Medical Officer of Health uses graphs to tell a sad story - we did this to ourselves.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 27the 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Region of Halton held a very lengthy meeting yesterday.

One of the reports they responded to was an update from Dr. Hamidah Meghani who produced a number of charts that were on the mind boggling level.

Have a look:

timeline

Dr. Meghani set out a time line showing her audience what we have been through.

graph

The slope of the graph in October and November was very troubling for the medical community. They found that the public was not listening to the steps they had to take – daily.

where they got it

Where were people getting the infections? Dr. Meghani told her audience that the virus was not being passed around at the school level. Students were bringing it to the schools from their homes.

work place breakout

There were a number of workplace outbreaks in Halton. One impacted people who lived in four different Public Health jurisdictions. Tracing at that level of complexity proved to be a major challenge.

cumulative deaths

There is something so very stark about this graph. Deaths were close to flat from May to October – then they sky-rocked. Those deaths were due to a society that would not exercise the personal discipline needed by everyone during a crisis.

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A treat - something to enjoy on one of those evenings you would be out during the Festive Season

News 100 redBy Staff

November 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Get your Fall Party in a Box before they’re gone!

Brant fall party box

A treat – something to enjoy on one of those evenings you would be out during the Festive Season

We could all use something to celebrate and our Fall Party in a Box has everything you need for a cozy night at home or as a special holiday gift for friends and family.

Each curated party box contains locally sourced luxury items including a variety of gourmet items and a custom live-edge charcuterie board, VQA wine, premium chocolates and much more!

Special thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, TD Bank.

Boxes are going fast so order today!  More info on the order link below

Order Now!

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Public school board invites three year old's to the virtual classroom world

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is this a sign of the way education is going to be delivered in the decades ahead?

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) has put out a call to all three year olds offering them an opportunity to learn about Kindergarten through a virtual experience.

Families are invited to learn about starting Kindergarten and sign up to receive a welcome package.

Starting school is a big step for children and parents/guardians, and the Halton District School Board wants to make that transition as smooth as possible said the HDSB in a statement released yesterday.

Students at Lincoln Centennial public school. Ontario school boards are struggling to find low-cost options to school additions to accommodate full-day kindergarten. Some options may include bussing kids. Reading are Heyley Ta and Zeynep Coskan-Johnson. Feb 21 2013. Bob TYmczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/QMI AGENCY

Is this model of early education about to disappear ?

This fall, the HDSB is welcoming future students and their families to a virtual Kindergarten experience at kindergarten.hdsb.ca to learn more about making the first school experience a happy one.

Due to current public health restrictions, traditional in-person Kindergarten Open Houses are not possible this year. Instead, the HDSB has created a virtual experience for three-year olds and their families.

At kindergarten.hdsb.ca, three-year olds can explore a Kindergarten classroom to see what their future classroom might look like next September. There are videos to watch, pictures to view and fun activities for kids. Parents/guardians can learn about the Kindergarten program at the HDSB, play-based learning, community resources in Halton and before-and-after school care. Families can also sign-up to receive a welcome package from the HDSB including a free children’s book.

screen-time-and-students-banner

Is this the classroom of the future?

Registration for Kindergarten begins in January 2021 and will be by appointment only (in-person and/or virtual) through the school your child will attend. Further information will be shared in the new year. To begin Kindergarten in September 2021, children must be four years old by Dec. 31, 2021 for Junior Kindergarten (Year 1) and must be five years old by Dec. 31, 2021 for Senior Kindergarten (Year 2).

Come September of 2021 the HDSB will have a new Director of Education as well. Stuart Miller advised the Board of Trustees recently that he would be retiring in August.

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Burlington Mayor Asks Residents to Stay in their Regions During Lockdown, Support Local Businesses Through Online Shopping & Curbside Pickup

News 100 redBy Staff

November 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is asking the people of Burlington to stay within the Region of Halton during the lockdown period that applies to people in Peel and Toronto.

There may well be people in Peel and Toronto who will want to come to Halton municipalities to shop.

Mayor Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

I have received many recent requests from residents to take action on people travelling from lockdown areas into Burlington to patronize our shops and services.

In these challenging times, I stand with other mayors across Ontario, including in the Region of Halton, Mayor Rick Bonnette of Halton Hills, in asking residents to stay in their own communities for the time being.

In October 2020, Burlington MPP Jane McKenna and I issued a statement asking residents to stay in their communities and that message is still relevant today.

Your local businesses need you now, more than ever. Consider shopping online, curbside pickup and purchasing gift cards to give those businesses hope and support heading into the new year.

The City of Burlington has no jurisdiction to prevent travel between regions. We do recognize that some people will need to travel for essential reasons, such as work, school, or medical or other appointments. We are asking everyone to limit non-essential trips outside your local region.

We do know some businesses have already taken voluntary steps to reduce visits between regions. Some gyms, for example, have suspended membership travel privileges; some restaurants have asked for identification and will only seat members of the same household together.

We thank them for these voluntary, preventative measures that are aimed not only at doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19 across regions, but also to protect their own staff and other customers.

We encourage people to check with your intended destination by phone or through their website before visiting so that you are well-informed of their health precautions and protocols ahead of time.

We know many of our residents who work in front-line retail or other services, often at minimum wage, are concerned about their own health and safety with an influx of potential customers from lockdown areas with much higher rates of COVID-19 infection and spread. We understand these concerns and ask everyone to consider these workers and their families before travelling to regions outside their own.

We continue to ask our Burlington residents to limit your own trips to essential outings only and to limit contact with anyone you don’t live with. To individuals in our city living alone, we echo the Province’s message of choosing one household to be in contact with.

We need to slow the spread of COVID-19 and can do this together by staying home and staying local.

 

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First Annual Diwali Food Drive

News 100 redBy Staff

November 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

DiwaliFoodDrive

Donations were collected from HRPS members (sworn and civilian) throughout the region.

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has completed its first annual Diwali Food Drive.

The event was organized by the HRPS South Asian Internal Support Network and donations were collected from HRPS members (sworn and civilian) throughout the region between November 2 and November 12, 2020.

Kudo’s to the police for taking the initiative to do something to meet the needs of a community that isn’t as fully integrated as it could be.

The food collected was donated to local food banks in Milton, Halton Hills, Oakville and Burlington (see attached photo).

The HRPS looks forward to turning the Diwali Food Drive into an annual HRPS tradition.

The HRPS would also encourage residents to make donations to local food banks throughout the year as they are able to.

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The impact Covid19 has had on the Joseph Hospital

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

COVID has changed everything.

Brant Join the JoyIf you think the changes it has made in your life – think for a moment about the changes it has made in the medical community.
The Joseph Brant Hospital talks about the impact the virus has had on their operations:

COVID-19 has changed our lives in immeasurable ways. From physical distancing to face coverings and social bubbles to self-isolation it has been a year unlike any other.

And despite it all, our collective appreciation for your support of Joseph Brant Hospital has been consistent through it all.

Brant impact report

We are pleased to share the impact your support has had in our COVID-19 Impact Report.

 

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Burlington Food Bank finds that their stats paint a disturbing picture.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington Food Bank, which by the way doesn’t get a dime from the city or as much as a nickel from the Regional government which handles social issues, has run into a situation that is new for them.

“We’ve NEVER had to purchase food at this time of year before and now it’s just another new norm,” said Scot Cameron.

The local food drives make a difference.

Bailey Food Bank March 31-20

Upwards of 30 households a day get a food delivery from the Food Bank

“Just looking at our recent stats, and comparing this year’s food donations to the last couple of years. We felt that since we have missed out on all of the annual (larger) food drives that our numbers must be much lower however, in fact, we’ve realized even more donations this year than ever before.

“We just didn’t see it because our supplies have been going out just as fast as we get them in the door. In the past we would see neatly placed and stocked up shelves ready to go around this time of year. And of course we are helping a greater number of people now.

“All of the smaller, local drives have had an immense effect on what we are doing here. You really are making a difference when families need it most. Even if you are just dropping off a bag at your local grocery store or fire hall, it makes a huge difference right now.

“If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help PLEASE have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at their door or make arrangements to pick it up through our curb-side pickup option. If you live in Burlington, we are here to help. Don’t struggle – give us a call.

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Very credible citizen points to some sloppy prevention practices at Jo Brant.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

We received a comment recently from a reader that is very disturbing.

We have chosen not to identify the woman but can verify that she is very credible.

Here is what she had to say:

“I had an appointment last week at a nearby medical center. When I arrived, I was told to call the number posted on the door and wait in my car until someone came to find me.

“Once I was escorted inside, my mask was checked, my temperature was taken and I was led to the doctor’s office.  In contrast today, I went to Joseph Brant for a scheduled procedure.

“Entering through the north doors, I found people wandering in and out randomly. The question check was quick, no instructions were given as far as hand sanitizer and I was left to wander the hallways to find the location of the unit I was to visit.

“In my opinion, the hospital must do a better job of screening those who are required to visit this facility in these difficult times.”

The Joseph Brant Hospital has a regrettable history of sloppy prevention practices.  We thought the lesson had been learned.  Time for the hospital Board members to ask some hard and direct questions, and for the Medical Officer of health to visit and underline what this pandemic requires of the medical community.

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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Amateur radio is something those looking for a something to keep them occupied might consider

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Figuring out what to do with the time we have on our hands is going to be a bit of a challenge for some people.

The Burlington Amateur Radio Club sent us a note saying – Hello – we’re here!

They report that there is a surging interest in Amateur Radio all over the world.

RADIO IN dUBAI

Yathiraj Chintagunta

Today’s Amateur Radio is not what their grandfather’s ham radio was all about. The Burlington Amateur Radio Club (BARC) offers an on-line course which became particularly interesting to Yathiraj Chintagunta who was stranded in Dubai unable to return to his home in Mississauga. His “handle” is now VE3GYP.

Amateur radio is a fascinating hobby that frequently becomes essential for people in some parts of the world when there is a disaster and normal forms of communication are not available.

If you’re at all interested get in touch with Rod Clifton, ve3iso@gmail.com • 905-335-0267 or Hugh McCully, Education Director.

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Land just to the north of City Hall where Cenotaph stands to be named Veteran Square

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

November is seen as the time when we think more seriously about veterans from the wars we have fought.

Remembrance Day wreaths - dozens at cenotaph

The space to be named Veteran Square

Yesterday City Council accepted a request from the Burlington Legion to name the area to the immediate north of City Hall on Brant Street where the Cenotaph is located and forever call the space Veterans Square.

There will be signage on the location with the new name.

Bob Ankrett spoke for the Legion and mentioned something this reporter didn’t know – that there are two Vimy Ridge oak trees on the site.

During the discussion Council talked in terms of using the word veteran to apply to first responders in the future  as well

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Joseph Brant Hospital updates their caregiver and support person presence guidelines

News 100 redBy Staff

November 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Joseph Brant Hospital is updating its caregiver and support person presence guidelines effective today. The following statement was released by the hospital:

An architects rendering of the new entrance to the Joseph Brant Hospital whch will now face the lake. The entrance will be off LAkeshore Road with the new parking lot just to the west of the hospital.

An architect’s rendering of the new entrance to Joseph Brant Hospital. 

Joseph Brant Hospital is updating its caregiver and support person presence guidelines effective November 24, 2020, in accordance with the regional approach during COVID-19. Our hospital recognizes that caregivers and support persons are essential partners in care. We continue to perform surgical and out-patient clinical care, including emergency care, and are committed to maintaining a safe environment for staff and visitors.

The updates are as follows:

• Approved caregiver and support person(s) may visit on consecutive days as opposed to the even and odd room number stipulations that were previously in effect
• Patients may change the name(s) of designated caregiver or support person(s) after 14 days if required

Please note that along with these updates, the following visitor limitations remain in effect:

• In-patients: Up to two caregivers/support persons (18+) identified by the patient may visit during visiting hours (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Only one caregiver/support person will be permitted on site at any given time and designated caregivers must ensure this by coordinating their visits.

• Ambulatory Care (out-patients): Only the patient should be attending an outpatient appointment due to the need to maintain physical distancing. If the patient is frail or very ill and requires assistance, one family member/caregiver is permitted. Attending caregivers/support persons need to be approved in advance by clinic staff.

• Emergency & Urgent Care: Visitors are not permitted except under exceptional circumstances. Please see our website for the most up-to-date information.

• Patients who are pregnant/in labour/postpartum: Labouring women may be accompanied by a single care partner during labour, birth and postpartum. The care partner can stay overnight with in and out privileges. Visitors are not permitted.

Before planning your visit, please carefully review our hospital’s visitor policy on our website to help provide the safest possible hospital experience. All visitors must wear a mask at all times and consumption of food is not permitted in patient rooms. Any food brought in for a patient must be individually packaged and not shared.

Whenever possible, we encourage patients to connect with their loved ones by telephone and video. Telephone and WiFi are free for patients and iPads are available to help keep them connected.

For more information, please visit the hospital’s COVID-19 information on their website.

 

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Smoking and Vaping in Public Places now Prohibited

News 100 redBy Staff

November 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a resolution passed at regional Council where it was agreed that each municipal council would agree ro pass the resolution as well – which got us to:

Whereas on July 15, 2020 Halton Regional Council approved Report MO 15-20 – Smoking and Vaping in Public Places and enacted Halton Region By-law 40-20, to Prohibit Smoking and Vaping in Public Places within the Regional Municipality of Halton; and

Whereas pursuant to the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c.25, Section 115, (5) when a smoking in public places by-law from an upper tier municipality is passed, a majority of councils of all its lower municipalities must pass a resolution giving their consent, representing a majority of all electors in the upper tier municipality;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Council for the Corporation of the City of Burlington consents to the passage and implementation of Halton Region By-law 40-20, to Prohibit Smoking and Vaping in Public Places within the Regional Municipality of Halton.

No mention in the resolution as to how this will be enforced and if there are fines involved.

 

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People cancelling medical procedures at Brant hospital

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 20th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The news that there was a Covid19 outbreak in part of the Joseph Brant Hospital earlier this week has resulted in some people cancelling their medical procedures.

The hospital Chief of Staff, Dr. Ian Preyra, said in a video message that the hospital is doing everything possible to keep everyone safe.

Some patients are starting to cancel or delay their medical procedures, which can pose a serious risk to their health. The hospital “would like to assure our community that our hospital is still safe to visit and we continue to perform surgical and out-patient clinical care, including urgent, life-saving procedures and other emergency care.”

There was no word on the condition of those who contracted Covid19.

Related news story:

Covid19 outbreak at hospital

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Small Covid19 outbreak at Joseph Brant Hospital: 3 case workers and 1 patient now fully isolated.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Three health care workers and one patient on 7 South 100 (7S100) at Joseph Brant Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. In consultation with Halton Public Health, a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared on this Medicine inpatient unit.

Joseph Brant hospital rendering

Covid19 outbreak on the 7 South wing

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are working closely with Halton Public Health to monitor all patients, staff and physicians who had direct contact with those infected with COVID-19.

All patients on the units, along with staff and physicians who have been exposed, are being contacted and tested. The affected health care workers are currently in isolation at home, and will not return to work until they have completed the self-isolation period and are asymptomatic.

Additional important measures have been taken to protect the health and safety of our patients, families or care providers, staff and physicians, including:

• Enhanced daily deep cleaning on the unit
• Monitoring patients for any new symptoms, especially fever, cough and shortness of breath. Tests will be immediately ordered for patients should they develop COVID-19 symptoms
• Closing 7S100 to visitors, with very limited exceptions. Family members and caregivers are asked to work with the patient’s care team to discuss arrangements for exceptional visits.

These enhanced protocols will remain in place for the duration of the declared outbreak, then reassessed on an ongoing basis with Halton Public Health to minimize further risks in the hospital and throughout our community.

 

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Mirth and Music put on Hold Until Normalcy Returns

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Robert Missen announced yesterday that the November 21st Mirth and Music concert until has been postponed.   Halton County is now under a red alert.

Missen, the man who put the show together and was going to perform as well, said “As soon as we can reschedule it we will do so, patrons will of course have first refusal for future tickets.

Related news story:

Mirth and Music to be heard at Port Nelson United Church

 

 

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Covid19 and Mother NAture - there is a connection and Burlington Green wants to hear from you and your experiences

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We sometimes wonder how money moves around in this city.

Burlington is a very wealthy city with small pockets of poverty and people who struggle to meet their basic needs.

Rents are very high.

The plus side of wealth is the people that have it in Burlington are very good about sharing it.

The Burlington Foundation handles many of the endowments that families have created. The Foundation is good at spotting where needs are and going back to those who can donate and asking for funds.

One of the recent asks resulted in a Pandemic Response Fund that handed out the second phase of their planned program.

Burl Green nature artBurlington Green was the recipient of one of the grants. They have used the funds they were given to put together a program: Nature Friendly Burlington initiative that will connect more of the community to local green space.

The Nature Friendly Burlington initiative will connect more of the community to stewardship opportunities and to a multitude of benefits nature experiences provide.

With the program structure in place the folks at Burlington Green want to hear from you

They want to know how you’ve been connecting with nature during COVID.

These are stressful time – there are more questions than answers on the minds of most people.

We are moving into a significant festive season – and it is going to be very different.

How do we cope- what supports are there out there for every demographic.

Burlington Green likes using a contest approach to draw responses from the community. There is a chance to win an eco-prize – you are automatically entered into a draw when you let them know how you’ve been connecting with nature during COVID.
Their core question is: For many of us, 2020 has been a difficult year. And many of us have turned to nature for solace, escape, refuge, and fun too! How have you enjoyed nature during COVID?

You get to the question and the opportunity to tell them what you do by CLICKING here.

 

 

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'You would be forgiven if you did not know what was going on'

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

On a CBC radio program earlier today Melissa Lastman, a strategist with Enterprise Canada said:  She added later that many people feel “Nobody is telling us why”.

We are getting a lot in the way of numbers – nothing comforting in any of them.

1487 new cases in Ontario
538 for Toronto
88 active cases in Halton – 16 deaths in the Region.

Tiered Regional approachAnd we are now in a “red” code which the Mayor seems to be comfortable with as she struggles to breath some life into the hospitality sector.

She is pushing a big stone up a hill.

The virus is in the community – that is a fact. How far it gets to go is up to us.

We have a Premier who is loath to shut things down – it isn’t in the way he thinks or acts. He is a business person – the doors don’t get closed.

At a Standing Committee Council was focused on getting a little closer to normal and beginning to open up a little. There were some really good ideas and the mood of council was upbeat.

Then the move into a Red Control Zone.  Council and Staff didn’t seem to be fully aware of just what the numbers were really telling us.

ppe

The province today announced significant changes in the way PPE is sourced.

There is a bigger picture and a bigger responsibility that no one seems to fully understand or prepared to do all that much about.
At Council next week they will decide if the second round of $125,000 funding for PPE is to go forward.

There is now a very vigorous debate within the medical community. The province appears to be prepared with new infections just as long as there aren’t too many.

There is a new group of medical professionals who urge that a 0 growth rate be put in place and that we shut down as much as possible until that level is reached.

We need to do more to get this virus under control is the sentiment that is being heard.

long termcare 29 dead

A reported 29 deaths at this Long Term Care residence

No one at the political level is prepared to say that Christmas will be different – just how much is the big question.

The Canadian Medical Association has said that “we are very close to a tipping point”. This is a voice that needs to be heard.

Something that has to be said as well: We should be ashamed of what we have let happen in the long term care homes.

There is a report of one home in which 80% of the residents are infected.

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Burlington Collision Reporting Centre Re-opens

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The Halton Regional Police have re-opened our Burlington Collision Reporting Centre, and modified the hours of operation for our Oakville Collision Reporting Centre.

HRPS crestEffective immediately, the Collision Reporting Centre located at 3800 Constable Henshaw Blvd. in Burlington has re-opened. It will be accessible to the public seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Collision Reporting Centre located at 95 Oak Walk Drive in Oakville remains open Monday to Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. To report a collision on a Saturday or Sunday, please visit the Burlington Collision Reporting Centre.

There will be strict adherence to public health directives while in police facilities, including sanitizing your hands on entry, maintaining adequate physical distancing, and wearing a mask or face covering.

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Covid19: New Region Restrictions not far enough or fast enough

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

November 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Nov 13, the Ford government announced that Halton region will be added to the list of regions in the “red” zone, effective Nov 16. After a Toronto Star story exposed that the government ignored health experts’ recommendations and amplified the requirements for inclusion to red restrictions by 4x, they announced a new set of guidelines that will include Halton into the most restrictive conditions that currently exist in Ontario.

Unfortunately, even these restrictions are too little to seriously impact the spread of COVID-19 within our community given the explosive increase in cases and positivity ratings during the last month. The best course of action would be for the government to fund a complete two week shut down of all non-essential businesses so that Halton and other communities have a chance to fight the spread of COVID-19. Without decisive action now, we will be forced into a second, lengthy lockdown that will threaten the economic recovery that our region has worked so hard to build.

Covid cases for the region

Regional Public Health data for November 11th

Over the week of Nov 5-11 Halton region had a rate of 54.9 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. The Region also has a positivity rate of 4.4%. These are alarming stats, and indicators that the current efforts in the Region are not sufficient to contain the spread of the virus. There is reason for concern however that the new measures to be implemented on Nov 16 will also be insufficient in stopping the spread. As an example, Peel region is currently under even more restrictive measures than what the “red” zone mandates and yet has seen its cases increase exponentially. People are fatigued with social gathering restrictions and will only follow guidelines if stringently enforced, not if they are merely recommendations.

Controlling the spread of COVID is essential to the health of our community. Beyond spread within the Burlington community, there is also a localized outbreak at Tansley Woods Retirement Home. To date 35 residents and 11 staff members have been infected with the virus. As of Nov 13, 7 of these residents have died. This is too terrible an impact within our community to ignore. Without quickly imposed strong measures in place, we risk further institutional outbreaks that will endanger our most vulnerable populations.

McKenna + Drummond

Andrew Drummond talking to Jane McKenna at an all candidates meeting during the last provincial election.

On October 24, Burlington MPP Jane McKenna co-authored a public letter to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health referring to the minimal restrictions in place at that time. “These measures are working.” she said. This was completely untrue. We now know that holding back on necessary restrictions then allowed the virus to spread virtually unchecked within our community. It is critical that those mistakes not be repeated again. We need a stronger set of restrictions with rigid enforcement or we risk our region suffering the same fate as Peel with more than 400 cases every day.

The COVID pandemic has to date caused a massive amount of damage to the Burlington economy. Countless small and medium businesses in Burlington have struggled. Many have closed and many more have been forced to move. And throughout, there has been very little support from the provincial government. The federal government has offered a significant amount of support towards businesses and employees affected by the economic downturn. But the province has been hesitant to provide even meager additional supports. That has to end.

According to the Ontario government, 97% of direct support for COVID impacted people and businesses has come from the federal government with only 3% coming from Ontario itself (https://www.fao-on.org/en/Blog/Publications/fed-prov-response-2020). Ontario needs to step up and have a plan for the long term health of our economy. Preventing shutdowns now risking future COVID outbreaks is short-sighted. We need the government to actually support our businesses through the short term so they can rebound through what is to come.

Burlington, Halton, and Ontario need to beat this wave of COVID-19. Our community cannot afford another week or month of the indecisive wait and see approach from our leaders. But our small and medium businesses cannot afford to take this hit by themselves. The Ontario government must finally step up and give our business community the support that it needs to shut down in a controlled manner, before we are forced to do so in a panic.

Tiered Regional approach

Burlington is currently in the red zone – Control

The current measures do not go far enough. It is a continuation of the conflicting direction and expectation that most people will take additional measures on their own initiative. That is not good enough, we need better. Even the “red” zone guidelines are conflicting in their expectations. The strong recommendation is that no one leave their homes except for essential travel (work, school, etc.). However, there are guidelines set as to how house league sports are to conduct themselves (no games, practices only). Is house league sports really an essential activity worth risking our community’s health?

Why have guidelines for it if everyone is supposed to stay home except for essentials? Mall food courts are restricted to 10 seated guests. The food court at Mapleview almost certainly has to close under those restrictions. So where is the support for those businesses? Every recommendation from the government in the last three months has been politicized and constantly modified to the point that neither citizens nor businesses are sure what the exact advice is anymore.

These conflicts are only examples of the conflicted, unclear, and indecisive leadership shown by the government during this crisis. They are so invested in protecting businesses in the immediate short term that they can’t or won’t plan for what is necessary in the medium term. Burlington needs a decisive shut down in order to protect our community and to ensure that all of our efforts in the past six months were not in vain. Burlington has worked too hard for too long to suffer through more indecision and half measures. The time is now for decisive action to ensure that our community has a chance to build the recovery we need.

Andrew Drummond is a Burlington resident.  He was the NDP candidate during the last provincial election.

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How did Council and City Administration miss the Regional Health data?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

City Council has a cycle of meetings for each month.

They hold Standing Committee meetings at which there is usually vigorous debate on Staff Reports.

Then a Council meeting at which the results of the debate get approved (or not approved) which results in a bylaw that governs what we can and can’t do.

Sheila Jones - in group

While supported by good staff – these are the brains and executive capacity that keep the Emergency Coordinating Group ahead of major problems.

We are currently in a mode of government where the real power is in the hands of the Emergency Control Group. (Council is involved, heavily involved, but the ECG does have the power to call the shots.)

The Emergency Control Group was the result of a decision made by the province that required every municipality to create an emergency control group.

Each month Council gets a “Service Re-design” report in which the ECG sets out program changes and modifications.

On Thursday Council heard a report from the Parks and Recreation Department on the Community Winter 2021 Opportunities for Recreation Services.

In the Executive Summary of the report, Staff said “…there is still a degree of uncertainty regarding the spread of COVID-19…”.

Tim-Commisso-finger-up-hard-eyesThere was no comment from the City Manager on just what that “degree of uncertainty” was; there was mention of the costs involved in the proposals that were put forward.

There were ideas and proposals for Outdoor Skating,  Holiday Skates, Holiday Activation, and Winter Activation all with numbers attached setting out what it would cost and require in the way of staffing resources.

The Parks and Recreation people were asked to get more solid numbers on the costs. I suspect the Parks and Recreation people were a little taken aback at just how keen council seemed to be with most of their ideas.

That was Thursday.

On Friday the Province had taken a harder look at the numbers and moved all of Halton into a Red Zone, effective Monday (why the delay?) with a clear threat for a tough lock down later in the week.

It seemed as if Burlington City Council and the senior city administration people and the provincial leadership were singing from different hymn books.

City Manager Tim Commisso has some very smart people working with him – he frequently refers to his lead person on just what the province is doing and keeping him up to date on what is coming out of the Regional Public Health office saying that he couldn’t do his job without that person.

So here we were with Burlington sailing ahead with what sounded like good plan for giving the public things to do – the Santa traveling about the city on a fire truck was particularly neat –an innovative way to make up for the cancellation of the Santa Claus parade.

I couldn’t reconcile what Burlington was setting out to do with what the Province did on Friday.

I decided to look at the Regional Public Health data – something I now wish I had done much earlier.

Gazette resources are limited and I just didn’t keep a close eye on the data.

It was a shocker – there is a link below to the piece we published earlier today on what we learned.

The rolling average for the Region is 50 new infections each day with a positivity rate of 5: that is not a sustainable number.  The hospital cannot manage those levels.

The concern is this: Did the city manager not know about the Regional data? Was that information not passed along to him?

Council in memory

No mention of the Regional Health data from this bunch on Thursday

Did members of Council stop looking at the Regional data? Not one of them made any mention of what the Region was telling anyone who took the time to visit their site.

Don’t expect anyone to say much about the eyes being taken off the ball – but hopefully we can expect a different tone at the meeting of City Council on the 23rd.

We could be in a total lock down by then.

Related news story

Regional data

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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