//static.getclicky.com/js

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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

 

Return to the Front page

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

Return to the Front page

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?

Return to the Front page

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

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

Drive thru Covid testing discontinued - by appointment only

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Joseph Brant Hospital is making changes to its COVID-19 testing operations to better serve the Burlington community in colder weather.

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital is a little like the provinces economy: a little the worse for wear and tear and in need of a fix up. Problem is the economy has to get much better before the hospital refurbishment can go forward,

This is the entrance for Covid testing appointments.

Starting November 3, drive-through testing will be discontinued due to the cold weather and all COVID-19 testing will be conducted indoors at our Assessment Centre. This will help protect the health and safety of both the public and our staff as we continue to provide this important service over the winter months.

The Assessment Centre is easily accessed from the entrance on North Shore Boulevard, with signs directing visitors to the orange entrance doors and designated parking area. We ask that you arrive at your schedule time as parking is limited, and wait in your vehicle until the time of your appointment.

If you arrive without a vehicle, we ask that you approach the door at the time of your scheduled appointment and wait outside until a staff member greets you.

Please bring your Ontario health card and the heath cards of any family members who will be tested. You must wear a mask indoors that covers your nose and mouth, clean your hands and physically distance (2 metres or 6 feet) from others when waiting for your test.

Testing is by appointment only, and only for individuals who meet the provincial testing criteria. Please visit covid-19.ontario.ca for more information. Children under one year should go to their family health-care provider for COVID-19 testing.

Appointments can be made by visiting covidtesting.josephbranthospital.ca. Individuals using our online booking platform can now schedule their appointment from the available dates and times, as well as booking appointments for up to 3 family members who meet the provincial criteria. Instructions on how to access the Assessment Centre will be provided in a confirmation email. Please note that you will not be able to schedule appointments from 6 p.m. on Nov. 2 to 6 a.m. on Nov. 3 as we transition to our new online platform.

Appointments can also be made by calling 905-632-3737, extension 6550. We ask those individuals with accessibility needs to make their appointments by phone, so we can understand their specific needs and plan their visit accordingly. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Some pharmacies are also providing COVID-19 testing for individuals who are not showing symptoms and are eligible for testing as part of a targeted initiative as determined by the government or public health, such as residents, workers or visitors of long-term care homes.

About Joseph Brant 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.

It is the hospital the city waited years to to begin – then the citizens had to pay half of the cost which is normally a provincial responsibility.

Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) is a full service community teaching hospital serving more than 185,000 residents in the communities of Halton and Hamilton, including Burlington, Waterdown, Flamborough, Milton and Stoney Creek, with a skilled staff of 194 physicians, 1,911 full- and part-time staff and more than 700 volunteers.

In conjunction with McMaster University, JBH is a Clinical Education site, and designated as an Academic Community Teaching Hospital with an expanded campus which includes the seven-storey state-of-art Michael Lee-Chin & Family Patient Tower which features a new Emergency Department, 172 acute inpatient beds, 9 new Operating Rooms and post-anaesthetic care unit to support expanded medical, surgical and outpatient services. JBH is also a partner member of the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

 

 

orporate Communications
905-632-3737 ext. 2157
corporatecommunications@josephbranthospital.ca

Return to the Front page

Parks and Recreation working up a program that complies with Stage 2 of the ECG mandate

News 100 blue

By Pepper Parr

November 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Parks and Recreation is scrambling to stay ahead of the wave – a wave that keeps changing its shape and direction.

Chris Glenn, on the right, leads the PArks and Recreation department as Director and is tasked with the challenge of bringing the various organizations that use city property under a MAster Agreement that is consistently applied to everyone. It should have been done four years ago.

Chris Glenn, on the right, leads the Parks and Recreation department as Director. On his right is Denise Beard.

Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Glenn told council on Monday that his staff was preparing some ideas that they would be running by the Regional Public Health Unit and the other Halton municipalities hoping to be able roll out a slightly different set of rules that would allow for more recreation and program improvements that are Stage 2 compliant. The Region of Halton is in Stage 2 of its Emergency Control Group mandate.

Several council members and the Mayor said they were getting questions from residents asking why some of the recreational programs were changed – they wanted to see real data behind the decisions that were being made.

Glenn explained that he was working to make sure he was compliant with what the Medical Officer of Health was prescribing.

Behind all that trying to pull together was the threat of being pushed back to stage 2.

Glenn wants to see less of the sports that call for a lot of exertions – hockey was one example and move the effort to having physically softer programs – like yoga.

The objective was to permit recreational activities that kept people apart and not exerting themselves all that much.

More when the Parks and Recreation department comes back to the Standing Committee.

Return to the Front page

Council to consider if patios can stay in place during winter months.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 2nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Special meeting of City Council will take place this afternoon to decide if the temporary use of public property for restaurant patios should be extended to October 31st, 2021

The Covid19 pandemic has been disastrous for the hospitality and retail sectors – more so for the restaurants in the city.

Would allowing them to uses what is public space through the winter month’s help bring customers out?

Council will be considering a Staff Direction to:

Authorize Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, working in consultation with Director of Transportation, to approve extension of temporary restaurant patios and/or temporary retail space permissions on public property in connection with COVID-19 recovery to October 31,2021, subject to such criteria and conditions staff deem appropriate.

Currently, 40 patios have been approved on private property and 13 patios on City property in the Downtown.

Dickens with tent

This Elizabeth Street destination created space at the front of the restaurant. Clearing snow from the street will be a challenge.

Many restaurant owners have purchased or rented tents to provide covered dining experiences for their customers. Staff will provide a verbal update to Council on whether the 13 temporary patios on City owned lands intend to continue use of their patio and/or tent during the winter season. Halton Region is currently in Stage 3 of the Provincial COVID-19 Recovery Plan.

If the Province requires Halton Region to revert to Stage 2 business the result could have restaurants being restricted to only serving patrons outdoors until further notice from the Province.

In light of this risk, and with the winter months approaching, many restaurants have indicated intentions to operate their temporary outdoor patios throughout the winter months (November to April, inclusive).

Determining just what the risks are will be the focus of the debate. Snow clearing is another part of issue council has to face.

This citizen isn't smiling. Was she one of the hundreds that were basically locked in theoir homes during the five days of heavy winter weather because streets were not cleared?

The city is required to keep the streets clear of ice and snow.

Municipalities are required to maintain sidewalks and roads within their jurisdiction in a reasonable state of repair. There is a legislated Minimum Maintenance Standards that has to be met in regards to winter maintenance of sidewalks and roadways that includes monitoring and inspecting snow and ice accumulation on all sidewalks and roadways and deploying resources to ensure they are cleared within specified time limits.

The current patio configurations that were approved and put in place do not allow for mechanical snow clearing. It is strongly recommended that the current roadway set ups that block parking or the roadway be removed after Nov 15th. There is insufficient room for snow storage (the windrow of snow that comes off of the plow blade) and significant risk of damage to fencing and other structures in place.

Suggested time frame for removals is Nov 16thto 19th.Staff have also recommended that all sidewalks be open for mechanical snow clearing to meet the city’s obligations and reduce liability.

This is consistent with the both Oakville and Hamilton’s policy framework. Currently there are tents that have been erected on the edge of the sidewalk. This is problematic as there needs to be room for snow storage. It is recommended that 1 m or 3 ft of clearance be established

Return to the Front page

Medical Officer of Health is in an awkward situation: Advises us to limiting close contact to those within the household but makes no comment on dining in restaurants.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health wrote media earlier this week setting out and explaining why she asked the public to trim how they send their time and the places where they gather with other people.

“I appreciate the inquiries from the media and working together to ensure the public is informed in a timely manner. Through this statement, I am hoping to address your questions and provide a consistent message to you and the public.”

She is in an awkward situation.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health

She urged residents to “take additional steps to stop the spread, including limiting close contact to those within their household and limiting non-essential activities. I also recommended that team sports be limited to training only, that all indoor fitness classes be suspended, and that indoor dining take place only with those from the same household.”

But there was no word on restaurants – is it safe to have lunch at the places we like to dine?

The damage done to the hospitality sector is severe. They are hurting and that is very unfortunate. The city set up a grant program to help cover the additional costs of PPE. $2500.00 was available but there wasn’t enough money to give everyone that asked that amount.  $2500 doesn’t go very far.

The relaxation of restrictions and individual attention to public health measures over the summer has led to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, creating a concerning upward trend this fall. Although daily COVID-19 case counts fluctuate in Halton and elsewhere, the overall trends in Halton remain concerning.

The numbers province-wide are discouraging and if the current direction of the trend line holds winter is going to be very dark.

The development of a vaccine is being advanced – despite what that nut case south of us is saying the best date that is being published from reliable sources is maybe May of 2021.

“Public Health Units across the province have been working 24/7 to keep people safe and stop COVID-19 and we will continue that important work. Public Health Units will also continue to provide information to the Province daily on trends.

“Every individual action matters and can make a difference. Thank you to everyone for staying in this together, taking this seriously and above all for being kind and respectful of one another.”

The kid glove words from the MoH, who has been doing a very good job, fall a little short of the mark.

The Regional Public Health organizations now have very sophisticated tracking software.  What the public would like to see is:

Where are people getting infected?

Metrolinx - cleaning arm rest #1

GO train coaches get a scrub down at the end of each trip – mask wearing is not an option

At work?

While using public transit?

In restaurants?

At supermarkets?

The Public Health people know who has been infected.  The number of those infected based on a percentage of those tested is climbing – and that is not a good sign.

That 1042 number last Sunday was a shocker.  It has hovered in the 800 level since then yet the Mayors from the four municipalities in the Regions wrote the Premier and the Provincial Medial Officer of Health pleading not to be moved back into a Stage 2.

Would they prefer another solid lock down?

Everything we have seen and heard of Dr. Meghani backs up the reputation as a very proficient professional with a kind heart.

A little sternness in her voice could be used right now.

Hopefully she is working on the message she is probably going to have to give for the Christmas season.

 

Return to the Front page

Male Arrested for Human Trafficking Offences: Regional police changing the way these offences

Crime 100By Staff

October 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Human trafficking is a heinous crime that robs victims of the fundamental right to live free of violence and fear.

HRPS crestThere are times when we are unable to publish a fulsome media release regarding a human trafficking investigation because doing so would pose a personal risk to the victim. In these instances, the Halton Regional Police Service will publish a de-identified media release that outlines the arrest(s) made as a result of the investigation. No names. No residence details. We will, however, disclose the charges laid.

Each media release will also include key messaging that:

i) reinforces that trafficking is a violation of human rights and a criminal offence in Canada;

ii) encourages victims, and those who have reason to believe someone they know might be a victim of trafficking, to contact the Halton Regional Police Service; and

iii) provides a comprehensive list of community resources for those affected.

Our goals are two-fold: i) create an opportunity to connect those who are at-risk, or who may already be victims of human trafficking, with the resources and support they need and deserve; and ii) heighten the awareness of the general public that trafficking is not a ‘far away’ problem in the developing world, but rather, one that is happening right here in our region.

Male Arrested for Human Trafficking Offences
Earlier this month, the Halton Regional Police Service – Human Trafficking Unit became aware of a young (adult) female who had been the victim of human trafficking dating back to 2017. The trafficking took place across the Greater Toronto Area. As a result of the ensuing investigation, police were able to locate and arrest a male in his thirties. The male was charged with the following offences:

• Material Benefit from Sexual Services
• Procuring to Provide Sexual Services
• Procuring by Exercise Control
• Advertising Sexual Services

The accused was held in custody pending a bail hearing.

Upon arrest of the accused, the victim was referred by the Halton Regional Police Service to our Victim Services Unit, and to support agencies in the community.

For the protection of the victim, no additional details (including the name of the accused) will be provided to the media.

The Halton Regional Police Service firmly believes that every person has the right to feel safe in our community.

Victims of violence and/or sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service. The following is a list of valuable support services and resources in our region for victims of violence and/or sexual assault:

• Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777 ext. 5239 or by email at VictimServices@haltonpolice.ca
• Nina’s Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880
• Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)
• Radius Child & Youth Services 905-825-3242 (Oakville) or 1-855-744-9001
• Kid’s Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 (24-hour crisis line)
• THRIVE Counselling 905-845-3811 or 905-637-5256

Signs / Indicators of Human Trafficking
• Not being allowed to speak for themselves;
Not having control of their own money or cellphone;
• Suddenly having a new or second cell phone with a secret number;
• Being controlled by others and escorted at all times;
• Not being allowed to contact family or friends;
• Withdrawing from family and friends;
• Providing rehearsed answers to casual questions;
• Being secretive about their activities;
• Showing signs of abuse, such as bruising, cigarette burns, fractures, etc.
• Having a new boyfriend, girlfriend or friend who they won’t introduce to friends/family; and
• Having new items (clothing, jewelry etc.) outside their financial means.

What Should I Do if I Think Someone is a Victim of Trafficking
If there is immediate danger or if you suspect someone is being trafficked, call 9-1-1.

You may also call the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010.

The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline is a confidential, multilingual service, operating 24/7 to connect victims and survivors with social services, law enforcement, and emergency services, as well as receive tips from the public. The hotline uses a victim-centered approach when connecting human trafficking victims and survivors with local emergency, transition, and/or long-term supports and services across the country, as well as connecting callers to law enforcement where appropriate.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

Return to the Front page

Will Halton be moved back to Stage 2 this week?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is it time for a painful reality check?

Are we paying attention to the COVID-19 numbers?

1042 new cases identified in Ontario – highest number ever and the colder weather that will keep us inside more often has yet to really start.

Region graph Oct 25

We are in the beginning of a second wave – it was expected. How long will it last?

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna penned a letter to the Chief Medical Officer for the province urging him not to put Halton back into Stage 2. York, Peel and Toronto were moved into Stage 2 earlier in the month when their numbers kept climbing.

With Peel in Stage 2 there are reports of people from those communities driving into Halton for dinner at our local restaurants.

A tough question: Are restaurants essential?

More than 15 schools in Halton have reported infections – not huge numbers but infections nevertheless.

A Burlington MacDonald’s reported an infection; a very popular Oakville supermarket reported an infection.

Is it time to think in terms of mothballing the hospitality sector?

These are tough decisions that have to be made.

McKenna has asked the Provincial Medical Officer to hold off – isn’t that a decision that is made by the Halton Medical Officer of Health?  In her letter McKenna said: “In June, when we began to emerge from the lockdown, the advice given by our medical experts was to wait two weeks (the incubation period), before lifting any restrictions. When taken together with our decreasing case counts, there is no evidence to suggest that moving Halton to a modified Phase 2 will have any meaningful impact on reducing case counts. One thing that is certain, is that many people and businesses can not financially withstand another shutdown.”

Noteworthy is the fact that neither Oakville Mayor Rob Burton nor Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette signed the letter – perhaps they were unavailable?

Burlington is spending very large sums of money to protect the people who work at city hall. The majority are still working from their homes and for the most part doing a good job.

The economy is vitally important – is a healthy population not just as important?

Do we really have to get out for a beer and mix with people? Can we not buckle down, find within us the personal discipline and do what is in our best interests and see ourselves through what is a crisis that has the potential to rip us apart as a society?

What will we do if a third of the schools are shut down for a couple of weeks at a time? What happens when the number of classroom teachers who become infected are in the hundreds?

Is this being alarmist?

That 1042 number of infections reported on Sunday by the province was a fact.

The Premier will be sweating this one out when it is the public that needs to do the sweating. The people from Toronto and Mississauga who travel to Burlington and Oakville for an evening out have to learn to stay within their own communities and spend time with the people who are in their immediate circle.

This virus may be very hard to beat and we may have to wait until there is a vaccine – but in the meantime we can limit its growth by limiting what we do.

Do your best to not pick up the infection from someone else and do your best to not pass it along if you do get it.

In the meantime we wait for the numbers from the province Monday morning and wait to hear what the Halton Regional Medical Officer of Health has to say.

Her job just got a lot harder.

Return to the Front page

Taste of Burlington comes to an end on Saturday

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

October 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Having gone through a serious lock down Burlingtonians began to look for ways to at least try to get some normality into their daily lives.

Dealing with what the school board has been able to do, figuring out what the Parks and Recreation department has made possible, and learning to live with social distancing and hand sanitization, the idea of getting out for a drink or having a meal with friends has been a bit of a challenge.

Gator Ted logoThe Gazette took up the opportunity to report on the Taste of Burlington, a program that has restaurants in the city offering attractive meal opportunities in an attempt to coax people out of their homes and into the restaurants where rules to ensure public safety were in place.

The Taste of Burlington is a program gone run by the city’s Tourism and Events Department. The once vibrant Burlington Restaurant Association has gone disappointingly silent as its membership struggles to stay alive.

Rahoons Persian Eatery at Village Square won Best Overall Award.

Rahoons Persian Eatery at Village Square

For Michele Bogle the three things that matter when she is doing a review are: the service, the plating and the flavours. In the seven reviews she did for the Gazette the flavours at Rahoon’s stood out.

Knowing that there are serious public health concerns, Bogle was watching for how the restaurants were dealing with the need for the highest possible levels of cleanliness. She would have liked to have seen sanitation stations front and center – yes “they would have looked a little cluttered” she said “but it was important for people to be able to see the station and use it”.

Bogle found the devices to take temperatures were iffy at times. The small device that is placed near the forehead didn’t leave Bogle feeling all that comfortable. “They had to do my forehead twice in one place” said Bogle who found she was very comfortable with the full facial scanner.

The customer space was always done up nicely: tables were not set, staff were all wearing masks. Bogle said she “would have liked to have known what was going on in the kitchen” and wondered if perhaps a monitor could not have been set up with a camera trained on the kitchen so the public could see how health precautions were being carried out.

Taste Oct 18 Turtle Jack's

There were line ups – it was a Saturday night.

Traffic in many of the restaurants she reviewed was slow, which Bogle added was “being polite”. Her review of Turtle Jack’s reported line ups of people waiting to get into a space that was limited. “To be fair, many of the reviews were done during the week when patronage was slow.”

“People”, said Bogle “were not ready to go out”. I had to take my children with me, none of my friends were up to going out.

The Taste of Burlington is an event put on and promoted by the Tourism and Events department of the city. The hospitality sector decides if they want to take part. The event has those participating offering menu choices that are reasonable priced using prix fixe menus.

This year there weren’t very many restaurants from the ethnic communities taking part. “Everyone loses when that happens” commented Bogle.

“As an amateur cook and foodie, I find it difficult to be impressed when I dine out because I’m most particular about flavour profiles. Good service is a great part of the dining experience. I found service in most of the restaurants that I visited in this event to be above average.

“People in this position recognize the role that they play is not only to extract the greatest tip percentage at the end of each meal; but that their livelihood stands in the balance should the guests not have an ultimate dining experience. Plating is almost as important as the taste and more and more restaurants are on board with this reality.

“ I found most of the dishes I experienced in the past few weeks looked as delicious as they tasted. Finally, the flavours: I was impressed with many individual elements from various restaurants. I even had the pleasure of being introduced to new and exotic flavour combinations.

“Whether your reasoning for going out, be it social, to have an intimate dinner, or just because you’re too tired to cook for the family that day, a setting appropriate for any mood or event to celebrate can be found in a restaurant in the city of Burlington.

Eating out doesn’t just need to be an escape from the kitchen; it can be an ‘experience’. One to be enjoyed with friends or family.

“After your own research, if you can find some comfort level, even enjoying one of the participating restaurants on the patio, now is the time to support your local restaurants. If you wait until we are free of restrictions again, it may be too late for some of our city’s favourite eating establishments.

Burlington restaurateurs appreciate your continued support.  There are three days left to the event- Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Asked how much weight she had put on dining out three nights a week Bogle said. “That’s not a question I want to answer.”

The restaurant reviews:

West Plains Bistro

Gator Teds

Turtle Jack’s

Studebaker

Paradiso

Barra Fion’s

Rahoons

Return to the Front page

The politics of COVID 19: it is reshaping our political world

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

COVID 19 is helping to reshape our political world. Nowhere was that better seen than in the re-election of New Zealand’s young prime minister, who has led her country and shown the world how to deal with the coronavirus. She was rewarded by the voters with a landslide victory and a first ever parliamentary majority since New Zealand adopted proportional government back in the 1990’s.

By contrast there is the US presidential race and if Trump loses, which appears likely, it will be because of his mishandling of the pandemic. Americans are constantly reminded of the quarter million folks who have died under his watch, despite his assurances that the virus was just a flu and would be gone by last May.

NZ prime minister

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern is a very talented leader who built a coalition with the Green Party on the left and the NZ First on the right and ably governed to the respect of New Zealanders during the devastating global pandemic. But unlike Canada, New Zealand was prepared for the pandemic and it acted swiftly to contain and eliminate the virus months ago.

There have been the inevitable outbreaks since then, a consequence of allowing returning nationals into the country, but they have been contained by contact tracing and mandatory quarantine. Like Canada, New Zealand closed its borders, but it did so much earlier and avoided much of the initial spread we allowed.

Being a unitary state it was easier, no doubt, to effect a consistent national health care policy. That was also true for the early lock down rules which kept people from spreading the virus. New Zealand is an Island but the virus arrived there as it did here – by airline passengers, so that is no excuse for Canada’s much poorer performance.

NZ sports audience

New Zealanders are now able to attend sports events and concerts – the Covid19 virus

New Zealand’s success can be attributed to its viable and consistent plan which was followed and enforced until the virus was gone in addition to a compliant population who followed the rules and a strong and visionary leader, of course. Today there are only a few active cases remaining – all of which are contained and under quarantine. Meanwhile the rest of the country has gone back to normal. The shops and businesses have re-opened and even crowded sporting events are back.

Masks are no longer required, even on public transport.

The New Zealand economy has taken a hit, along with just about every nation on the planet. International tourism makes up a large portion of the country’s economy. And since the airports are mostly closed to non-citizens, domestic tourism is being promoted to help keep that business sector going.

New Zealand should be a model for how other nations deal with the epidemic and protect their populations. But it is not the only model. Uruguay, another small nation, bordered by Brazil and Argentina, both of which have significant contagions, has done remarkably well. Taiwan with a population five times that of New Zealand has suffered only 7 deaths. And both Uruguay and Taiwan have come through without a lock down so far.

And then there is China, where the virus originated, but which managed to virtually eliminate it in short order and has dealt effectively with the inevitable periodic outbreaks related to foreign travel. But unlike most other nations China’s economy is showing a marked rebound and life is mostly going back to normal.

Ford - dumb thoughtful

Day after day Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario goes before the TV cameras to explain the most recent decision on combating Covid19

So what about Canada? Canada’s focus has always been on ‘Flattening’ rather than ‘Eliminating’ the curve. So when the provincial lock downs had been successful in flattening the infection curve we got carried away with our success, declaring victory and opening up the economy so people could mingle and spread the disease again. We did ask people to wear masks and distance, but the messages were mixed and the test/tracing practices unsuccessful. As sure as night follows day the contagion got a second wind.

Bringing the infection rate down will be much harder this time. Schools are open, cold weather has pushed people inside where the virus is where it wants to be, and we’re COVID fatigued, tired of it all. We’re sick and tired of the restrictions, and the steady stream of bad statistics, and the daily media briefings, and the mixed messages from our politicians, and the economic malaise, and the ever-rising debt we’ll have to reconcile one day.

So perhaps next time our leaders will take a lesson from nations, like new Zealand, which have been successful in overcoming this contagion the first time. And if they do perhaps political rewards, like one kind Jacinda Ardern has just been given, will be in their future as well.

Background links:

Jacinda –   New Zealand Gets IT–    China Gets It

Rivers in maskRay Rivers, born in Ontario earned an economics degree at the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Ottawa.  His 25 year stint with the federal government included time with Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and the Post office.  Rivers is active in his community,

 

Return to the Front page

81 year old male killed while trying to cross Mapleview early this morning

News 100 blackBy Staff

October 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An 81 year old male from Burlington was crossing Maple Ave mid-block when he was struck by a black Honda Civic travelling northbound.

The pedestrian was transported to Joseph Brant Hospital and subsequently died from his injuries. The involved driver remained on scene and is cooperating with the police investigation. The Collision Reconstruction Unit attended and scene and has assumed carriage of the investigation.

The cause of the collision is still under investigation, and anyone who witnessed the collision who has not yet spoken to police is asked to call the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 5065.

The accident took place early this morning at around 7:00 am.

The name of the deceased has not been released.

Return to the Front page

The Medical Officer of Health has written us all a letter

October 19th, 2020

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health

To the Halton community:
Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Halton and without a doubt we are firmly in a second wave of the pandemic. I know that we have asked a lot of you over the past several months and COVID-19 fatigue is very real.

We cannot let our guards down. The time to take collective action is now in order to prevent a much worse scenario and stricter measures in the future. COVID-19 has no borders and we need to work together to stop the spread. It is out of concern for our community that I am strongly recommending that all residents take the following steps immediately:

Limit close contact to people within your household. This means minimizing interactions with people who don’t live in your house, including dining at restaurants and other social gatherings.

Limit non-essential activities. This means trying to stick to essential activities as much as possible such as going to school or work (if you work outside of your home) and using online delivery services for errands when possible.

As always, when you are in public keep a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from those outside of your household, wear a mask when physical distancing is a challenge or when required, wash and sanitize your hands frequently and please stay home if you are sick, even if you have mild cold-like symptoms.

We have learned that many cases are linked to private social gatherings and group activities. We know there is a greater risk of transmitting COVID-19 in particular situations and settings where individuals have close contact with one another, often without a mask and for prolonged periods of time. While Public Health values physical activity and participation in sport, we must take a balanced approach to reduce transmission. To control the spread of the virus, I am also recommending:

Limit all team sports to training only, with proper physical distancing between players and no scrimmages or games. 

Suspend all indoor fitness classes.I know this may be difficult to adjust to as fitness and sports are an important part of our routines and help us stay positive through these challenging times.

Please consider other ways to stay active such as online fitness classes for all ages, runs, walks or hikes, or play an outdoor game with people in your household.

Dine at restaurants with people in your household only. I also encourage residents to order take-out or use meal delivery services to continue to support local businesses.

These recommendations are not provincial orders and will not be enforced. While I am strongly recommending residents take these steps, I understand that these may take time to adopt and may not happen overnight. It is my hope that everyone follows these recommendations to the extent possible to protect one another and stop cases from rising in our community. We all have a choice to make right now –between what we want to do and what we need to do.

We still have time to reduce the severity of this second wave, but we need your help to achieve this. We did it before and we can do it again. Thank you to everyone for staying in this together, taking this seriously and above all for being kind to one another. Please continue to visit halton.ca/COVID19for the latest information on cases and public health guidance.

Yours in health,
Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health

Return to the Front page

When an intimate relationship breaks down – things get very ugly and people are hurt

Crime 100By Staff

October 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When an intimate relationship breaks down – things get very ugly and people are hurt. The Regional Police have to deal with these situations all too often.

child abuse 2In early September, the Halton Regional Police Service received a 9-1-1 call late at night from a young child stating that they could hear a physical altercation and their mother screaming for help.

Officers were dispatched to the residence, arriving in minutes. Officers made contact with the female party who exited the residence crying, with visible signs of assault on her face and body. The female party stated that the male party involved in this incident had left the residence on foot.

Officers cleared the residence to confirm that the male party had not re-entered and to ensure the safety of the three children in the residence. Uniform officers remained on scene and spoke with the female party.

Officers learned that the male party had arrived intoxicated at the female’s residence and assaulted her following a verbal altercation. The male had punched, choked, pushed and kicked her. During the assault, the female party yelled out to her sleeping children to call 9-1-1.

Thankfully, one of her children heard her and called for help. This led the male party to flee the residence on foot. The female party was able to lock the front door, securing the safety of her children and herself.

The male was arrested soon after and subsequently transported to Central Lock Up. Thereafter, the Halton Regional Police Service Intimate Partner Violence Unit took carriage of the investigation. The accused was charged with Assault Causing Bodily Harm and Mischief Under $5,000.

domestic violenceThe female party received medical attention and was referred to the Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit.

The Intimate Partner Violence Victim Coordinator worked with the victim to establish measures to increase her safety through a safety plan.

The Victim Services Unit also connects victims to appropriate support services in the community, assists with victim care, and, through the Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP+), can provide immediate short-term financial support toward essential expenses for victims of violent crime.

Unfortunately, this situation is not unique. This incident serves as an example of why we must look out for our neighbours, relatives, friends, and co-workers, especially if you suspect they may not be safe at home.

That is why the Halton Regional Police Service, in partnership with Halton Women’s Place and the Halton Regional Police Services Board, are unveiling a memorial site to commemorate victims of Intimate Partner Violence in Halton on Monday, November 2, 2020. Through this memorial, the aim is to:

• Honour ALL victims who have been killed in acts of Intimate Partner Violence, and
• Increase community awareness in relation to Intimate Partner Violence and, more specifically, gender-based violence.

Together, we must stand in solidarity to help end Intimate Partner Violence, because a life without violence is the only life to live.

The HRPS is urging victims or friends/family of victims to contact the Halton Regional Police Service, Halton Women’s Place or other community resources if intimate partner violence is happening.

Shelters across Halton are still open at this time and Halton Women’s Place continues to offer services. Shelters have taken precautions related to COVID-19 to ensure that no one is forced to choose between their safety and their health. Help is available.

sexual violence imageEvery person has the right to feel safe in our community.

You are not alone. Victims of intimate partner violence or sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service. The following is a list of valuable support services and resources in Halton Region for victims of intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence:

• Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777
• Halton Women’s Place 905-878-8555 (north) or 905-332-7892 (24-hour crisis line)
• Halton Children’s Aid Society 905-333-4441 or 1-866-607-5437
• Nina’s Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880
• Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)

Return to the Front page

Use of city sports facilities is on pause until further notice

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

October 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As of Oct. 17, 2020 the city is “ Pausing all Burlington City-run indoor fitness classes for Adult 19+ and 55+, including indoor pickleball and aquatic fitness. Sports groups limited to training”.

Gymnasiums in Haber Recreation Centre

These spaces will remain unused until Public Health determines they are safe places.

Following the recommendation of Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health and emerging evidence indicating cases from indoor physical activity setting and contact sports are on the rise, the City of Burlington is taking action to help reduce COVID-19 transmission.
Any City of Burlington facility renter offering indoor fitness programs, including dance, Pilates and yoga, are also paused. To confirm if your program is still running, check with your organization.

Within City of Burlington facilities, activities are now limited to training only where proper physical distancing can be maintained. There will be no games or scrimmages until further notice.

The intent of this pause is to slow the spread of COVID-19 and avoid going back into a modified Stage 2 status with further precautions.

The pause will be evaluated frequently and will be lifted once Halton Region Public Health deems it safe to resume these indoor activities in City facilities. The City of Burlington will continue to share updates with the public.

For information on recreation services, visit burlington.ca/fall. To reach customer service, call 905-335-7738.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward explains: “Taking this temporary pause now, will allow us to come together sooner. Despite our best efforts, we’re still seeing a steady increase of COVID-19 cases in our city. While this news will be disappointing to many residents, we must keep in mind these are truly extraordinary times and they require extraordinary efforts on all of our parts, as a community, to ensure we slow down the spread of this pandemic. We will beat this, as long as we stay patient, vigilant, and continue following the advice of our medical and health professionals.”

Return to the Front page