporting COVID numbers. Alberta’s Kenny and former US president Trump also tried to trick the public into thinking things were better than they really were by stopping testing.

It’s a new year, but unfortunately it feels even worse that last year, given that we should have learned something from past. The government’s failure to act in a timely fashion is disgraceful. Some experts believe the variant will peak in the next couple weeks and then crash, as it has apparently done in South Africa. But what if it doesn’t? What is Plan B? Dog Logic?

Ray Rivers, a Gazette Contributing Editor,  writes regularly applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Ontario Restrictions –   Anger at Premier –  School Case Reporting – 

Stampede for Boosters –    Hospital Surge –    Rapid Tests

Other opinions

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Hearing directly from municipal and Regional leadership would be useful at this point

By Staff

January 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Support from the leadership at the provincial, regional and municipal levels are going to be given by media release.

The Premier laid down the decision to move back to Stage 2 for a 21 day period.

Mayor Meed Ward on the porch of her home preparing to do a YouTube broadcast during the early days of the pandemic.

Nothing in the way of a message from the Mayor (unless you count the quote at the end of this article) or the Regional Chair. We have a Mayor who will get out on the street to support the front line workers at the hospital but unable to find a way to put together a message on YouTube or work with the City Administration to put something out on the city web site.

Could our Mayor not wear the Chain of Office and sit in the Council Chamber and talk to the public.

In 2018 when she was running as a member of Council she asked people to not just vote for her but to trust her.

Your Worship – the public needs to be able to demonstrate that you have their trust and they will work with you.
Please – work with them.

The impacts on City services as Ontario moves to modified Step Two of the Road map to Re-open are as follows:

The Province of Ontario has announced a return to a modified Step Two of the Road map to Re-open with new public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The following temporary changes will be in place from Jan. 5 until at least Jan. 27, 2022.

Recreation Changes
• City of Burlington facilities for indoor sports, recreation and fitness activities will be closed, and the start of all in-person Winter programs will be postponed

• All indoor programming, including recreation courses and drop-ins are cancelled or have transitioned to online. Registered participants and pass holders are being contacted directly, and those who wish to withdraw for a full refund may do so

• Facility rentals at City recreation locations, as well as Halton District School Board and Halton Catholic District School Board are cancelled. Renters are being contacted with details around rental contract adjustments and credits

• Faith-based rentals and renters who provide child care may continue to operate in modified Step 2

• Registered recreational virtual programming will continue, and online registration can be found at burlington.ca/recreation. Options to stay active at home are also available online at burlington.ca/activeathome

There are still opportunities to be active for your physical and mental health, including:

• tobogganing, neighbourhood rinks and parks and open spaces. Please stay off any artificial turf as it can be easily damaged during winter.

One of the places where people can get outdoors, exercise and maintain social distancing. Registration necessary.

• The Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond is open with pre-registration required for outdoor skating. Online registration opens 25-hours in advance of the skate time at burlington.ca/dropinandplay. Please remember to complete COVID-19 screening before arrival for your skate.

• The Play Lending Library has outdoor equipment to borrow. Contactless pick up and drop off is available at Brant Hills Community Centre at 2255 Brant St. and a full listing of equipment is available at burlington.ca/playlending.

Impacts to other city services
Service Burlington
City Hall, located at 426 Brant St., remains open for in-person service by appointment only for commissioning services and marriage licences. Walk-ins are not permitted.

Please visit burlington.ca/commissioning, burlington.ca/marriage or call 905-335-7777 to book your appointment. Residents can also visit burlington.ca/onlineservices to access a variety of City services online.

Service Burlington is available to answer questions by phone during regular business hours, at 905-335-7777 and city@burlington.ca.
Burlington Transit

Burlington Transit will run a COVID-emergency schedule beginning Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. For schedules and routes, visit burlingtontransit.ca.

Halton Court Services
The Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will remain open for in-person services from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Where possible, members of the public are encouraged to access court administration services online by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or on the Halton Court website at Halton Court Services.

Parking Services
Parking enforcement requests and parking exemptions may be delayed. Urgent parking enforcement requests posing a safety concern will be given priority.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

For more information on the City’s COVID-19 response, visit burlington.ca/coronavirus.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said:  “We know how difficult it is to once again face restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19. These last two years have been so hard and you’ve all made so many sacrifices. Thank you for hanging in and caring for each other. We’ll get through this.

“Our Emergency Control Group has met regularly throughout the holidays to review the impact of recent announcements on City services, so we can respond appropriately to this rapidly changing situation. Our key focus remains delivering the essential services you count on, while keeping staff and residents safe.”

Links and Resources
• Province of Ontario media release: news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001394/ontario-temporarily-moving-to-modified-step-two-of-the-roadmap-to-reopen
COVID-19 Resources

• For information about COVID-19 in Halton Region, including the latest public health guidance and the status of COVID-19 cases, please visit halton.ca/coronavirus

• Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at city@burlington.ca or online

• Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington

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166 hospital workers are in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms

By Staff

January 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Once again the folks at the Joseph Brant Hospital roll up their sleeves – take a deep breath and dig in.

Eric Vandewall along with everyone else on that front line have done this before and they will do it again.  They face three weeks of a grind that has to be gone through.  Keep them in your prayers.

A Message to the Community from Eric Vandewall,
Joseph Brant Hospital President & CEO
January 3, 2022

As we welcome 2022, hospitals are beginning the year in a very different position than we were anticipating just a few short weeks ago. The highly transmissible Omicron variant has spread rapidly through our community and across the world, leading to record-high case counts and unprecedented pressure on our health system.

Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) has responded quickly to the evolving situation, reinstating emergency planning tables, evaluating and shifting strategies to meet the anticipated challenges ahead in this wave of the pandemic. We will work closely with our regional partners to continue to meet the demands for care within our communities.

The hospital isn’t under siege but it certainly feels like that to the staff that are able to get to work each day.

Omicron is presenting two crucial issues to healthcare: the significant number of people anticipated to need emergency and inpatient care, and the impact to the already existing shortage of health care professionals to provide patient care.

Our hospital, like many across Ontario, is experiencing significant pressures on hospital occupancy and staffing:

• The community transmission of Omicron has impacted our teams: 166 hospital workers are in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms (Jan. 3) and an additional 72 staff are in isolation pending test results. On average, we are seeing 50-70 new workers entering isolation daily.

• Seasonal illnesses are circulating, contributing to an increase in staff sick calls.

• Prior to Omicron, the hospital was already operating with a 9.4% staff shortage.

• There is a 30% increase in the number of people coming to our Emergency Department (ED) for care as compared to December 2020.

• There is an increased number of patients being admitted with complex medical issues.

• There is an increase in patients who are COVID-19 positive. Currently 11 inpatients are being treated for COVID-19, with 4 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

• There are current 1,121 active COVID-19 cases in Burlington (as of Dec. 31, 2021), with a test positivity rate of 9.3% (as of Dec. 22, 2021)

In response to these challenges, our hospital has enacted measures to ensure that we can continue to provide safe, quality care to our community:

Eric Vandewall, Joseph Brant Hospital President & CEO

• A ramp down of procedural and scheduled surgical care beginning today, January 3, as directed by Ontario Health. This will allow us to redeploy the health human resources in units that need the additional staffing support. We will continue to provide urgent and emergent surgeries, including cancer surgeries.

• Alternative models of staffing care have been implemented cross the organization, to support care delivery during staffing shortages.

• Following the new provincial testing guidelines for healthcare workers, with the timely return to work of asymptomatic staff who have had a COVID-19 exposure. These staff complete daily negative rapid antigen tests (RAT), ensuring work self-isolation and self-isolation at home.

• Continued prioritization of PCR testing for staff and physicians to enable their return to work as quickly and safely as possible, with additional enhancements to the testing process underway.

In addition to these measures, to support our increased Emergency Department volumes and acuity, we are asking for our community’s assistance to ensure those who need our emergency care, can receive it immediately.

• If you have mild COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to come to the ED. Coming to the ED risks exposing vulnerable people to the virus. Please call your primary care provider or TeleHealth Ontario for advice on managing mild COVID-19 symptoms at home.

• If you are eligible under new provincial testing guidelines, you may book your COVID-19 test at halton.ca. Our ED cannot administer COVID-19 tests upon request.

• If you visit the ED, you will be seen based on the severity of your illness. Patients are seen based on an assessment of individual illness including many community members who arrive by ambulance. As a result of high volumes, this will likely mean longer than normal waiting times for less severe illness.

Our Emergency Department is safe and our nurses and doctors are ready to care for patients for need our help. If you need emergency care, do not hesitate to call 911 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.

These last two years have been incredibly difficult for everyone. The road behind us has been a long one and we are all anxious to the return to our pre-pandemic lives. However, now more than ever, please continue to follow the guidance of medical experts and public health officials. Get vaccinated, as doing so keeps you and your loved ones safe, and brings us one step closer to making our communities safer. Continue to protect yourselves and others by masking, washing your hands, maintaining physical distancing, and limiting the number of people with whom you gather.

As Wave 5 evolves, so will the situation within our hospital. Our teams will continue to provide great care to those who need it most. We echo our community’s gratitude for the sacrifices made by Joseph Brant Hospital’s dedicated staff and physicians.

We thank you for your patience, understanding and continued support.

Our best wishes for a safe and Happy New Year.

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Premier address the province: Here is the gist of what he had to say.

By Staff

January 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In response, the province will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.

These measures include:

• Reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.

• Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.

• Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.

• Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.

• Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50 per cent capacity. For shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.

• Personal care services permitted at 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.

• Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.

• Public libraries limited to 50 per cent capacity.

• Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.

• Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other liquor stores exempted.

• Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.

• Closing museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.

• Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50 per cent capacity.

• Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.

• All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.

• School buildings would be permitted to open for child care operations, including emergency child care, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.

• During this period of remote learning, free emergency child care will be provided for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers

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Premier missing in action - not a peep during the holiday - expected to make announcement soon

By Pepper Parr

January 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Have you noticed what is different this time?

When the Delta variant was hospitalizing hundreds and scores were dying daily the Prime Minister was before the public almost daily.

When the Delta variant of Covid19 was running rampant the Prime Minister stood at a lectern outside the front door of his house, almost every day of the week, reporting on what was happening.

He left the country with the sense that someone had their finger on the pulse of what we were dealing with.

During the Omicron wave the Premier was hard to find.

The Omicron variant, while not as devastating in terms of the reaction most people experience, this variant moves from person to person faster than anything seen or experienced before.

Cabinet met on the weekend and we are to expect an announcement – when?  No one is able to say.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore

The sense over the holiday weekend is that people were on their own.  Stay home, hunker down and wear the mask. The Provincial Medical Officer of Health did say this wave could be with us for six to eight weeks and that there was more information coming.

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COVID19 testing_ who gets what and where do they go.

By Staff

December 31st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In response to the rapidly spreading and highly transmissible Omicron variant, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is updating its COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines. Key changes include the following:

  • Symptomatic testing will be available for high-risk individuals, and individuals who work in high-risk settings.
  • Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are presumed positive and they should follow isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines.
  • Testing for asymptomatic contacts of cases is generally no longer recommended, except for high-risk contacts/individuals that are part of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in high-risk settings, as recommended by public health.
  • Positive rapid antigen tests will no longer require PCR confirmation.
  • Based on the latest scientific evidence, individuals with COVID-19 should isolate for five days if they are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12, and if their symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.

Eligible Groups for PCR Testing

Effective December 31, 2021, PCR testing will only be recommended for individuals if they belong to the following groups:

  • Symptomatic people who fall into one of the following groups:
    • Hospitalized patients
    • Patients in Emergency Departments, at the discretion of the treating clinician
    • Patient-facing health care workers
    • Staff, residents, essential care providers, and visitors in hospitals and congregate living settings, including long-term care, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, and correctional institutions
    • Outpatients for whom COVID-19 treatment is being considered
    • Underhoused or homeless
  • People who are from First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities and individuals travelling into these communities for work
  • Symptomatic elementary and secondary students and education staff who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school
  • People on admission/transfer to or from hospital or congregate living setting
  • High-risk contacts and asymptomatic/symptomatic people in the context of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in high-risk settings, including hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, other congregate living settings and institutions, and other settings as directed by the local public health unit
  • Individuals, and one accompanying caregiver, with written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager, OHIP
  • Asymptomatic testing in hospital, long-term care, retirement homes and other congregate living settings and Institutions as per provincial guidance and/or Directives

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Individuals who are vaccinated, as well as children under 12 who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to isolate for five days following the onset of symptoms. These individuals can end isolation after five days if their symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed

Individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised will be required to isolate for 10 days.

If you are someone who works or lives in a high risk-health care setting (i.e., hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, congregate living settings) you must notify your employer. Individuals who work or live in these settings should not attend work for 10 days from their symptom onset, or from their date of diagnosis. To ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings may have the opportunity to return to work early on day seven of their isolation, with a negative PCR test, or two negative rapid antigen tests on day six and seven. Speak with your employer or occupational health and safety department for more information.

All household contacts must also isolate for the same duration as the person with symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should also consider informing close contacts beyond your household contacts by providing them with the link to Ontario.ca/exposed. Individuals who are eligible for a lab-based PCR test are encouraged to get tested.

If you have concerns about your symptoms, contact your doctor, health care provider or Telehealth for more information and guidance. If you develop severe symptoms requiring medical attention, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but are feeling unwell, isolate until symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours.

If you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

If you are fully vaccinated and you have no symptoms, and do not live with the positive case, you are advised to:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days since you last interacted with the positive case
  • Maintain masking, physical distancing and adherence to all other public health measures if leaving home
  • Do not visit any high-risk settings or individuals who may be at higher risk of illness (e.g., seniors) for 10 days from your last exposure.

If you are not fully vaccinated, or are immunocompromised, you must isolate immediately for 10 days following your last contact. If you live with the positive case, you must isolate for the length of their isolation period.

Individuals who are eligible for testing are encouraged to get tested.

If you live, work, attend, volunteer, or have been admitted in a high-risk health care setting, you must notify your employer and should not visit the high-risk setting for 10 days since your last exposure or symptom onset, or from your date of diagnosis. To ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings will have the opportunity to return to work early on day seven of their isolation with a negative PCR test, or two negative rapid antigen tests on day six and seven. If you live in a high-risk setting, you should isolate regardless of vaccination status.

If you have COVID-19 based on a positive test result

If you test positive from a PCR, rapid molecular or a rapid antigen test and you are fully vaccinated or under 12 years of age, you must isolate for five days from the positive test result if you have no symptoms or from symptom onset and until their symptoms are improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms).

If you are partially vaccinated, unvaccinated or immunocompromised, you should self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or from the date of your test (whichever came sooner).

In addition, household contacts of individuals who have tested positive must also self-isolate during this time. Individuals must isolate regardless of their vaccination status.

You should also notify your close contacts. A close contact is anyone you were less than two metres away from for at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time, without personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before your symptoms began or your positive test result, whichever came first.

Appropriate Use of Rapid Antigen Testing

Ontario currently has a limited supply of rapid antigen tests that are being prioritized for health care and highest risk settings. This includes rapid antigen test use for “test-to-work” in which asymptomatic staff in these sectors can return to work when they would otherwise be on isolation at home.

Focusing the use of rapid antigen tests for these sectors will help keep hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes and congregate settings operating as safely as possible. As of December 20, a total of 50 million rapid antigen tests have been deployed across more than 49,000 sites since the beginning of the pandemic, with the vast majority (approximately 41 million) deployed to these priority sectors.

Rapid antigen testing may be used to confirm if a symptomatic individual has COVID-19, with no requirement for a confirmatory PCR or rapid molecular test.

In addition to Ontario directly procuring additional rapid tests where possible, the province is continuing to urge the federal government to make more rapid tests available to provinces as quickly as possible.

How to Access Supports While Isolating

If you require assistance while isolating, visit COVID-19: Support for people. People can also contact their public health unit for many isolation supports including:

  • Use of isolation facilities;
  • Referral to community supports and agencies;
  • Mental health supports;
  • Courier and delivery supports for food and necessities;
  • Additional resources available to support isolation through the High Priority Communities strategy.

Employers cannot threaten, fire, or penalize an employee in any other way because the employee took or plans on taking job-protected leave due to COVID-19, and doctors notes are not required for employees to use the leave. You can learn more about job-protected leave here.

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Province’s GO-VAXX Bus coming to Burlington Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 – Appointments Required

By Staff

December 31st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The GO-VAXX Mobile Bus Clinic will be coming to Burlington in the new year on Monday, Jan. 24 and Monday, Jan. 31. Both mobile vaccine clinics will take place at Sherwood Forest Park.

The clinic at Sherwood Forest Park will administer an Mrna COVID-19 vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, for first, second, and booster doses, as well as the paediatric Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11. Approximately 320 vaccines will be administered during each mobile bus clinic.

Please note that GO-VAXX mobile bus clinics are now by appointment only. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

To book an appointment:
Visit the COVID-19 vaccination portal or call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.
Appointments will be available for booking at 8 a.m. the day before the clinic. Once appointments are full, the GO-VAXX location will be removed as an option from the provincial booking site. Please note that appointments usually fill up within one hour.

GO-VAXX Mobile Bus Clinic details:

• Dates: Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 and Monday, Jan. 31, 2022
• Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Location: Sherwood Forest Park at 5270 Fairview St., Burlington
• Eligibility: Who Can Get Vaccinated

Appointments are required.

The City of Burlington actively submitted an application to the Province of Ontario for the GO-VAXX bus to come to Burlington. The Province of Ontario operates the GO-VAXX mobile vaccination clinics as part of the province’s strategy to get COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians. The number of available vaccinations at the mobile clinics is determined by the Province of Ontario.

The City sought to support vaccination efforts by securing an appropriate local site to host the mobile clinics and share this additional vaccine opportunity with Burlington residents. The mobile clinics are one more opportunity to get vaccinated, but there are many other ways to do so, including Halton Region clinics, pharmacies, community and paediatric clinics and doctors’ offices. Halton Region Covid-19 vaccination clinic information can be found at Halton – COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics.

The City is also working with the Province to bring two walk-in indoor clinics to our city early in 2022.

Further details will be communicated with the public once confirmed.

 

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City continues emergency response to ensure business continuity and prepares for COVID-19 impacts in 2022

By Staff

December 31st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a lengthy media release put out by the city administration they said  “The number one priority continues to be the health and safety of residents and staff.

The key focus for the City right now is continuity of operations, given rising infections in the community and subsequently among City staff.

To date, there remain few instances of City workplace transmission in City facilities. City staff continue to monitor COVID-19 impacts to ensure robust health and safety procedures are in place in our facilities and are working to ensure essential services are delivered for Burlington residents.

Throughout the holidays, the City’s Emergency Control Group continues to meet to review City service programs and impacts. The City will continue to communicate updates to residents as we all continue to live through this evolving pandemic.

Pandemic response and updates

 The City wants to ensure the people of Burlington that the City continues to monitor the COVID-19 impacts and prepare. This is a dynamic situation and City staff are monitoring daily for any federal, provincial, or regional announcements that would impact City operations. Burlington City Council is provided regular briefings and are ready to take action if a City Council meeting should be required over the holidays. Verbal updates on the COVID-19 emergency response will continue to be provided to City Council in the new year at the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee.

The next COVID-19 emergency response verbal update is planned for Jan. 13, 2022.

City of Burlington Emergency Control Group

The City’s Emergency Control Group has been regularly meeting over the holidays. This group has decision-making responsibility related to time-sensitive and immediate actions to address the emergency at hand, including operations and crisis communications. The Emergency Control group includes the Mayor, City Manager and senior City leadership from all service areas, Burlington Fire leadership, Health and Safety staff and a Burlington Hydro representative. City Council continues to be responsible for overall governance of the City and strategic decisions.

Protecting City staff and our community

Throughout the pandemic, the City has taken proactive steps to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace. This includes implementing a staff COVID-19 vaccination policy, adjustments to building ventilation, occupancy limits, daily wellness screening, mandatory masks and a variety of personal protection equipment. Respiratory protection (N95 or KN95 respirators) were offered early on in the pandemic to staff that were deemed an elevated risk to protect them and Burlington residents. To address the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the City has taken additional steps, including making medical masks and tight-fitting respirators (N95, KN95, etc.), available to all staff working on-site.

For higher risk settings, the City is using rapid antigen tests to ensure safety and operational continuity. The City continues to conduct case and contact management for the workplace, regularly updating isolation and testing protocols based on evolving Public Health requirements and to mitigate risk. City staff are advised to work from home and not attend the workplace if they are feeling unwell.

For part-time staff, the City has re-introduced up to 10 paid shifts for approved absences related to COVID-19 to help take care of our people.

The City is acutely aware that the infectious rate of the Omicron variant has the ability to impact City delivery of services and continues to monitor carefully to take steps as needed. Even though hospitalizations currently remain lower with the Omicron variant, the need for people to self-isolate if they get Omicron creates an elevated risk for staffing levels and continuity of services. It remains critical for people to continue to follow all health measures to reduce opportunity for spread and get vaccinated. All requirements for proof of vaccination, screening, masking and physical distancing remain in place at City facilities. The City is working to limit service disruptions to essential public safety services for the community.

Outdoor and active at home recreation options

Residents are encouraged to get outside and enjoy the outdoors responsibly, continuing to follow the advice from public health. There are a number of opportunities to remain active such as the Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond, 15 neighbourhood rink locations, six City designated tobogganing areas and walking/biking on trails. Visiting parks and open spaces is another outdoor recreation opportunity. For a list of parks, playgrounds and trails, visit burlington.ca/outdoorplay. Options to stay active at home are also available online at burlington.ca/activeathome.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward added that: “Your City Council and staff are taking all actions necessary to ensure you continue to receive the services you rely on. We also regularly connect with our partners at the federal, provincial and regional levels to offer our help as needed, and advocate for our community where necessary. We will get through this together as we have so far. Thank you for continuing to do your part, follow health measures, and get vaccinated. We know the last 22 months haven’t been easy for anyone, and you’ve made many sacrifices. Your compassion for each other, your resilience and creativity to find new ways to safely come together, has been a shining light through these difficult days.”

City Manager Tim Commisso

City Manager Tim Commisso

“It is important the City continues to deliver essential services to our community and we want to assure the public we are working to help us all get through this wave as safely as possible. The City’s Emergency Control Group continues to meet regularly throughout the holiday closure and City staff are at work delivering City programs and services and responding to COVID-19. This is a dynamic situation.

Although there remain few instances of City workplace transmission in City facilities, we know 51 per cent of all City staff COVID-19 infections have occurred in the last two weeks since the pandemic began. The Omicron variant is highly infectious and we continue to review plans for business continuity and essential delivery of services for our community.”

 

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Unmasked skaters using Discovery Pond in Spender Smith Park

By Pepper Parr

December 30th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We are still doing it to ourselves.

The advice from the MoH is to get outside and get a lot of fresh air and stay in wear a mask whenever and wherever you can.

Last evening a reader reported there were between 120-130 people on the Discovery Pond ice rink or surrounding benches in Spencer Smith Park at one time and fewer than 10% were masked. Probably 10% of skaters were less than 5 years old and thus unvaccinated.

No social distancing.

“Show some leadership and require everyone to be masked up. Don’t wait for the overworked Halton Public Health Director to react” said Doug Cunningham.

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