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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The data is not good and the resources are beginning to be stretched - if the numbers get worse things will be very painful

News 100 redBy Staff

November 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The details are always in the data.

Burlington data for 13 Region

The blue line might be a little on the mis-leading side.

On balance the Regional Public Health office has been doing a very good job testing and tracing COVID-19 infections. There are certainly instances of situations where things went off the rails – but the people doing this work have been working flat out. It is a seven days a week operation putting in the hours that it takes to test and trace.

Covid cases for the region

These are the numbers for the Region. How close are we to capacity in terms of what the hospitals can handle?

Testing and tracing tells the Region what we are up against.  When the data is rolled up to the province we get to see the bigger picture.

Local data explains the part we play in all this.  The numbers are not good.

Lab testing

The percent positivity is the critical number. We are now very close to be unable to control the spread of the virus.

Spread and containment

These numbers are not sustainable. That Effective reproduction number is what we want – not what we have. The Region is currently at a reproduction number of 5

 

capacity graphics

With a seven-day moving average of 50+ cases a day it isn’t hard to see where we are headed.

 

The numbers on where we are with hospital capacity are approaching critical.

If the infections increase the number of people who enter hospitals and those who are in ICU and perhaps needing ventilation – bumps up against the number of ventilators available. As of Friday there were 8 classrooms in the Region closed with 11 people defined as infected.

The front line workers within the medical system are close to exhaustion – they have been at it since March with not much in the way of let up for them.

The Friday announcement that the four municipalities in the Region were now in a code Red status and the Premier suggesting that the province might well go into a second lock-down that will last longer than the first.

New Zealand chose to do a total lock down in August – winter time for them.  Their lock down lasted more than 100 days.  Canada is approaching its winter and our numbers are rising – because we did not heed what the data was telling us – the very mixed messaging didn’t help.

Is the writing on the wall?

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City recreation and facilities to remain open with new restrictions

News 100 redBy Staff

November 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday, the province announced Halton Region, including Burlington, will move into the Red (Control) Phase with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19. This takes effect on Monday, Nov. 16 and will be in place for a minimum of 28-days.

City of Burlington facilities and recreation programming can remain open with new restrictions in addition to ones already in place. Recreation Services staff are contacting user groups, renters and individuals affected by these changes.

New restrictions for City facilities and recreation as a result of moving in the Red (Control) Phase include:

• 10 people maximum for indoor programs such as ice pads, gymnasiums, pools, etc.

• 25 people maximum for outdoor programs

• Drop-in recreation programs will have a maximum capacity of 10 people. This includes Aquatic Fitness, recreational swimming and skating, lap swims, etc.

• Swimming lessons and indoor pickleball are cancelled

no no no

A lot of no,no coming out of city hall. Expect more of this in the days and weeks ahead.

• No spectators permitted at sports and recreational fitness facilities except for parent/guardian supervision of children

• All other program participants will receive targeted communication
These new restrictions will impact program providers in the following ways:

• For all team sport, indoor and outdoor game-play is no longer permitted

• Teams in City facilities and on City fields can adjust their programming to training and skill development with a maximum of 10 people indoor and 25 outdoor. Program participants are encouraged to reach out to their organization for additional information

• If you are a participant in a non-City program, please connect with your organization to understand how this may impact you

• No spectators permitted at sports and recreational fitness facilities except for parent/guardian supervision of children

• No contact permitted for team or individual sports

• Limit duration of stay to 90 minutes

• Require active screening, contact information and attendance for all patrons

• No live performances. Performing arts rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted
• Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barrier
Existing restrictions that will remain for City facilities and recreation include:
• Physical distancing
• Mandatory face coverings
• Mandatory health pre-screening, pre-registration and online payment

Virtual programming, Active at Home is still available at burlington.ca/activeathome and offers a wide variety of activities.

Anyone with questions should follow-up with their sport provider or user group or you can call Recreation Services’ Customer service at 905-335-7738.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward added her position to the provincial announcement.

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“Today, the Province revised the thresholds for movement in its new COVID-19 Framework and moved Region of Halton into the Red (Control) level with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19. The new level allows most businesses to remain open with additional protocols and restrictions.

I support this measure along with the new thresholds given the new and concerning modelling that was released this week. The Halton Mayors and Regional Chair had previously requested that any additional restrictions be based on transparent health indicators. The new data shows Halton meets the criteria for this change to a new level.

I continue to ask our residents to please follow the updated restrictions and guidelines from our Medical Officer of Health that include limiting social gatherings to household members, limiting outings to essential trips, and continuing to wear masks when social distancing is not possible.”
recommend everyone to check out the videos and stay active and safe.”

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Get to know your mask really well - you will be using it when you next put on sun skin care products - Really!

News 100 redBy Staff

November 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We asked the Regional Medical Officer of Health for some detail on masks.

What kind of mask works best and how do you care for the masks that you purchase. And what should one be looking for when they are buying masks on-line.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Regional Medical Officer of Health

We didn’t get quite the answers we were hoping but what we did get was certainly detailed enough,

This is what your taxes are paying for:

Masks are most effective when they are worn correctly.

Wear a mask made of three layers, including a middle, filter layer for improved protection. Masks should be made of tightly woven materials such as cotton or linen. Two layer masks do not need to be discarded, instead consider making or buying a three-layered mask when it is time to replace your two-layer non-medical mask.

Wear a mask that fits well around your nose and mouth, without gaps at the sides (for example, cloth mask, balaclava, bandana, or scarf).

Clean your hands before putting on, taking off or adjusting your mask.

Touch only the straps when putting on and taking off a mask.

Avoid touching your mask while wearing it to avoid contaminating your hands.

mask hold by strings

Hold the mask by the strings

If reusable, store in a clean place and wash regularly.

Discard non-reusable masks in a lined garbage bin if damp, soiled or damaged, and wash your hands afterwards.

Do not leave discarded masks on the ground or in shopping carts.

Masks or face coverings with an exhalation valve do not filter virus particles when you breathe out. In order to protect others nearby, wear a non-medical mask, balaclava, bandana, scarf, cloth or other similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without leaving a gap between the face and the mask.

mask n95

High end face mask

Medical masks, such as N95 respirators, protect against respiratory droplets from others entering the nose or mouth. Medical masks are needed by healthcare workers for medical procedures and to care for individuals who have COVID-19.

Some employers (that do not provide health care services) may require staff wear medical grade masks in order to meet safety requirements.

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Bank closed due to Covid19 outbreak. It is out there - amongst us. Time for serious caution

News 100 redBy Staff

November 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Bank of Nova Scotia on Brant Street north of Caroline was closed for a short period of time due to two staff contracting COVID-19.

BNS sign

While difficult to read the sign sauntil November 30th

The Bank has re-opened with slightly reduced staff and after a through cleaning done by an outside third party contractor.

The virus is now working its way through the city.  It will not cease until stronger action is taken.

The province is expected to announce plans that came out of a Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Would a downtown mobility hub result in greater density on the east side of Brant Street? Would traffic from the core work itself to the Burlington GO station?

Brant Street, east side, north of Caroline.

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Remembrance ceremony will be virtual this year

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 11th, 2020

Burlington, ON

 

It won’t be the same.

Brant Street filled with people who have gathered at the Cenotaph to remember.

The pandemic has changed almost everything – so this year the Remembrance Day ceremony will take place virtually. People are being asked not to attend at the Cenotaph but instead to watch on-line through a live stream arranged by the Legion.

Legion event

Remembrance - crowd

Past Remembrance Day ceremonies have drawn crowds that filled Brant Street

 

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Rivers calls the Provincial Budget An Exercise in Creative Writing

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario government released its latest budget last week, though you might have missed it given all the attention in the media about the US election. And you’d be excused for not reading it, given that it’s such a voluminous manuscript. Though if you like fiction there was a good amount of unashamedly creative writing about how quickly and effectively the Ford government sprang into action to tackle the coronavirus last spring.

Extendicare HAlton Hills

The Extendicare facility in HAlton Hills has received numerous notices from the government – but has been allowed to remain operational.

But there were no apologies for how poorly the province actually responded to the crisis in long term care (LTC) homes, in failing to stock adequate supplies of PPE (personal protection equipment) or how it is failing to protect all the students being sent into crowded classrooms this year. And there was no thanks given to the federal government for having to send in the army to save our LTC residents. And let’s not forget the federal cash subsidies which have kept us afloat.

Nov prov budget

Provincial budget being presented in the Legislature.

There are a lot of numbers which add up to give us Ontario’s largest deficit ever. Big business gets another huge break on electricity thanks to the taxpayers. And there is something novel, a staycation, to encourage people to travel around the province in 2021. How can that make sense when Mr. Ford keeps telling us to stay home, rather than go about spreading the virus?

So that may be great news if you own and rent out your lakefront cottage. For renters, if you can afford the two or three thousand for a week, you’ll be entitled to 20% of the rental price back with your income taxes. Rent is a consumable why not just drop the PST? And why provide an incentive at all, given that cottage rentals sold out like hot cakes last year in the midst of the pandemic?

Back to the US election, America’s four year bad dream is finally coming to an end as Joe Biden prepares to replace Donald Trump as America’s next commander-in-chief But the nightmare continues, at least for the majority of Americans who voted to change the channel. They are tired of watching the COVID death toll continue to rise coincident with ever increasing infection rates, and no end in sight despite vague optimistic promises from Trump about a vaccine supposedly just around the corner.

virus testing

Testing and tracing to control the spread of the virus can’t effectively be done at this stage of the contagion, even in most of Canada.

One can only hope that the pandemic can bring Americans together in more ways than it has divided them. Still with over 100,000 new cases a day and an exponential contagion which can accelerate by a factor of two or three, that will require hard medicine. Testing and tracing to control the spread of the virus can’t effectively be done at this stage of the contagion, even in most of Canada.

Hard medicine is what China and New Zealand and some other nations used to virtually eliminate their viral transmission. It’s called a lockdown. Keeping people from spreading the virus to each other worked because the contagion’s preferred transmission route is close personal contact and hanging out in closed areas where the viral load can concentrate.

The lockdown also was working for a while in Canada and even the USA. New York, once the hardest hit with graphic images of bodies being stored in refrigeration trucks, got the contagion under control and flattened the curve of infections. And so did Ontario and Alberta and even Quebec.

cafe crowd - no six feet here

Convincing people to stay at home just isn’t working.

But then we got impatient. Lobbied by those who had been shut down, our leaders bowed to the bar, restaurant and gym owners’ demands. And to appear even-handed the advisories allowed larger public gatherings – weddings, funerals and church services. So the epidemic naturally came back with a vengeance. Call it a second wave, it is really just a revival of the contagion our leaders did not allow to die off the first time.

There is no question that Ontario’s hospitality and entertainment industries have been hurt. But collectively they make up about 3% of the provincial GDP – 6% if we generously count the upstream and downstream economy. If the choice is between keeping the gyms and bars closed or filling the emergency rooms and morgues which should we choose?

Our numbers have yet to reach the levels we see in the USA, but wait for it. On Sunday Ontario reported over 1300 new cases. There have been 150 outbreaks in long-term care homes, nearly 1000 cases per day (7 day average) and the largest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day. And Doug Ford has just loosened restrictions to the delight of the virus. Once our numbers parallel those in the USA does keeping the border closed even make sense?

So who is advising the Premier on this calamitous policy. He claims he is listening to his scientists. But they must not be talking to the medical experts on the front line like Dr. Irfan Dhalla, vice-president of physician quality at Unity Health in Toronto, who is also an associate professor at the University of Toronto and sits on provincial and federal committees related to the COVID-19 response. “It wouldn’t take much to put us on a path towards the kinds of outcomes we’re seeing in Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, many American states.”

Nov 9 COVID numbers ON

If this graph isn’t evidence enough – then we are in for a very hard winter.

It sure looks like all that pain we went through getting that curve flattened last spring was for nothing. Deja vu, again. And while it is up to all of us – we’re all in this together – we do expect leadership to navigate us all to safety. But at least we’ll get a tax break when we rent that summer cottage next year.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, 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 Budget –    More Budget –   Even More

Biggest Mistake –   Ford –     Virus Spread

Cottages –    School Infections

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Opening things up doesn't seem to be working for us - is it a matter of 'lives over livelihoods?'

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Hopefully, there are some hard questions being asked within the groups of people who track the new COVID-19 infections.

Saturday the number was 1132, this morning, Monday, the number was 1328.

The province had decided to open things up; created a new template that would advise the public what people could do and what they could not do.

Burlington’s city council has gone along with an idea that would let restaurants remain open during the winter months using outdoor tents

Deciding who would be allowed to open would be determined by an Outdoor Patio Task Force that would make decisions on a case by case basis. The Regional Medical Officer of Health is reported to be part of the Task Force.

All the numbers are moving in the wrong direction.

It has come down to “Lives verses livelihoods” was the way Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie put it.

Indeed that does appear to be what we are doing. Why?

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The kind of mask you wear now matters. Big question is: How do you know what kind of mask you are buying?

News 100 redBy Staff

November 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The following came from a CBC News broadcast.

Canada has quietly revised its guidelines on how COVID-19 spreads to include the risk of aerosol transmission, weeks after other countries and international health organizations acknowledged the airborne threat of the coronavirus.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) updated its guidance without notice this week, making mention of the risk of transmission from aerosols — or microscopic airborne particles — for the first time.

“SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks,” the updated guidance said.

“The droplets vary in size from large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes) near the infected person, to smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some circumstances.”

The federal agency’s guidelines previously said the virus spreads only through breathing in respiratory droplets, touching contaminated surfaces and common greetings like handshakes and hugs.

“We are continually reviewing new evidence and research as it emerges during the pandemic, and this new evidence guides our response to Canadians,” a spokesperson for PHAC said in a statement to CBC News late Wednesday.

cough aersol

Understanding what happens when people sneeze and what an infected person is spreading is now more important tan ever.

“We are committed to continuing to keep Canadians informed of the latest available scientific evidence and expert opinion, so they can make informed decisions to keep themselves and their family safe and healthy.”

‘Pretty major’ change

“This is pretty major,” said Linsey Marr, one of the top aerosol scientists in the world and an expert on the airborne transmission of viruses at Virginia Tech. “The big difference now is that ventilation is important — distancing alone is not enough.”

Related background information:

Droplets and aerosol transmission

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Regional Medical Officer of Health updates community on the new Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health released a statement yesterday afternoon.

To the Halton community,

On November 3, 2020, the provincial government announced the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

Tiered Regional approach

Burlington is at the PROTECT level of the five level Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

The framework takes a graduated approach that allows for additional public health measures to be introduced and removed incrementally. Each public health unit is placed in one of five levels (Prevent, Protect, Restrict, Control, and Lockdown) based on defined criteria, including weekly incidence rate and % positivity. The framework outlines public health and workplace safety measures for businesses and organizations, for each level.

Halton Region is currently listed in the Protect level within the framework, based on data for the week of October 26, 2020.

Levels will be confirmed by the province on Friday, November 6, 2020 and become effective on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

Halton residents and organizations will need to follow the public health measures outlined in the framework, effective November 7, 2020. Please note that the framework includes public health measures for fitness classes and team sports, and that the measures in the framework will replace the recommendations I provided on October 19, 2020 in my letter to the Halton community.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health

I continue to recommend:

• Limiting close contact to household members, and
• Limiting non-essential activities outside of the home.

Thank you again to everyone for taking public health measures seriously, and above all for being kind to one another. It is important to stay vigilant, and to consider the risks to yourself and your household as you plan your daily activities.

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Covid19 and the gaming industry - how is that sector working things out?

News 100 redBy Andre Malt

November 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is creating new challenges and opportunities for Canada’s gambling industry. While many of the country’s land casinos were closed, a growing number of Canadians engaged in online gambling — at home.

This is an exciting time for casino enthusiasts and for an online casino like Betnero, a licensed offshore site positioned to leverage its loyalty programs and welcome bonuses and attract new players.

Online Gambling and Social Gaming

Revenue gained by online casino gambling has helped to offset revenue lost by the decrease in offline gambling. With increased website traffic comes increased marketing data, growth and a younger demographic of casino customers.

masks casino 1

Pandemic issues have resulted in most casinos in Canada being shut down.

When the pandemic forced 114 land casinos in Canada to close over a 72-hour period in March, online gambling was a popular component of the global social gaming market.

The availability of online games and use of smartphones, improved advanced technology and skilled game developers are contributing to an industry of innovators.

Among the many challenges faced by land and online casinos is responsibility and sustainability.

From Crisis to Innovation and Sustainability

Research shows that because more people are at home, they’re spending more time playing games. However, the highest numbers point towards the youngest demographic: Generation Z.

Largely unemployed and living with their parents, Gen Z is an extremely active online customer who enjoys adding new streaming services to access new digital content, trying new media options that are now free as a result of the pandemic.

Online casino 2

Younger people are very comfortable wagering on line.

Younger players demand ethical business practices. Moving forward, the competitive advantage of an online casino will depend on delivering on its promise to put player health first.

It makes sense that business has been particularly good for large companies within the online gaming industry.

With operating revenues showing increase by 48 percent, reports of global expansion and “major new initiatives” to be launched in the near future, the pressure is on for other companies to up the ante.

Online Gambling with Enhanced User Experience?

The online gambling market is highly competitive. Success in the long term will come to those companies who embrace change and invest in enhanced user experience.

The uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 play a huge role in the health of the country and its economy. If the pandemic were to last another year, what will the land casinos and online casinos do for their customers?

The response of the gaming industry towards the increase in revenue now may determine its success in the long run.

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