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What does the data the Premier said was going to knock us off our chairs look like ?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

table logoThe data in a visual format tells the story.

Stark evidence of what we have done to ourselves.

What happened to those in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities.

Key Findings•Growth in cases has accelerated and is over 7% on the worst days.•Almost 40% of long-term care homes have active COVID-19 outbreaks. Since January 1st198 LTC residents and 2 LTC staff have died of COVID-19. Forecasts suggest more deaths in wave 2 in long-term care than in wave 1.•COVID-19 ICU occupancy is now over 400 beds. Surgeries are being cancelled and the access to care deficit will continue to increase with real consequences for health.

LTC July 20

LTC Oct 20

LTC Jan 7 21

 

mortality

Untitled

Daily mortality is increasing under current restrictions, doubling from 50 to 100 deaths per day between now and end of February.

Projections: COVID-19 ICU occupancy around 500 beds in mid-January, potentially over 1,000 beds in February in more severe, but realistic scenarios. Graph below.

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Why are the anti-maskers gaining traction in Burlington?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Why is the refusing to wear masks gaining traction in the city?

Fortino Appleby

Is there a policy at Fortinos that masks are not required by all customers

A report today came in that a small group of anti-maskers entered the Appleby Line Fortinos location.

People, not staff, asked them to put on masks or leave.

The police were called – not certain at this point who called them.

The manager was brought into the concern and he is reported to have said that those not wearing masks could and would be served.

Tamp coffee window

The coffee is good – the ambience used to be funky but pleasant in its own way.

Another report has been received about the Tamp Coffee Shop (best Espresso in town) where they are said to be very loose about masks and due to that a number of anti-maskers have chosen that as a destination.

Tamp screen shot

Not the kind of social message that you grow a business on.

The reports we get are from people we know; people who are reliable and trusted.

All this when the Health people report that there were more than 4000 new infections. The Premier tells us that the modelling data is scary and that he will reveal that data soon.

People who don’t like the need to have to wear masks can read the tea leaves – you can get away with not wearing a mask.
Big shots fly south – they don’t get hammered. All the political buzz has the now fired Minister of Finance showing up in Cabinet again in a different portfolio – he’s ’described as a very smart guy.

They seem to think that they can take a pass on the rules – and should they be infected they are young and will probably not become all that ill.

However, there are 4250 people in the province who are now infected and just under 100 who died.

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Staff Layoffs at City Hall are Impacting Morale

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City today released data on the impact COVID19 has had on city hall

City hall - older pic

The reality that the restaurant and hospitality sectors have been dealing with for months has made its way to city hall.

Thirteen people have become infected by the virus; City Manager Tim Commisso said that all 13 cases have been resolved. There was no detail on whether any of the 13 had to be admitted to hospital – just that they had been resolved.

There have been staff layoffs – particularly at the school crossing guard level.
196 people have been laid off; 290 jobs have reduced hours and 68 people were asked to put in additional hours.

City Manager Tim Commisso said that some of the people who were laid off have advised the city that they are looking for work elsewhere and may not be able to return to the city.

Staff morale has been impacted.

Council learned that 700 hours of work were required to get the provincial lockdown in place and that it will probably take that much to get back to what was once the lick down is lifted..

The reality that the restaurant and hospitality sectors have been dealing with for months has made its way to city hall.

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City gets ready to do its part in the mass public vaccinations - might all be in play by the end of the month

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Vaccinations are taking place now and there is a plan to do the mass vaccinations that will be needed to bring this virus to heel.

Big picture 3 phases

The big picture: sets out the rate at which the city and the Region will get us all vaccinated.

The city administration created a Task Force that would work directly with the Regional Public Health Office which has asked the city to find a possible three locations at which vaccinations can be administered.

launching CIB task force

The make-up of the Task Force – city side

They asked that one of the three be the Haber Recreation Centre which has been used in the past for measles vaccinations.
The way this will roll out is to have the city providing the space with the required security, backup power supply and the on hand staffing that will be needed. Parking and transit access were also important.

The public will be given details on who is to show up when.

Council learned that it is going to be many months before everyone is vaccinated. Sheila Jones, one of the Executive Directors,  who guided the presentations made by staff said she thought it could be completed by August.

There are three phases to the plan. The time lines for each phase are not cast in stone. All the people who are working on this task are fully aware that everything is both fluid and dynamic.

Some people may be getting their vaccinations at a Doctor’s Office; some may get their vaccination at a pharmacy, assuming they are part of the picture.

Phase 2 roles and Resp COB

Who does what?

Karen Roche

Burlington Fire Chief Karen Rocke will work with City Staffer Amber Rushton to lead to Vaccination Task Force

Amber Rushton and Fire Chief Karen Roche are the staff members leading this Task Force. More on Ms Rushton in a separate article.

The Plan they are administering so that vaccinations can be given quickly and efficiently includes:

Having the needed equipment in place
Staffing
Site set up
Traffic control
Site security
Public safety and volume management.

Sites that are set up will have to stay in place until the public vaccination is complete – we are talking about many months.

There will be a military liaison person attached to the Task Force as well as someone from the Mayor’s office – that was defined as the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Victoria Al Samadi.

The Task Force reports directly to the Emergency Control Group weekly.

One of the problems that has plagued this health crisis is the, at times, very poor messaging by the province.

The Regional Public Health Network hasn’t earned all that many gold stars for the way it has communicated with a worried public. However, they have been good at getting data out.

Dratf reporting structure (LAST)

Reporting structure is a work in progress at this point – but there are very good people in place to make it all happen.

This next phase is going to require very tight communication between the city – they are going to provide a location that is ready the moment the nurses walk through the door ready to put needles in arms – and the Region, that is going to bring the thousands of doses that will be needed to the location and ensure that there are enough nurses on hand to work from 8:30 am to about 5:30 pm seven days a week.

There are still a lot of questions to be answered. Things will be moving very quickly by the end of the month when the public vaccination takes place.

One message to the public:  the City and the Region have a very firm grip on what has to be done.  The role for individuals is to be patient and to trust the civil servants to do their jobs.  The really do know what they are doing.

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Police tells Mayor 'it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets' and he walks - no penalty

News 100 redBy Staff

January 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Mayor issued the following statement a few minutes ago.

For full transparency and accountability, I have not travelled outside the country or province in more than a year and have not left the City of Burlington since before the Provincial shutdown.

Moment she became Mayor

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward being sworn in as Mayor

I am just as troubled and frustrated as the community about continued news of travel outside the country or province by elected representatives, health officials or community leaders. This erodes public trust at a time we need to work with the community to defeat COVID-19.

I immediately spoke to Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) Chief Stephen Tanner, when I learned today (from the media) that he had travelled outside the country to attend to a property, with the permission of the Chair of the HRPS Board, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. I expressed my concern about the travel. I appreciate that Chief Tanner has now apologized and said it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets.

I encourage those with properties outside the province to consider local property management companies and continue to avoid non-essential travel. I have heard from constituents who also have properties outside the province who are not travelling to those properties, and they expect the same from their community leaders.

Clearly, as community leaders, we need to hold ourselves not only to the same standards we expect from the public, but a higher standard of accountability, transparency and behaviour. We are in a public health emergency when all non-essential travel is being discouraged by our public health officials and provincial and federal governments.

Accountability starts in our own backyard. My expectations are that no senior City staff or Council members will be travelling outside the province for non-essential trips during the shutdown. I can confirm that no senior staff at Burlington City Hall has travelled outside the province since the province-wide shutdown. I also asked and have received confirmation from all City Council members that none of them have travelled outside of the province since the shutdown.

As a new measure during virtual City of Burlington Committee and Council meetings, and other public meetings, I will be voluntarily disclosing where I am calling in from. I have asked all of my City Council colleagues to do the same.
Additionally, I have put on the agenda of our upcoming Emergency Control Group a discussion of what further measures are warranted to ensure our staff and council walk the talk, lead by example and hold ourselves to the same and higher standard than we expect of the community.

We are in the worst of this pandemic. It is all hands on deck. We need to trust each other and work together. To do that, we all need to make the same commitments and sacrifices to beat this deadly virus.

We need to work to restore trust when it has been broken, as it has recently with many announcements of travel by health, elected and community leaders.

I have a question: Why does saying “it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets” close the matter. That’s just not right.

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Demonstrators want the Fearman pork processing plant closed during the lockdown

News 100 greenBy Staff

January 8th. 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A group of people who object to the slaughter of pigs at the Fearman plant in Burlington have shifted their focus just a bit and want to see the slaughterhouse shut down because they believe there are a number of people working in the plant who have become infected with the Covid19 virus.  They are demonstrating outside the plant

Their information, which could not be confirmed, was that 29 workers at the Fearman plant have become infected.

A 150 year old corporation that plays a significant role in the Burlington economy. Should a slughterhiuse be in this location?

A 150 year old corporation that plays a significant role in the Burlington economy is part of the Sofina Group that is close to the largest pork producer in Canada. 

The Public Health Unit reports on the number of new infections but they don’t break that data out with enough detail to know if there have been infections at the plant.

Fearman’s is a very large employer operating a plant that is said to process 10,000 pigs each day.

The torontopigsave group has organized a small demonst5ation at the plant that started at just after 9:30 am.

Trevor Miller told the Gazette that the small number of demonstrators (there are just five) was done for two reasons – they didn’t want their people to create a crowd that could spread the virus and they wanted to ensure that there was not a repeat of the Regan Russell tragedy.

Regan Russell save the pigs

Regan Russell, was run over by a truck transporting pigs into the Fearman plant last June

Ms Russell was run over by a transport truck that was getting ready to enter the plant  on June 19th, this year when the accident took place.

The demonstrators are asking why the business is continuing to operate during the lockdown while elsewhere in Canada and worldwide similar facilities are shut down to slow infections. Two days ago the City of Toronto released a report condemning the company for posing a significant risk to public health.

pigs - watered - girls

Save the pigs activist watering pigs in a transport truck while it was stopped at an intersection just before entering the slaughterhouse.

“There’s no reason to put the lives of slaughterhouse workers and their communities in harm’s way to produce non-essential products,” says Trevor Miller with Toronto Pig Save. “The 10,000 pigs who lose their lives there every day, along with the employees now contributing to overloaded hospitals and ICUs, deserve to be treated with the same privileges as granted to white-collar workers throughout this pandemic – the chance for healthy lives.

“Many employed in this industry are themselves members of vulnerable and marginalized populations and have found themselves forced into unsafe work spaces.”

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The expensive field unit at Joseph Brant will begin taking in COVID-19 patients this week

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We fully expected that expensive tent put in place between the parking garage and the hospital would eventually be used.  While expensive – the construction was a prudent move.

Plans were announced by the Joseph Brant hospital today to open the Regional Pandemic Response Unit to provide space for COVID-19 patients from the Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand, Norfolk, Brant and Burlington (HNHBB) region.

field hospital - installed April

Building the unit was a prudent if expensive decision. How well the public follows the lock-down rules will determine how much use it gets. This is as serious as it gets.

This week, hospitals will begin identifying and working with patients who have progressed in their care and could receive care in the PRU, a state-of-the-art, all-season field hospital located on JBH grounds.

Hospitals have had to cancel elective surgery and focus on the pressure created by the number of people infected by the virus and needing a higher level of care.

The infection levels are hovering at the 3000 new infections daily – with the number of deaths rising as well.

“The Pandemic Response Unit was built to care for COVID-19 patients whose condition has stabilized but require support that cannot be provided at home, such as oxygen therapy and medication, as well as ongoing monitoring of their symptoms and some personal support,” says Dr. Ian Preyra, Chief of Staff at Joseph Brant Hospital.

“Transitioning these individuals to the PRU allows them to complete their recovery in an inpatient unit that is specifically designed to provide the type of care they need.”

The healthcare teams working in the PRU comprise of physicians, nurses, patient care assistants, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists, home and community care coordinators.

field hospital - long look

The space will have everything needed to comfort patients who will be very very sick people when they get to this point.

The PRU is a key component of a regional strategy developed by HNHBB hospitals to meet the rising demand for COVID-19 care during Wave 2, while helping to minimize potential disruptions to scheduled and community care. The strategy is being led by the HNHBB Hospital Incident Management Structure (IMS) team, which includes representation from all regional hospitals, including CEOs and clinical leadership.

Under the plan, the PRU serves as a regional resource that can receive patients from four hospitals that are providing acute COVID-19 care: Joseph Brant Hospital, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Hamilton Health Sciences (Hamilton General Hospital) and Niagara Health. Any transfers will be determined based on care needs and in consultation with patients and their families.

“Our healthcare system is being stretched to its limits,” says Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences and IMS co-chair and a former Burlington Mayor. “Opening the Pandemic Response Unit is a necessary step in our continued efforts to preserve critical hospital capacity for the sickest patients. All of the region’s hospitals are working closely together to ensure that care can be delivered safely with limited disruption to patients.”

JBMH president Eric Vandewall is reported to be working on his schedule and aking tme to meet with the city. Dinner with senior city staff was a good start.

JBH president and CEO Eric Vandewall brought the building of the PRU ahead of schedule – he realized immediately that the city would at some point in the future need the facility.

JBH’s Infection Prevention and Control team was closely involved in the design of the PRU, leveraging current research and best practices in the care of COVID-19 patients. Its features include a filtered, negative pressure ventilation system, allowing for treatments that may generate aerosols to be safely performed. It also has durable, easy-to-disinfect surfaces, as well as other features to provide a comfortable environment for patients, such as natural light, portable laptop tables and free WiFi to connect with their loved ones during their stay.

The 16,000-square foot structure was constructed in April 2020, after the Ontario government requested that hospitals implement capacity plans at their sites. It was built as a collaboration amongst Joseph Brant Hospital, community-based health care providers, the City of Burlington, and Halton Region.

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Tell me about Burlington - part 1

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2021,

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 1 of a series

If someone asked you to “tell me all about Burlington” , “what makes the city work”, what would you say?

The Gazette has observed and reported on this city for more than a decade now. Like all media we have watched closely as the city has dealt with the pandemic – in some situations remarkably well and in others less so.

We have watched how the provincial government lost the credibility it once had through the stupid, selfish actions of a few while the vast majority of the people in the province did what they were asked to do.

Dealing with the pandemic on a daily basis has shown the city and its administration for what it is – committed people working under difficult circumstances.

There is legitimate concern for the mental health of those several hundred people who have to work from home juggling their cell phones with their keyboards to meet the demands for information and policy directions.

Today and during the balance of the week we will report on stories that point up how the population and the people who lead them have acted and responded.

Today we want to tell you more about the Burlington Food Bank and the superb job it has done under trying circumstances.

Bailey Food Bank March 31-20

Bailey makes one statement – every day. “If you need help getting the food you need – call us, we are here to help.”

Led by Robin Bailey who serves as Executive Director, and a collection of volunteers who make one statement – every day.  “If you need help getting the food you need – call us, we are here to help.”

Bailey does a short video almost every day highlighting where food is coming from and also what he needs in the way of food to meet the daily need.

The Food Bank has on occasion delivered food to more than 70 homes in a single day.

Margo - thank you

Neighborhood in the city hold a local food drive.

That food comes from a wide variety of sources. A neighborhood in the city will hold a local food drive that has dozens, sometimes hundreds of people dropping off bags of food that is then taken to the Food Bank.

There are dozens of locations around the city that have large bins at which that food is left – every supermarket has one, there are bins at the fire stations, and in the churches.

Bailey has access to funds that he can use to buy items that didn’t get to him through the voluntary food chain.

Bailey works within the eco-system that exists at both the federal and provincial levels where people who are at the front-line level exchange views and share solutions to problems while at the same time keeping tabs on just how big a problem the food banks are in place to handle.

Food bank - three young men

They just show up with large bins or boxes filled with food.

Each day a couple of dozen volunteers show up at the food bank to handle the food that has arrived and put in into the short quarantine that all food gets put in.

It then gets placed on shelves where the people who are putting together the food baskets turn to to make up a food package.

There are drivers who take turns picking up food from the many drop off points as well as delivering the food to those in need.

Bailey, who works with Scot Cameron who produces the daily web cast, gets the message out in a short, direct video that rarely runs more than two minutes.

On an almost daily basis people just show up with large bins or boxes filled with food.

The system works with not a dime from the city or the regional government that is responsible for social welfare.

This is just citizens knowing that there is a need and doing what has to be done to fill that need.

The is part of what Burlington is.

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It is our core values that will get us through 2021 - do we know what those values are?

opinionred 100x100By Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

graphic 2021

It is going to be a tough year.

It will be a long haul.

There is of course much hope but there is also a lot to think about.

The way we have failed to take care of those seniors who live in long term care facilities is shameful. The lady in my life said this morning that it must be terrible for an older person who “has all their marbles” to sit in their room realizing that there aren’t enough people to really take care of them.

Lurking behind this is the fact that demographically there is a huge wave of people who will find themselves in long term care facilities who should be asking if they are going to be taken care of.

The look of their “sunset years” has been painted out for them – it is not a pretty picture.

The vaccines are now being produced and people are being vaccinated – why there isn’t more assurance as to when the needle will be put in their arm is disturbing.

The eve of the New Year has traditionally been a time to celebrate and look forward to great things ahead.

This year our thoughts may well be asking how we are going to get through what we are experiencing and perhaps looking more closely at our core values.

Reading that the Ontario Minister of Finance slipped out of the country to enjoy a vacation and basically lied to the public about where he was, and the Premier seems to have covered for him, points out just how big the divide is between the haves and the have-nots.

Rod Phillips is the Minister who is responsible for the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee – the one that is going to get the provincial economy back on track; his ‘follows his own rules’ attitude doesn’t leave us with a surge of confidence.

There are more questions than answers at this point. The challenge for us is to find the core values that make us the people we are and then to ensure that they prevail.

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2020 didn't work out all that well. Let's see what we can do in 2021

Now that we are into 2021 let’s figure out how we are going to get through it – safely.

Take care of each other and stay safe.

Happy New Year !

2021 NY graphic

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Has the postal service forgotten to report the Covid infections ?

News 100 redBy Staff

December 31st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

UPDATE:  Eight people are isolated,  one confirmed infection in Burlington.   Parcel service and letter mail started coming in again today  with reduced volumes.  

Reports of problems at the Canada Post main depot in Burlington are coming in.

Not able to reach anyone at Canada Post for confirmation but one resident reports there has been no service to his address for four days.

The chaos due to a case of COVID.

Our source, who works at one of the several depots in the city that gets mail from Canada Post for redistribution, reports that:

“Parcels at the depot are backed up several days. We have had limited deliveries since Xmas, which prompted a call by myself to the depot to find out why. I was notified shortly thereafter that one of the delivery personnel, which we have a good idea who it is, is infected. He is young so should recover. He delivers only parcels to our outlet and also other locations from the Burlington depot.

Canada Post vehicle

At least one truck drivers suspected of testing positive.

“According to subsequent conversations with other delivery people, five people are in isolation that work with the one person who has tested positive. To make matters worse one of the delivery guys told me shortly thereafter that there are additional cases in Hamilton. Likely Stoney Creek depot (but I don’t know for sure), which is where most of our letter mail comes from. Since we have not had nearly any letter mail since Xmas that makes sense.

“We have had numerous people coming in to pick up parcels that should have arrived yesterday or today but are still showing in transit since Dec 24. I suspect there will be a significant delay for at least the next week or so.

“Burlington residents should expect limited mail service and parcel deliveries for the next few days.”

A cause for concern.

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Framework will guide vaccine prioritization - THIS is not what the public needs to hear

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 31st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

I am sure the ethical frame work, released by the province yesterday,  within which the distribution of vaccines will be distributed is important.

Did the public not expect that there would be one in place? This is not what the public wanted  to know.  People want to know when they will be getting their vaccinations.

long term care - meal

Are the long term care residents first?

People understand that the people working the front lines in the hospitals and those in long term care facilities are high, very high on the list.

I would not want to be the one who had to choose which came first.

It is after those two groups that the vast majority of the public fall into.

When does the 90 year old in good heath get vaccinated?

And where will she go for that vaccination?

We read that there is a shortage of nurses who will do the inoculation and that the people making the decisions are calling in retired nurses and students.

We are just doing that NOW?  That is work that should have been done months ago.

There is no rocket science in this.  We have population data and we know how many people can be vaccinated in an hour.  Do the math.

Halton has a very good student immunization rate - 93% of students are immunized.

Where are the young people on the schedule ?

The public understands that it takes time to set things up – the bureaucrats and the medical community have had the time to get this work  – March, April, May, June and July – when they knew there was going to be a second wave, and when it was becoming clear that a vaccine was going to be available.

Being told that the Ontario government has released an Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution which was developed in partnership with the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force to guide further vaccine prioritization and distribution across the province doesn’t quite cut it in terms of keeping a public informed.

long term care workers

Where are the front line workers on the inoculation schedule; the people at risk working for not much more than the minimum wage.

“This ethical framework is a clear demonstration of our commitment to Ontarians to be transparent,” said General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. “We know that people are eager to get vaccinated and this framework helps ensure that we do it in an ethical, effective and compassionate way.”

“Phase One of Ontario’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan began on December 15, 2020 at two hospital sites, and increased to 17 additional sites the following week, with the delivery of 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses. With Health Canada’s recent approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the province can expect about 50,000 additional doses before the end of the month.”

Couple of questions:  How many phases are there going to be and what are the dimensions of each phase ?

The people leading the program to get us all vaccinated as quickly as possible are not generating much in the way of public confidence.

We can do better than this. And we should be doing better than this.

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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One nut case and one provincial cabinet minister who seem to think that the rules don't apply to them - great notes to end the year on

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

An Ontario politician who has already been charged once for disobeying COVID-19 rules is blatantly breaking them again.

MPP Randy Hillier posted a photo on Twitter Sunday showing himself and 14 other people at what appears to be a holiday celebration. He used the hashtag “#nomorelockdowns” to accompany the photo, which shows disregard for Ontario’s public health guidelines.

In another tweet, he confirmed the photo was taken Dec. 27.

Ontario has been in a province wide lockdown since Dec. 26, put in place to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and ease the strain on the province’s health-care system.

Announcing the lockdown last week, Premier Doug Ford said it was a necessary measure to save hospitals from becoming overwhelmed in upcoming weeks. Currently, no indoor social gatherings are allowed, except for those with members of the same household.

Hillier Randy MPP

Randy Hillier, MPP for an Eastern Ontario riding had been expelled from the Tory Caucus, is still pushing back over the Covid rules.

Ontarians found guilty of hosting illegal private gatherings can face a fine ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, according to the Reopening Ontario Act.

In November, Hillier said on Twitter he was charged for his role organizing a large gathering at Queen’s Park in Toronto. He has opposed lockdowns and masks and has promoted a debunked pandemic conspiracy theory in the Ontario legislature.

Ford previously called the MPP “totally irresponsible” for the protest. The premier said he’s “never figured out” anti-maskers who believe COVID-19 is a hoax, saying, “this is a very serious virus we’re seeing … around the world, around our country.”

People on Twitter have called for Hillier to resign.

This comes after more than 40 local physicians signed an open letter to Hillier in December, fact-checking his incorrect claims about COVID-19.

“You are spreading misinformation that minimizes the seriousness of COVID-19 to support your personal anti- lockdown and anti-mask beliefs,” Dr. Jeanette Dietrich wrote.

“I urge the public to ignore you and heed the advice of trained health care professionals. Continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, and keep everyone safe.”

The above was picked up from Huffington Post Canada.

St Barts

Described as The Island for Billionaires St. Barts was the holiday destination for the province’s Minister of Finance while the rest of Ontario is under a month long lock down.

It gets worse. We learned today that the Ontario Minister of Finance, Rob Phillips,  had slipped out of the country early in December to the Caribbean island of St. Barts to celebrate the holidays in the sunny, sunny south.

Premier Ford, said he was not aware the Minister had left the county and ordered him to return immediately.

ROD pHILLIPS

Rod Phillips, was once the Minister of the Environment and moved into Finance. He was at one time the Chair of Post Media. His is going to have to get some media help to get out the mess he is in now.

The Minister did leave for his holiday, which had been planned sometime before the lock down was put in place.

While out of the country his staff was sending out tweets which implied that he was still in the country serving the public.

An example of really sick hypocrisy.

Durham Region, where Phillips’ constituency is located, entered into the “control” phase of Ontario’s tiered lockdown system in late November. Public health guidance for this phase says trips outside of the home “should only be for essential reasons.”

Tweets from Phillips’ official Twitter account reminded Ontarians on Christmas Eve to thank the “special heroes” making sacrifices during the pandemic.

“As we all make sacrifices this #Christmas, remember that some of our fellow citizens won’t even be home for Christmas dinner over Zoom,” the tweet reads.

“Thousands of front line heroes will be at work, looking out for us.”

stocks -

There was a time when Stocks were set up in public places where offenders against public morality formerly sat imprisoned, with their legs held fast beneath a heavy wooden yoke. It was never outlawed – just fell out of favour. Might be time to bring it back

Several photos of Phillips on public visits to small businesses and fundraisers were taken before his trip and were tweeted while he was abroad.

The only thing we haven’t heard from the Minister are the words “Let them eat cake”.

The Premier should think in terms of firing Phillips.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds of young people have had to cancel wedding plans because of the 10 person limit lock down requirement for gatherings of people.

With hundreds dying from Covid there are literally thousands who will not be able to attend funerals for the departed.

What I am looking for is a word stronger than ‘hypocrisy’. Putting Phillips in stocks on the lawn outside the Legislature might be an appropriate punishment.

The bigger damage is to the concept of public service which used to be something that was seen as noble. The giving of one’s self to serve the public, which is certainly what those thousands of hospital workers who care for those with COVID-19 are doing, gets trashed by people like Phillips.

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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A full moon and common sense don't seem to mix

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is something about the strength of a full moon – the tug it has on our emotions and the impact it has on the earth.

Unfortunately that gravitational force does not bring any common sense with it.

full moon dec 29

A full moon in the process of rising over the city

One Gazette reader learned that the 6 foot social distance had been reduced to 3 feet for some – and the moon had nothing to do with it.

“Saw a family of cousins, aunts and uncles greeting on the street, mask-less, hugging and exclaiming, “So nice to see you again”, while the cousins piled into a van.”

Our reader suggests that family might want to touch base with each other around the 9th of January and ask how they feel.

The vaccine exists – but we have to be inoculated with it before it can do any good.

I am sure that most people listen for the number the province publishes on how many new infections are reported and how many deaths are recorded.

Adhering to what the lock down requires us to do individually is not always easily – but it is the only way we can stop the spread of the virus.

There is no rocket science to what we have to do. The rocket science has already taken place – the vaccine was determined and manufactured in record time.

We now wait for the next full moon and see what the governments report.

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Brant hospital worker first to be vacinated

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday, Joseph Brant Hospital’s first health care worker received the hospital’s first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine was administered at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH), the Vaccination Centre designated for Halton Region.

JBMH president Eric Vandewall is reported to be working on his schedule and aking tme to meet with the city. Dinner with senior city staff was a good start.

Eric Vandewall, President & CEO Joseph |Brant Hospital

“All Joseph Brant Hospital Staff and Physicians celebrate this important milestone in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Eric Vandewall, President & CEO.

“After many months fighting against COVID-19, it is a remarkable moment our teams are recognizing.

However, we must be vigilant in following the safety measures, to protect our community, our vulnerable populations and our front-line health care workers for many months to come.”

After Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Ontario moved to rollout the vaccine to health care workers in high-risk settings, at 17 hospital vaccine delivery sites. OTMH is the Vaccination Centre for the Halton Region.

On December 22, 2020, COVID-19 vaccines began being administered to health-care workers across the Halton Region, who are providing care in long-term care homes and other high-risk settings.

Joseph Brant Hospital is working with Halton Healthcare and Halton Region Public Health to identify health care workers to receive the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the OTMH Vaccination Centre.

Planning is underway at Joseph Brant Hospital to prepare to open a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for staff and physicians at its own site in early 2021, as the vaccine becomes more widely available.

Although the news of the first vaccination at Joseph Brant Hospital is extremely positive, it is critical that everyone continues to follow public health advice to help keep everyone safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

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Update on City services and programs during the COVID-19 province-wide shutdown

News 100 redBy Staff

December 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, 0N

 

The province-wide shutdown, with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19, is beginning Saturday, Dec. 26 at 12:01 a.m. The shutdown will be in place for all regions of southern Ontario, including Halton Region, until Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021.

Impacts to City services and programs

City Hall
Starting Jan. 4, 2021, 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/marriages 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 email at city@burlington.ca.

Burlington Transit
Burlington Transit will continue to run as scheduled including specialized transit. The transit terminal at 430 John St. will remain open to provide PRESTO services including SPLIT passes. Presto services are available at Shoppers Drug Mart or online at prestocard.ca. Transit schedules are available online at burlingtontransit.ca to download and print, via Google Maps, Apple Maps and using myride.burlingtontransit.ca.

Halton Court Services – Provincial Offences Office
Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will remain open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Friday. Visitors to the courthouse must self-screen using the provincial e-screening application at http://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening and wear a mask or face covering unless exempted from by the Mandatory Mask Bylaw

Telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Many online services are also available by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or by visiting www.haltoncourtservices@burlington.ca

Recreation Services and Facilities
City of Burlington indoor recreation facilities will close, and all programs are cancelled. Recreation Services staff are contacting user groups, renters and program participants affected by these changes. Residents are asked to please be patient during this time as it will take two to four weeks for staff to process the large volume of cancellations.

Those who paid using a credit card will receive a pro-rated refund to their card where possible. This applies to rentals and program participants. All other payment methods will receive a credit to their recreation account.
Cheque refunds can be requested by emailing liveandplay@burlington.ca. Please be sure to include your full mailing address in your request.

Individuals with questions can follow up with their sport provider or user group or call Recreation Services customer service at 905-335-7738.

Residents are encouraged to remain active by accessing outdoor recreation opportunities such as walking/biking on trails or visiting parks and playgrounds. Residents can also take the Outdoor Winter Play Challenge and see how many free activities they can complete by Feb. 19, 2021.

Learn more at burlington.ca/playoutside. Options to stay active at home are available online at burlington.ca/activeathome.

Rotary Centennial Pond is open for skating, however all users must pre-register and complete the online screening at burlington.ca/screening. Capacity on the rink is 25 people. Please follow our social media channels and website for updates.

Roads, Parks and Forestry
Services provided by the Roads, Parks and Forestry Department will continue as needed. Residents with questions or issues can email RPF@burlington.ca or call 905-333-6166.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward made the following comments:

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

City Hall is an essential service – but you can’t just walk in. Appointments necessary.

“I support additional measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and appreciate that the Province listened to our voices (and those of others) calling for capacity limits based on size, including for big box stores, supermarkets and malls. Essential services will remain open, with restrictions.

“What has changed in the last few days is the need to look at health indicators beyond a single public health unit as we have in the past, especially for hospital capacity. We will continue to make decisions based on health evidence, and adapt quickly in light of new information that can change daily, sometimes hourly.

“Having recently spoken with the President/CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital, we’re supporting communities around us, so it’s critical to bring the numbers down across the entire GTHA region.

“It’s also clear the current measures in lockdown/grey areas are not sufficient – their numbers are not coming down. More needs to be done to stop the spread at source. New measures must be effective, enforced and based on health evidence. More must be done to protect long-term care homes, essential workers, and improve workplace safety.

“The City of Burlington is an essential service and is prepared to enter the Province’s shutdown. Our staff will continue to work from home serving residents, and we have established safety protocols for those staff required to be on site.

“I remain grateful to our residents and businesses who’ve followed health advice to keep yourselves and others healthy. Your efforts are working, and we will continue to do our part to assist regions around us.”

Quick Facts
• To report an incident of non-compliance with the provincial emergency orders in Halton, please call the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 hotline at 905-825-4722.

The hotline will accept non-compliance reports for the following Provincial emergency orders:

o Restrictions associated with level grey/lockdown of the provincial COVID-19 Response Framework
o Indoor/outdoor gathering limits
o Consolidated Mask Bylaw 47-20

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City hall figuring out what they will be able to deliver in terms of services during lock down.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 22, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lock down graphicCity staff are reviewing the lock down restrictions to determine how it may impact city programs and services.

The Gazette will monitor what city hall decides to do and keep you fully informed.

In the meantime do the responsible thing – let’s not make this any worse than it is.

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City reviewing details from province to determine how different this lock down will be from the last one.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Province puts us into a 28 day lockdown – but city hall continues to do what it does; deliver the services needed as best it can under the circumstances.

Commisso stare

City Manager Tim Commisso

City Manager Tim Commisso said earlier today that his office got detailed instructions from the province which they are now reviewing and will get information out to residents as soon as everything has been figured out.

Commisso did say that “Some city service delivery differences compared to previous lockdown and we will get out an updated what’s open/what’s closed list out ASAP once we review the provinces detailed list that they provided minutes ago.”

From Commisso’s point of view there is “Really no change for the Emergency Coordinating Group (ECG) – it will still meet regularly during 28 day lockdown period.

Gymnasiums in Haber Recreation Centre

Haber Recreation Centre: Ideal place to do mass inoculations

We don’t know yet when city council will meet – given that everything is virtual they should be able to maintain their January plans – budget being one of the biggest hurdles to get over,

Commisso wasn’t able to add much to how the inoculations are going to go other than that “it is too early to say if city facilities will be needed for that purpose”

Commisso expects that in January we will start to see a picture of what is needed (in the way of municipal facilities) for Covid19 vaccinations.

Right now we just hunker down and do what we can to let the Covid19 virus die out while we wait for the vaccines to arrive.

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Public Health office instructs retail operations to tighten up how they handle people using their locations

News 100 redBy Staff

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Regional Medical Officer of Health, using the authority she has under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA), issued instructions to the commercial and retail sectors.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Regional Medical Officer of Health, Dr. H. Meghani.

“I am issuing additional instructions to retailers ahead of anticipated higher volumes of shoppers this week,” said Dr. Meghani.

“Owners and operators must maintain capacity limits and physical distancing in retail spaces, common areas and indoor/outdoor line-ups to create safer spaces for both employees and patrons.

Our region is surrounded by areas in lockdown which will increase the number of visitors from neighbouring regions to our stores. It is more important than ever that we follow public health measures and I am hopeful that residents outside our region stay home or shop for essentials in their own community.”

Instructions issued by Dr. Meghani are intended to supplement the Regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA). Today’s instructions require that that all persons who own and/or operate one or more shopping malls and/or one or more retail stores in Halton region manage and actively monitor capacity to maintain adequate physical distancing. This is in addition to public health measures and regulations already in place

Dr. Meghani is also reminding all residents of their civic responsibilities to protect themselves and others.

“Patrons are also responsible for following all rules and protecting each other. In addition to wearing your mask, if you are shopping in person please keep a two metre (six foot) distance from others at all times,” Dr. Meghani added.

“This means being patient and courteous when shopping, waiting your turn to select items at grocery stores, following the directional arrows marked in store aisles, staying two metres apart in all line-ups and accepting that your trip may take a little longer than usual. Please take your responsibilities seriously and please continue to be kind to one another.”

This isn’t the first lockdown we have experienced.  We have been down this road before – so we know what we have to do.  Let’s just make sure we do it.

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Hospital iissuing approved masks to everyone entering the hospital.Mask a MUST

News 100 redBy Staff

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When you next enter the Joseph Brant Hospital you will be given a mask to wear.

You may be wearing one of those snazzy decorative masks that are as cute as all get out.

Doesn’t appear to matter – the hospital administration wants everyone to wear the mask they give you as long as you are a visitor to the hospital.

 

JBH mask notice

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