In Halton one infection at a nursing home is considered an outbreak and they are all over it

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Her name is Deepika Lobo.

She is a medical practitioner who has the honorific Dr. in front her name.

She is an Assistant Medical Officer of Health with the Region of Halton working as the medical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Educated as a doctor in India where she worked for a year as a GP, Dr. Lobo came to Canada and earned her public health degree at McMaster University. She has also earned an MBA at McMaster.

Deepika Lobo

Dr. Deepika Lobo, Assistant Medical Officer of Health with the Region of Halton working as the medical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lobo directs a team of 220 people who have the job of doing what they call “case management”.

The media refer to it as tracking and tracing, that is – identifying those who have been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

“We know the disease is transferred from person to person” she said.  “When we determine that a person has been infected we want to know two things:

1: Who the infected person come into contact with in the last 48 hours and

2: who have they been in contact with for the last 14 days.

It is these people who might be the next person to become infected.”

More than 150 people are assigned to this case management work.

Lobo continues to explain: “Once we have them identified as an infected person, we begin trying to get in touch with the people they have been in contact with: these are the people we are now very concerned about.

“Sometimes the infected person has only been in contact with one or two people. They may have already begun self-isolating.

“Some of the contact was very casual – there is no need to dig deeper.  We have learned to differentiate between high risk and low risk exposure.

“We explain to the infected person what they have to do – they have to self-isolate for that 14-day period during which the disease is going to grow.  We quickly become aware of the personality we are working with and determine just how much they know about the disease; more often than not the person wants to know as much as we can tell them.

“They are usually very thankful that someone is reaching out to them.

“We counsel them while they recover from the infection on their own.

“Our task is to constantly assess and follow up every other day with the infected person who is self-isolating.”

What Lobo hasn’t had up until very recently is software that will serve as a massive data base the case management staff can refer to and add information to so that when there is a staff rotation (these people have to get some rest) there is a fully detailed report on the people who are self isolating.

Mountainview

A nursing home with a 30 year reputation lost 11 of its residents.

The biggest concern is managing the “outbreaks”. Some public health practitioners see four or five cases of infection at a long term care or nursing home as an outbreak. In Halton one infection at a nursing home is considered an outbreak and they are all over it.

“When there is an infection in a nursing home” said Dr. Lobo, ” we know that it was brought into the institution – who brought it in and who have they been in contact with is something we need to know.” It is a desperate race to track that down and time is their worst enemy.

“Telephone calls are made, people are not at home, call backs are made by staff all trained not to alarm people.

“Sometimes the person with the infection hasn’t been in contact with very many people; one perhaps two. Other situations the person with the infection has been in touch with as many as 30 people. That’s when the rush is on to get in touch with every one of them, enter them into the system and begin asking questions.

“All it takes is one infected person to be in contact with 20 people and within that twenty people there are five who have been infected – you can see where this takes them.”

Lobo emphasizes that it is vital to get in front of these situations when they are sometimes far behind. It is a race – and the consequences are measured in peoples lives.

“When there is a case that has a bearing on an institutional setting – the immediate objective is to contain it and ensure that it doesn’t surge out of control.

“It is in situations like that that tough measures have to be put in place which people often don’t understand and don’t appreciate.

“Staff resources are shifted to drill down and learn who has been in contact with the infected person and work out from that person.”

wer

The paramedics came through in a major way – it hadn’t occurred to anyone to use these people.

The work for the team is exhausting – asked for her best experience so far Dr. Lobo pauses – then almost bursts when she explains “the paramedics suggested that they could do some of the testing. What really made a huge difference was the way the paramedics have come through for us by going to people’s homes and testing for the infection.

“They have 2500 of those tests – sometimes as many as 200 in a single day.

“That testing is vital – and it takes trained manpower to do it properly.

“It never occurred to us to call upon the paramedics – the said they could do it – and they did.”

Asked what the worst experience has been – there was another pause – then a recognition of those who were lost.

The pace at which this disease is racing through some locations is almost frightening.

The staff she has have to be both managed and trained. We learn something every day that we ensure is shared with everyone.

The case management people develop relationships with the people they are talking to at least every second day; it is a relationship that is under stress from the start – the job is to manage the stress and not let it take over.

There are 46 nursing homes – long-term care residences in the Region. Lobo is amazed that there have been just three outbreaks – one of which was tragic, 11 lives were lost in what was a quality operation.

Lobo has handled intense situations in the past – “but never on this scale”

Asked how much longer is this likely to go on – Dr. Lobo said “we don’t know. We are a day to day operation.”

When will they celebrate the end – “no idea”, she said, “we just hope it is soon.”

The regional public health units are directed by the province – they determine the overall direction – The Region follows that direction.

The staff have learned to support each other – they rely on one another for emotional and mental health support. These people have families at home – they volunteer hundreds of extra hours.

The province will decide to open things up a little – just a bit – we then wait that two to four weeks to see if there is an uptick or a spike in infections. If there are – the province might decide to cut back and re-impose restrictions.

Lurking in the background is the wish – a hope for a vaccine.

To date there have been 23 deaths in the Region; 11 of which were in institutional setting.

Dr.  Lobo said there have been at least 40 guidance papers written and prepared for those who have to do this work in the 34 Public Health Units in the province; directing and supporting the people who do the slogging work – listening closely to what the infected people are saying; assuring them as well as supporting them.

Few people in the Region know that there are that many people working exceptionally long hours to identify infected people and ensure that they self-isolate.

They look forward to the day when they can see there was not one new infection reported – then that curve will have been flattened.

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Fearmans reports first COVID19 infection at the pork processing plant

News 100 redBy Staff

May 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sofina Foods plant in Burlington, known locally as Fearmans, has reported that an employee tested positive for COVID19.

An employee at the Sofina Mississauga plant also tested positive.

The Burlington plant is a pork processing operation with 1000 employees.

Daniele Dufour , Senior Director, Communications, Public Relations and Consumer Inquiries – Sofina Foods Inc. said the company became aware of both cases on Tuesday.

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

Known locally as Fearmans, the 150 year old corporation that plays a significant role in the Burlington economy. The plant is now a part of the Sofina operation

“The person [at the Burlington plant] was at work until April 28 and as soon as they started experiencing symptoms, they went home,” Dufour told CBC News on Friday.

“The employee wore a mask while at the site, this is why in our own risk assessment we determined that the risk was low.”

Dufour added that all employees who were in close contact with the affected workers have been asked to self-isolate at home.

Sofina Foods operates 19 meat processing plants in Canada.

On its website the company said it is closely monitoring the evolution of COVID-19 and working to prevent risks to employees and its ability to continue manufacturing.

Dufour said while the two cases happened around the same time, they are not related.

While Sofina Foods knew about the cases since Tuesday, the union representing workers said it was only notified on Thursday.

Tim Deelstra, spokesperson for UFCW Local 175, said while the company has taken steps at each of its sites to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19, workers are understandably worried.

Deelstra said in a telephone interview that face shields have been issued and that partitions have been put in place in some but not all the productions lines.

pork production line

Corporation and union said that everyone has to wear a face mask and where possible wear a shield.

Workers in the meat packing business are basically shoulder to shoulder as they process the meat on a conveyor belt.
The infections in the meat [packing plants in Alberta saw hundreds of infections, at least one death and the shut down of two plants.

“Obviously, at this time, workers are concerned if they’re going into the workplace,” Deelstra said.

“We’ll look into those concerns and follow up on a regular basis with the employer, and we’re doing everything we can to address them and provide them with as much safety and security as they can get.”

“So, it’s good to see that there’s more recognition happening for those workers now and we’re going to do our absolute utmost as a union to look after them at this time, to make sure that they can go home healthy.”

In a press release issued Friday afternoon, Sofina Foods said the infected employees are doing well and following the guidance of the provincial health authority.

Dufour also said that the company’s COVID-19 response protocol was immediately deployed to investigate the incidents and mitigate any risks to other employees.

“In addition to the required PPE when in production areas, masks or face shields are now mandatory in production areas at these two sites,” Dufour wrote in the press release.

“We have a comprehensive manual and protocols in place for such situations and the teams were prepared. This allowed us to quickly assess risks, alert proper stakeholders and identify any action needed in addition to the proactive measures already in place.”

Dufour said both plants remain fully operational, and all Sofina Foods sites have deployed a number of measures to prevent the spread of the virus. These include temperature checks, ongoing sanitation of common areas and offices, staggered breaks, physical distancing in common areas, face shields, plexiglas separations on the production line, at handwashing stations or in lunch rooms.

In addition, the plants have redirected the flow of movement to create a single point of entry and a single exit point at each site.

“In the case of our Burlington plant … Given the sanitation protocols in place at the plant, including regular fogging, we are confident that the areas where the employee went do not pose any contamination concerns.”

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GTA municipalities join forces to plan for a COVID19 recovery.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While the province improves its testing and report fewer new infections the municipal sector pulls together to prepare for a recovery.

Twenty municipal and regional governments, as well as key economic development partners from across the GTA and Niagara announced the launch of the GTA Economic Development Alliance. The formation of the Alliance is in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need to collaborate, share knowledge and ideas, and pool resources to support the regional economy in its recovery from the global pandemic.

gta MAP

This would be a very large, perhaps cumbersome committee.

Founding partners out of the City of Burlington, Durham Region, and the City of Toronto identified the need for economic development offices to coordinate a united, focused effort on delivering research and developing programming to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19, as well as advocate for effective relief measures and create informed policy recommendations.

Currently, the list of partners has grown beyond the founding partners to include Aurora, Brampton, Georgina, Halton Hills, Halton Region, King, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, Niagara Region, Oakville, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Whitchurch-Stouffville, and York Region. The Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), as well as the regional investment attraction agency Toronto Global are also included.

The group has identified four key pillars for collaboration, in supporting businesses to get back to business once the Province lifts the state of emergency declaration. They include research, advocacy, programming and innovation.

Each pillar will have a leader, who will be responsible for executing the strategy. According to Martin Bohl, Sector Manager, Health and Life Sciences at The City of Brampton, the initiative was a no brainer.

Casasidy - Anita

Anita Cassidy, Executive Director of Burlington Economic Development.

“What started off as a check-in across municipal borders has evolved into an all hands-on-deck approach to supporting businesses and Brampton is very proud to be a part of it. After all, regardless of where businesses are located, or where municipal borders lie, we’re all in this together.”

The vision of the group is to be the champion for Ontario’s COVID-19 mitigation and business recovery through delivering effective economic development expertise and advocacy at the speed of business. Anita Cassidy, Executive Director of Burlington Economic Development, said “We’re already seeing the detrimental effects of mandatory closures, lay-offs, borders closing, and supply chain disruptions on our local economies. We need to get ahead of what’s next, which is the start of a long journey to economic recovery.”

The group says that coordination and idea sharing will create opportunities to increase impact and improve support for businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. According to Simon Gill, Director, Economic Development & Tourism at Durham Region, “Great ideas can be made even better when you have a large group contributing. This group’s coordination can help to position our communities for economic recovery.” He added, “For example, we’re all doing research, and we’re all advocating to higher levels of government for effective relief measures. If we coordinate, we can be more effective.”

The downside to this is that with lets say just three people from each municipality you have a committee of 60 people.  Not a prescription for quick action.

Keeping the initiative agile, nimble and tightly focused and looking for quick solid wins to earn some credibility is vital.

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Changes to the physical distancing bylaw - it's about your dog.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Dog walker - 2 dogs

Walking a dog? Keep them on a leash

They forgot about the woof woofs.

The debate on social distancing was all about people and how far apart we had to stay away from each other.

It took a while – but we got the hang of it.

Apparently we didn’t fully understand that is was not just us – it included man’s best friend. The bylaw enforcement officers saw the problem – it got on to the Emergency Coordination Group, led by the city manager.

That got it onto a Standing committee agenda.

The lead up to the rather minor change is interesting.

It’s wordy and complicated but that is what the Rule of Law is all about. A city council can’t just do what they want – they have to justify it as well

Council ALL 2018

Council – learning that the rule of law determines what they do.

Whereas on March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared a worldwide pandemic regarding the Novel Coronavirus 19 (“COVID-19 Pandemic”); and

Whereas on March 17, 2020, the Province of Ontario declared an emergency relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic under the provisions of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.E.9 (“Emergency Management Act”); and

Whereas section 4 of the Emergency Management Act provides that the head of council of a municipality may declare that an emergency exists in the municipality or in any part thereof and may take such action and make such orders as they consider necessary and are not contrary to law to implement the emergency plan of the municipality and to protect property and the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the emergency area; and

Whereas on March 21, 2020 an emergency was declared by the Mayor of the City of Burlington, under the provisions of the Emergency Management Act, relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic; and

Whereas the Provincial Government’s modelling and forecast projects that the State of Emergency will last months and will result in a severe and long-term challenge to the health care system; and

Whereas the Council of the City of Burlington considers the protection of health and safety of the public to be a paramount concern, and has suspended the operations of all City facilities, other than those deemed essential for the welfare of the citizens of the City of Burlington, during the COVID-19 emergency; and

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

She ordered that when you walk outside you keep six feet away from everyone else. Dr. Meghani, Medical Officer of Health, Region of Halton

Whereas the Medical Officer of Health recommended physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres from other individuals who are not members of the same household; and

Whereas The Corporation of the City of Burlington considers it necessary to enact a regulation to support the intent and purpose of the Provincial Orders made under the Emergency Management Act in order to protect property and the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the City of Burlington, by prohibiting certain activities and regulating physical distancing during the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency; and

Whereas sections 8, 9 and 11 of the Municipal Act, 2001 authorize the City of Burlington to pass by-laws necessary and desirable for municipal purposes, and in particular, paragraphs 5, 6, and 8 of subsection 11(2) authorize by-laws respecting public assets of the municipality, the economic, social and environmental well-being of City, the health, safety and well-being of persons, the protection of persons and property; and

Whereas section 425 of the Municipal Act, 2001 provides that any person who contravenes any by-law of the municipality is guilty of an offence; and

Whereas on April 6, 2020, Council of The Corporation of the City of Burlington passed By-Law 17-2020, being a By-law to Promote and Regulate Physical Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic State of Emergency;

Whereas an amendment to By-law 17-2020 is required to regulate the physical distancing of animals on Public Property;

Now therefore the Council of the Corporation of the City of Burlington hereby enacts as follows:

Runners two dogs we know what this is about

The dogs know what social distancing is.

1. By-law 17-2020 Part 1: Definitions 1 is amended by adding the following definitions:

“Animal” means any member of the animal kingdom other than a human;

“Leash” means a line or for leading or restraining an animal, including a dog, while the animal is being transported from place to place outside of a cage;

“Owns” includes possess, or have control over, or keeps or have care or custody of;

2. By-law 17-2020 is amended by adding the following new Section 7 immediately following Section 6, with all subsequent sections renumbered accordingly:

dogs-off-leash-opening

On a leash – before the COVId19 period dogs were allowed to run all over the place. Not now.

7. (1) While on public property, every person who owns an animal shall keep the animal on a leash not exceeding 2 metres in length at all times.

(2) While on public property, every person who owns an animal shall ensure that the animal does not come within 2 metres of any other person or animal that does not reside with them in a single household.

3. Subject to the amendments made in this by-law, in all other respects, By-law 17- 2020 is hereby confirmed unchanged.

4. This by-law comes into force on the date of its passing.

City council will be expected to pass this byplay on the 25th day of May, 2020.

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Cloth masks making their way into the community - approaching 1000 distributed so far.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Connie Price who heads up the production side of the 100% cotton face masks with cloth ties that are being distributed in the community, reports on what her team has achieved.

“To date, from nine dedicated Sewers, there have been 470 masks made, with almost 300 of those being distributed in the next week and another 250 in the process of being made. Fantastic team work!

Galbraith couple

Ward 1 Councillor Kelven Galbraith with his wife Abigail modelling masks

Shawna and daughter

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte with her daughter Danielle – modeling masks. The Councillor is handing them out to her constituents.

“Just so you know what happens once the masks have been sewn. After the sewn masks are sealed in envelopes, along with Gov’t of Canada Guidelines for Use and Care of Non-surgical Face Masks, they are held in quarantine for 72 hours, then delivered by the Lions Club.

“Presently we are delivering to the Burlington Food Bank to go in their Door Delivered Food Hampers, for the Clients who come to Wellington Square Church for Take-Home Dinners and to the Seniors at Halton Region’s Wellington Terrace Apartments, who don’t have any.

There are other subsidized Seniors’ Apartments, who are also in need of masks for when the Seniors have to go out to shop, or even in their hallways, elevators, laundry rooms etc. and will be next on our delivery list.

“None of these people can afford to buy masks, so your sewing and participation to get free ones to them, is very much appreciated. Thank you for your efforts.

Jan at sewing machine

Jan Mowbray working at a surging machine to make cloth ties for the masks – 4 ties per mask

“This is an awesome Team! Truly, the community helping their community neighbours.  With blessings and many thanks,

Connie refers to this effort as the Gazette Community Face Mask Initiative. There is a bit of truth to that statement; full disclosure, the Gazette did get it off the ground by donating all the cotton cloth that was needed and sewing the cloth ties. From that point forward Connie Price found the volunteers and got the distribution team in place.

They are close to making and distributing 1000 masks.

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We are richer than we realize. Incredible support at the community level.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is a very rich city.

Take a look at the organizations in place – offering food support; meals, doing the shopping for you.  Each of those organizations has dozens, in several cases hundreds of people showing up every day serving as volunteers.

Many people and families across Burlington are finding themselves in need of food support, including those who have never needed to access a food bank before or simply need food delivery. Within Burlington, there are dozens of different non-profit food organizations willing to help anyone who needs food, including food donations, prepared meals or simply delivering groceries. Below is a short list of some of the organizations offering help.

Wellington sq food in

In order to make up those meals to be delivered all kinds of food has to be brought into the church kitchen.

Friday Night Community Take Home Meal Bags
Already prepared meals as well as any available produce, dairy, hygiene and baby needs. Pick up Monday, Wednesday, Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Wellington Square United Church, 2121 Caroline St. *Delivery as needed.
For more information, email llunski@wsquare.ca or call 905-634-1849 or visit www.wsquare.ca/outreach/friday-community/

Food for Life Pre-bagged Food Programs
• St. Luke’s Anglican Church, 1382 Ontario St. Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m.
• Faith Christian Reformed Church, 2258 Mountainside Dr. Tuesdays, 6:15 to 7 p.m.
• Brant Hills Presbyterian Church, 2138 Brant St. Wednesdays, 1:30 p.m.
• Tansley United Church, 2111 Walkers Line, Fridays, 9:30 a.m.
• Good Food Line, 905-635-1106 ext. 7 or email goodfood@foodforlife.ca

Compassion Society
Non-perishable food packages, produce, meat, bread, and hygiene Items available Monday, Wednesday, Friday, noon to 2 p.m. 484 Plains Rd. E., Unit 14. For more information, email contact@compassionsociety.net or call 905-592-3722.

Salvation Army
Clients may come weekly if necessary to receive non-perishables, milk, eggs, produce, frozen meat, baked goods; quantity and variety will vary from week to week. 5040 Mainway, Unit 9; Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to noon. To request food, call 905-637-3893.

Domenique W Food Bank

Each of the organizations has their own niche -Food Bank is part of a wider network.

Burlington Food Bank
Pre-packed boxes of non-perishable foods, hygiene, produce, milk, eggs, bread and frozen meat. Contactless delivery to lobby or door. To request food, email info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273.

Glad Tidings Church
Glad Tidings Church would like to serve those who require mandatory isolation with free grocery delivery. For more information on how to receive help, go to gtburlington.org/groceries or call 905-335-8172 and leave a message.

These organizations are delivering the services that are needed.  The corporate sector is ponying up some of the money that is needed.  Every city is doing its own thing – this is what we are doing in Burlington.

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Real warm weather didn't make the appearance hoped for - but there was a great surprise at the end of the week.

The Gazette has put together a team of parents who are at home taking care of their children while the province goes through school closures and the shut down of everything other than essential services.

Ashley Worobec and Nicki St. George will write regularly on how they are coping. We invite parents to take part in this initiative by adding comments to each Coping with COVID19 & the kids article.

graphic coping blueBy Nicki St George

May 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

WEEK 7 –

drawing - family

What you don’t see in this drawing – is what appears at the bottom this piece

MONDAY, April 27th

It is my brother’s birthday today and the 5-year anniversary of the day my family arrived in Canada from New Zealand. My husband posts a memory on his Facebook page saying ‘no regrets’ in reference to our decision to move here. I concur; however, lately I have been rather envious of my friends and family in NZ with their low COVID rates and inspirational leader, Jacinda Adern. But mostly I am envious of the fact that their lockdown rules are being relaxed and they are now heading out to the beaches.

TUESDAY, April 28th
The day unfolds as usual. School work in the morning, bake something in the afternoon. I’ve created a list of ‘must dos’ for Beatrix and use screen time as a carrot. My hope is that I won’t have to ask her to get dressed 15 times (at least) every morning or chase her around the house with a hairbrush. But I do not have the discipline for reward charts and she seems to derive no satisfaction from folding down the little ‘to do’ tabs that I had carefully crafted. Still, I think she is getting the message and her behaviour is better this week.

WEDNESDAY, April 29th
As my return to work is approaching, I decide that we need to buy a Chromebook for the children to share. This involves spending a few hours trying to decide between the various models and features. Finally, I find the one and it is at BestBuy in Milton. Dan seems to think that driving to Milton for curbside pickup will be some kind of hardship for me, but I’m actually quite excited at the prospect of a whole hour in the car by myself! And it is glorious…until I get a frantic phone call from Dan because zoom has crashed my computer and Bea was about to start her virtual dance class…

sUN ROOM COMPUTER

Chromebook worse for these two – Mom likes it as well.

THURSDAY, April 30th
The Chromebook is awesome. It has all the Apps that the kids are familiar with from school and they enjoy taking turns picking songs from Go Noodle and can navigate the device better than I can. The iPad just doesn’t cut it when it comes to google drive. I am starting to feel better about being able to multi-task while homeschooling and working from home.

trampoline

Trampoline – constant use

Our trampoline, which got taken out of the garage and set up last weekend, has been in constant use. Except for today because it is too cold outside. The kids need some kind of brain break, so we all find something to balance on our heads while we play follow the leader.

Later we play hide and seek. I sometimes wonder if all the grandmas of the world are just shaking their heads at mums like me and my friends.

What do we really have to complain about? They would have spent every day entertaining their kids and loving it. My friend sends me a viral video about how we need to re-examine our lifestyles and what caused us to get into this whole mess in the first place. I couldn’t agree more.

FRIDAY, May 1st
Today is officially my first day back to work. I feel like a fish out of water. When I left work at the end of November for my surgery and cancer treatment classes were in session and nobody had heard of the coronavirus. Now, it is like I am starting a new job. There is post-pandemic jargon to familiarize myself with and a slew of new technologies to get my head around, not to mention the whole zoom meeting culture and etiquette. Camera on or off? Can I just ‘leave meeting’ discretely? My computer, sensing my trepidation, crashes and that signals the end of my workday (at 11:00 am).

The curry

Dan scours the Bulk Food Warehouse for Kashmiri curry powder and cardamom seeds.

SATURDAY, May 2nd
We are not given the warm, sunny day that the weather network had promised. Dan spends the day distributing soil and grass seed to our front lawn. I believe this is called ‘over-seeding’. The children have been asking for butter chicken for dinner. Dan and I both like to cook and we make our curries from scratch. So, while Dan scours the Bulk Food Warehouse for Kashmiri curry powder and cardamom seeds, I study Jamie Oliver and Maunika’s FoodTube tutorial. And, well, it’s not an exaggeration to say that I haven’t stopped thinking about that curry ever since.

baby rabbits

Two baby bunnies in there – more to this story for sure

SUNDAY, May 3rd
Finally! It’s here. The first day above 20 degrees that we have seen in about 6 months (and it is just the one day because the week ahead is back to single digits again). Leo complains that it is too hot (eyeroll). I get a sunburn. We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on the back deck.

For the last few weeks, I have been watching a rabbit make a burrow in the planter box which sits on my deck and normally holds my herb garden. Today we find her sitting atop the planter box and upon closer inspection, we notice that she is feeding two little baby bunnies. It’s a nice way to end the week.

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650 Burlington households served by the Food Bank in April.

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Bailey Food Bank March 31-20

Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank does a daily YouTube broadcast.

The Burlington Food Bank is currently serving 650; that is double what they served in April of last year and a 20% increase over the March numbers.

There are some very grateful people out there: One household sent this note:

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! I just received my delivery by a lovely lady, with two helpful children in the backseat! Your generosity is overwhelming. I feel like its Christmas morning. I have spent the last 2 hours filling my fridge and cupboards. The personal care products are so amazing! The amount of anxiety that has been lifted is wonderful. I am going through old recipes so I can bake and freeze.”

The flow of funds to buy the food that is distributed has been impressive but the demand is growing.

There are all kinds of volunteers and some innovative fund raising ideas as well.

If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at the door. If you live in Burlington, we are here to help.

The daily web cast

If you can help with a donation CLICK here

 

 

 

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Stolte: ' the virus doesn’t move on its own; it needs people to move it.'

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Come Saturday we can go to a hardware store.

That’s progress.

One of the biggest reasons the provincial government is able to begin the process of opening things us is because of how, for the most part, people have listened and followed the rules.

Shawna and daughter

Councillor Stolte, on the right, with daughter Danielle wearing masks made by volunteer community sewers.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte, put what we do in perspective when she said: “The COVID-19 virus doesn’t move on its own; it needs people to move it.”

Physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most important steps everyone needs to take. To discourage people from gathering and to help reduce the transmission of the virus, the City of Burlington has closed all vehicular access to our parks.

Only walking, jogging, riding a bike or scooter/wheelchair through a park or trail is permitted, except for Spencer Smith Park, where only walking is allowed.

Remember to:

  • Keep two metres away from others – about the length of a hockey stick
  • Move to the right on pathways to make room for others to pass safely
Youth on Beachway - balls

Six feet ? Maybe.

The younger set – 18-25 roughly have a bit of a problem with the distancing thing.  That demographic has been spared for the most part.  The day there is a death due to an infection they might begin to listen.

The province has shown strong, consistent leadership and they have shown that when they don’t get it right they know how to change quite quickly.  The decision to drop a license plate that didn’t work is a solid example.

When this is all over, and it will be all over at some point there will be an investigation where we will learn how wrong we have been with the way we regulate retirement, nursing and long term care homes.  We heard one leading medical practitioner insist that there be criminal investigations.  Some of the people in the care business may have already “lawyered up”.

It is interesting to note where the deaths took place and where they didn’t.  Some people were doing the job.

Hardware stores and golf courses – opening up.  Hair salons and nail parlours opening up.

When the restaurants and the patios come back on line summer might actually arrive.

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Conservation area closed - so who feeds the 60 some animals they have?

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Parks are closed.

The Conservation areas are closed.

People don’t like the closures – but they are part of coping with the COVID19 disease that has brought about the death of thousands.

So we put up with.

Lamb_1000x1000

One of the lambs – it has to be fed.

Kestrel_ bird

American Kestrel at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre

However, there is a problem, Mountsberg is home to more than 60 animals, from hawks, owls and eagles to horses, goats and sheep, a whole bunch of bees and even a couple snakes, to name just a few. Conservation Halton has a dedicated team of staff members who care for the animals, and in return, the animals help to teach school children, summer camp participants and park visitors about conservation and agriculture.

It costs about $200,000 per year to feed and care for the animals at Mountsberg, and because the Conservation Halton Parks do not receive support from municipal, provincial or federal taxes, they depend on entrance fees, membership purchases and other donations to fund these expenses. With the parks closed, due to COVID-19, Conservation Halton does not currently have this revenue, but they do still have mouths to feed.

The Conservation Foundation launched the Mountsberg Animal Food Fund to help feed the animals; they would like you to consider donating on their website:  The campaign went live on #GivingTuesdayNow and will remain active through the spring to ensure the animals get the care and support they need.

The full donate web site address is: www.conservationhalton.ca/mountsberg-animal-food-fund.

Conservation Halton is the community based environmental agency that protects, restores and manages the natural resources in its watershed. The organization has staff that includes ecologists, land use planners, engineers, foresters and educators, along with a network of volunteers, who are guided by a Board of Directors comprised of municipally elected and appointed citizens. Conservation Halton is recognized for its stewardship of creeks, forests and Niagara Escarpment lands through science-based programs and services.

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Kids are kept in the loop; aware of what is taking place - we try to focus on the happy times and not the stress

The Gazette has put together a team of parents who are at home taking care of their children while the province goes through school closures and the shut down of everything other than essential services.

Ashley Worobec  and Nicki St. George will write regularly on how they are coping.  We invite parents to take part in this initiative by adding comments to each Coping with COVID19 & the kids article.

graphic coping greenBy Ashley Worobec

May 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We have been managing pretty well over the past few weeks. The initial shock and disbelief has eased, and we’re settling in to a new normal. However, with the Covid numbers trending as they are lately, I’ve been closely watching the Premier’s announcements and I’m anticipating that I’ll be back to work by the end of May. Of course that’s just speculation, but four other Provinces have now returned their chiropractors to work so I’m hopeful that Ontario won’t be far behind.

My focus has been at the clinic lately, as we’ve been gathering the necessary PPE, and we’re installing a plexiglass barrier at the front desk to minimize contact for our reception staff. When we are given the go-ahead to return, we will be ready to do so safely.

Ashley family yard table

Backyard update

As far as what this confinement is doing to the family unit, I’d say it’s been really good for us. As soon as this situation unfolded, my main goal became to create a good environment for my kids. I read an opinion piece online that talked about how children will remember this time in history, and it became my goal to ensure that they remember it positively. They won’t remember the stress, the financial implications, the worry; they will remember the time we spent together, the games we played, the bike rides we went on.

I check in with them regularly, to see what some of their highlights are, and we try to add more of those things into our days- we’ve biked to my in-laws for a driveway visit a handful of times (a 9km round-trip), something we had never done in the past. We’ve played board games in the sunshine in our backyard, we’ve put up a “silly walking sign” on our front sidewalk and laughed at passers-by, and I’ve thrown more football passes than I can count.

daughter on guitar BEST

Learning the guitar

My daughter has been saving her money for many months to purchase a guitar, and it arrived the other day, so she’s been learning to play via online apps and YouTube videos. We’ve painted both kid’s bedroom walls, in colours of their choosing. THESE are the memories we are making. And while my stress is still there, I’m using the lens of my children to guide our days. They understand what’s happening- we’ve been very honest with them and we watch the news together, but we’ve kept the focus on the positive and away from fear.

As far as schoolwork goes, it’s been a manageable amount for us. With me not working, I’m the main teacher, and we spend 1-2 hours in the morning completing their school tasks. Most often, we start our days with a 5km run (myself and the dog running, my husband and kids on bikes or rollerblades), and then we get into schoolwork when we return, which is usually around 9:30 or 10am- that means we’re wrapped up before lunchtime.

Kids you have now entered BEST

Keeping the intruders away

They are missing their friends and their teachers though, and most days they FaceTime their friends as well as my extended family in Alberta. On Monday evenings, we have a group Zoom call with all of my husband’s side of the family, and that’s become a real highlight of the week. We are hopeful that school will resume by September, but we’ve talked to the kids about the possibility that the Fall may look different than usual, so that they’re prepared with that in the back of their minds. As we’ve done all along, it’s one day at a time. Because my husband is a teacher, we’re in a great situation logistically, as he’ll be home with them if schools are still closed, so we don’t have the childcare piece to worry about that many parents do.

In regards to my running, I’m getting in that 5km loop every morning, and while it’s doing nothing to improve my fitness (there are lots of stops/breaks involved!), it’s really helping me to cope mentally. I truly enjoy that time, and when I look back on Covid, those morning family runs will be at the forefront of my memories.

On Sunday mornings, I’ve been getting out for a longer run on my own (usually around 12-15km); in the “normal” world, I would typically run with my training group on Sunday mornings, but these days it’s a solo run, starting around 9:00am rather than 7:00am.

Ashley Worobec - footwear

Worobec starts her day with a run. Rain doesn’t change the schedule; snow didn’t either.

I am currently registered for the Chicago marathon in October (I qualified for this race with my marathon time in New York City last November), but I’m anticipating that it will be cancelled, as has been the case with most other races this year. The Chicago organizers have not yet made that decision, but I’m mentally prepared for the email to arrive any day. I always love having a challenge though, so on Saturday, May 9th, I am participating in the virtual Brooklyn Half marathon- essentially it’s just an online way for the running community to come together. It’s a free registration, and the idea is that you complete 21.1km in your neighbourhood, and then upload your results to their website. It’s being organized by the New York Road Runners, the same running club that puts on the NYC marathon, so I was happy to see this come across their e-newsletter.

If anyone else is interested in getting involved, I encourage them to visit the website at https://www.nyrr.org/races/nyrrvirtualbrooklynhalf.

 

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Face masks being distributed to community groups

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Some State Governors in the United States are thinking of making the wearing of face masks mandatory. Ontario hasn’t taken to that idea yet.

A major Burlington supermarket announced that it requires patrons to wear a face mask when they are in the store.

Galbraith couple

Ward 1 Councillor Kelven Galbraith and his wife Angie Blignaut

Shawna and daughter

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte and her daughter Danielle

One of the problems is that face masks are in short supply.

The Gazette undertook to provide the material and the ties for face masks that are being sewn together by volunteers from across the city – there are ten sewers in place now and they have one person cutting cloth from bolts and running the cloth ties through a surging machine.

A couple of members of council are wearing masks and distributing them to people in their wards.  Those masks are fashion statements.

The Food Bank plans to include a mask with every food hamper they deliver.  Arrangements are being worked on to collaborate with other community organizations.

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Do we know what is happening to us?

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

May 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What’s happening to us?

We read that thousands have died – from something we don’t understand and nor do the scientists who are struggling to find a vaccine that will prevent the spread of the disease.

isolation - woman - window

Self-isolating

We are asked to stay inside as much as possible and when we do go out we are asked not to congregate with people. Don’t stop to talk to people – if you do keep at least six feet of space between people.

Grandfather at window

No hug – not even a Hi – just a wave

Children don’t get to see their grand parents; some parents don’t get to see their parents because they are in a retirement home.

We are told to wash our hands often – at least every hour.

We can’t go to work and when we are able to get back to work we are warned it is going to be a much much different environment.

How did we get to this point ?

There is a delightful children’s bedtime story – short – that has a lot for adults – it may have been meant for us and not the children.

There is something to think about for all of us in that short clip. Part of the answer as to what is happening to us is in that story.

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Number of infections are down; social distancing is working - keep it working.

News 100 redBy Staff

May 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Public Health Unit report on the number of cases of the COVID virus show some decline. Curve is not as flat as it needs to be, but there has been some progress.

Cases over time

541 – COVID-19 cases among Halton residents to date (478 confirmed + 63 probable)

May 3 Fig 1

Figure 1: COVID-19 cases, by episode date, Halton Region, Mar. 1-May 3, 2020

May 3 Fig 2

Figure 2: Cumulative COVID-19 cases, by episode date, Halton Region, Mar. 1-May 3, 2020

Figures 1 and 2 show the 541 COVID-19 cases among Halton residents reported by end of the day on May 3. All cases have been graphed according to their episode date, which is used to estimate the date that symptoms began. Figure 1 shows the number of new cases per day, while Figure 2 shows how cases have accumulated over time. Counts for the past 14 days should be interpreted with caution, since there is a delay between when a person becomes infected and when they develop symptoms, get tested, and are reported as a case. Please note the large increase on April 11 is due to expanded testing and identification of COVID-19 among asymptomatic individuals at Mountainview Residence.

Individuals who are lab-confirmed cases are shown in green. Individuals who are probable cases are shown in orange. Probable cases are epi-linked cases, which means they are presumed to have COVID-19 because they are symptomatic close contacts of cases or returning travelers who have COVID-19 symptoms.

Case demographics

73  cases were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak (13% of all cases)

86  cases work in health care (16% of all cases)

May 3 fig 3

Figure 3: COVID-19 cases, by age and sex, Halton Region, 2020

Figure 3 shows that by end of the day on May 3, the most COVID-19 cases were among Halton residents aged 40-59 (with 200 cases, or 37%). 317 cases (59%) were female.

May 3 fig 4

Figure 4: COVID-19 cases, by municipality of residence, Halton Region, 2020

Figure 4 shows that by end of the day on May 4, the greatest number of COVID-19 cases were among residents of Oakville (with 184 cases, or 34%). Please note this figure shows counts, and therefore does not take into account the different population sizes or age structures of the four municipalities. Counts in municipalities can also be inflated by outbreaks that have occurred within institutions in their boundaries. The figure excludes one case with municipality information pending.

Case exposure source

May 3 fig 5

Figure 5: Percentage of COVID-19 cases, by exposure source, Halton Region, 2020

Figure 5 shows that by end of the day on May 3, 225 of Halton’s COVID-19 cases (42%) had no known travel or contact history, and therefore were believed to have acquired the virus within Ontario, making them community cases. 206 cases (38%) had contact with a confirmed case that was believed to be the source of their infection. 98 cases (18%) had a history of travel that was believed to have been the source of their infection. Information on exposure source was pending for the remaining 12 cases (2%).

Case outcomes

75  cases who have ever been hospitalized to date (24 listed as currently in hospital)

395  cases who have recovered to date

22  cases who have died to date (11 of the deceased were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak)

Institutional outbreaks

12  confirmed institutional outbreaks of COVID-19 reported to Halton Region Public Health to date (4 are ongoing)

 

May 3 fig 6

Figure 6: COVID-19 institutional outbreaks, by date outbreak was declared, Halton Region, Mar. 1-May 3, 2020

Figure 6 shows the 12 confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 in Halton institutions reported by end of the day on May 3. Institutions are defined as long-term care homes, retirement homes, and hospitals. Eight of the outbreaks have resolved, while four remain ongoing. Among the 12 confirmed institutional outbreaks reported to date, seven (58%) have been in retirement homes, four (33%) have been in long-term care homes, and one has been in a hospital (8%).

Lab testing

>7,500  Halton residents are known to have been tested for COVID-19 to date

Comparison to Ontario

17,923  total confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario to date

 

May 3 fig 7

Figure 7: Age-specific rates of COVID-19 (per 10,000 population), Halton Region and Ontario, 2020

Figure 7 shows age-specific rates of COVID-19 for Halton and Ontario. Rates take into account the population size of each age group to make it possible to compare between different areas. Halton’s age-specific rates are currently significantly different from the provincial rates for all age groups except youth aged 0-19. For example, Halton has 32.5 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+, which is statistically significantly lower than the 58.7 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+ in Ontario overall. It is important to note that these rates will fluctuate as numbers increase throughout the pandemic, and that differences between age groups may reflect differences in the likelihood of developing symptoms and being tested.

Data limitations and data sources
Halton case data: integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), extracted at 7:00 AM on May 4, 2020, to reflect data entered by the end of the day on May 3, 2020

Halton lab data: COVID Data Information System, extracted on May 4, 2020.

Ontario case data: Public Health Ontario, Epidemiologic Summary, COVID-19 in Ontario: January 15, 2020 to May 3, 2020, posted on May 4, 2020 to https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

Denominators for Halton and Ontario age-specific rates: Population projections [2020], IntelliHEALTH Ontario, extracted on April 8, 2020.

Data notes
All cases of diseases of public health significance diagnosed in Ontario are entered into iPHIS by local public health units. iPHIS is the Integrated Public Health Information System. It is a dynamic disease reporting system which allows ongoing updates to data previously entered. As a result, data extracted from iPHIS represent a snapshot at the time of extraction and may differ from previous or subsequent reports as data are updated.

The data only represent cases reported to public health and recorded in iPHIS. As a result, all counts will be subject to varying degrees of underreporting due to a variety of factors, such as disease awareness and medical care seeking behaviours, which may depend on severity of illness, clinical practice, changes in laboratory testing, and reporting behaviours.

Cases are included if their “diagnosing health unit” in iPHIS is Halton Region, which means counts include only individuals whose primary residence is in Halton Region. The case may not necessarily have been managed by Halton Region, if they were temporarily residing elsewhere during their case management period. Cases managed by Halton Region who normally live elsewhere but who were managed by Halton Region staff because they were temporarily residing in Halton during their case management period have not been included.

Cases for which the Disposition Status in iPHIS was reported as ENTERED IN ERROR, DOES NOT MEET DEFINITION, DUPLICATE-DO NOT USE, or any variation on these values have been excluded.

Figure 1 distinguishes between lab-confirmed and probable cases. Since April 7, probable cases are defined as epi-linked cases, meaning they are symptomatic close contacts of cases or returning travelers who have COVID-19 symptoms and therefore are presumed to have COVID-19. All other figures and numbers include both confirmed and probable cases combined.

Figures 1 and 2 use episode date, which is a field that is intended to approximate the symptom onset date for each case. It is calculated hierarchically, using symptom onset date if available; when it is not available, specimen collection date is used; if neither symptom onset nor specimen collection date are available, the lab test date is used; and finally, if none of these other dates are available, the date the case was reported to Public Health is used.

In subsequent reports, counts in Figures 1 and 2 may increase as cases are added from past dates as individuals become symptomatic, get tested, and their results are reported to Halton Region Public Health, as well as any past results are added due to delayed data entry or new arrival of lab results.

Cases are considered to be patients or residents of an institution experiencing an outbreak if they are linked to a confirmed Halton institutional outbreak in iPHIS, and they are not known to be a staff person at the institution.

Cases are considered to work in health care if they are known to have an occupation that involves caring for patients, e.g. physician, nurse, occupational therapist, recreational therapist, chiropractor, paramedic, midwife, orderly, etc. Individuals who work in health care settings but do not provide direct care to patients (e.g. managers, cleaning staff) have not been included.

Exposure type is determined by examining the exposure and risk factor fields from iPHIS to determine whether a case travelled, was a contact of a case or neither. A hierarchy has been applied as follows: Travel-related > Close contact of a confirmed case > Neither (indicating community acquisition) > Information pending.

Case outcomes (hospitalizations, recovery, deaths) reflect the latest available information reported to Halton Region Public Health and recorded in iPHIS by the extraction time.

Institutional outbreaks include outbreaks of COVID-19 in settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and prisons.

Lab testing data reflects only lab tests that have been reported to Halton Region Public Health and entered into CDIS. There may be more residents who have been tested but not reported to Public Health.

For daily Halton case tables and up-to-date information about how to protect yourself and others, please visit halton.ca/covid19

For daily provincial epidemiologic summaries and more information on COVID-19 in Ontario, please visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus

For national information on COVID-19 in Canada, please visit Canada.ca/coronavirus

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Building Resiliency: City launches Emergency Preparedness Week and National Youth Week

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Timely – very timely.

With the province locked down while we deal with a pandemic that has infected tens of thousands and been the cause of death for tens of hundreds the city is offering advice and direction on how to better prepare for what we are going through.

depressed girlThe focus is on the young people, partly because this is National Youth Week.

The theme  for the Emergency Preparedness initiative is  “Putting on your resiliency backpack” and being prepared.

The best thing residents can do to protect themselves and the community is stay home, practice physical distancing and use online tools for social connectedness.

In an emergency, protecting yourself from mental stress and harm is just as important as protecting yourself from physical harm.

Within the web site page burilngton.ca/covid19resources, there are several organizations offering mental health supports and resources across the City. Many workplaces also offer similar resources and supports through workplace employee assistance programs.

One of the largest law firms in the country is sponsoring a Mental health in the age of dramatic change and uncertainty event.

Tips for protecting your mental health

  • Mental health graphicBe aware of your thoughts and feelings. It is normal to feel anxious
  • Limit the news you are watching or reading and ensure it is from a reliable news source
  • Reach out to friends and family through phone calls, video chats, texts
  • See resources and supports offered through burlington.ca/covid19resources
  • Keep healthy habits: eat healthy foods, stay active, get a good night’s sleep, drink water
  • Limit, reduce or avoid alcohol, drugs and caffeine
  • Take advantage of your employer’s employee assistance programs for mental health

Stress and anxiety can be high for youth during emergency situations, too. Many youths are working the front lines at grocery stores, restaurants and delivery.  They are at risk and they feel at risk – and many of them wonder – does anyone care?

There are organizations, resources and supports to support youth mental health in Burlington such as the Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK).

ROCK has put together resources and suggestions to help support children, youth, and families at this time of uncertainty. They are committed to live answering phone calls from the hours of 9 – 5 p.m. each business day. Families will have the ability to speak directly to a ROCK staff person. They have also created the opportunity to connect families to a pathway coordinator staff who will assess and support connection to brief virtual consultation services.

REach them in a number of ways:

rockonline.ca

Main Line: 289-266-0036

Crisis Line: 905-878-9785 – 24/7

Youth falling apartYouth are also invited to participate in the No Socks for Ivan daily challenges, which can be found on No Socks for Ivan’s Instagram page at burl_youthvoice. Daily challenges include posting about binge-worthy shows, books, shout-outs to essential and front-line workers, dance moves, athletic feats and more.

The Mayoris certainly onside pointing out that “There’s no better time than now to explore the issues around emergency preparedness and mental well-being. The City’s new webpage provides a wealth of information on supports and resources, and I am so impressed at how dozens of organizations from across our community collaborated to put this information together in such a short time. We are all facing resiliency challenges right now and we need these amazing local supports more than ever. I am thankful for the great work they continue to do to help our residents in these trying times.”

Amber Rushton, now the Community Emergency Management Coordinator, a who happens to have a lot of experience organizing communities and projects that take place in those communities saiid: “As we reflect this week on the importance of emergency preparedness and mental health and wellness, I ask that individuals, family members and friends of all ages across our community reflect on one vision: Putting on your resiliency backpack. What could you put in yours? How could you fill your neighbours? How could you fill your family members or your friends?

“These are unprecedented times and it’s still important to be prepared and take care of ourselves, which includes physical distancing, healthy habits and reaching out for health and mental health resources. Remember: in community we persevere, taking the right steps each day toward a more resilient tomorrow.  Stay healthy and be kind to one another. You are not alone.”

Links

  • Youth Week: burlington.ca/youthweek
  • Mental Health Week: mentalhealthweek.ca/
  • Emergency Preparedness Week: burlington.ca/epw

COVID-19 Links and Resources

  • For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
  • COVID-19 Resources: burlington.ca/covid19resources
  • Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
  • Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to rentals@burlington.ca or liveandplay@burlington.ca or 905-335-7738
  • Government of Ontario: ontario.ca/coronavirus
  • Government of Canada: canada.ca/coronavirus
  • World Health Organization: who.int
  • Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19

 

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Economic Recovery Network set up to guide how to get back on our feet.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington’s business support organizations, known as Team Burlington, have announced the launch of the Burlington Economic Recovery Network.

Comprised of Burlington Economic Development, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Aldershot Village BIA, and Tourism Burlington, Team Burlington has been working closely over the last several weeks to support the business community in dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

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?

How much of the downtown core will survive the pandemic? what about the Aldershot and Alton communities?

The Network will bring together key stakeholders and business leaders from across Burlington to develop a recovery strategy that will prepare our economy for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The impacts of the global pandemic are already being felt locally and there is a strong need to align economic stakeholders and business support groups to position Burlington for short and long-term economic recovery.

In a joint statement made by the leadership of the Team Burlington organizations they said:  “We’re being proactive. The Burlington Economic Recovery Network is a natural extension of the work Team Burlington is currently doing to support businesses in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. The creation of the network is about preparing businesses to come out strong on the other side and help our local economy recover. Meaningful advocacy, as well as business support and programming will be key outcomes.”

The impacts of COVID-19 are already being felt in our community and will continue to be felt long after the state of emergency has ended. It is anticipated that in Burlington alone, just under 2,000 businesses and 29,000 jobs may be directly affected. The network will work together to advocate for business support at all levels of government, including targeted relief measures and stimulus funding for the hardest hit sectors, which include agriculture, retail, tourism, healthcare  and hospitality.

The network will also focus on cutting “red tape” to help all sectors rebound and get back to business.

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor Meed Ward is happy with the work Team Burlington has done.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is looking forward to how the Network will help businesses through recovery. “Our local businesses have not been immune to the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 emergency. I’m very happy with the work Team Burlington has done so far and the support and guidance they have been offering to owners and staff. I support the launch of the Network as it will work to address, wherever possible, any gaps in existing supports, such as directing guidance to help manufacturers retool; clarity on direct contacts for supports at federally- and provincially-announced programs; and any constraints on our municipality to support.

The Economic Recovery Network will be focused on seeing our businesses through COVID-19 and ensuring they can get back on their feet after this crisis and that’s the light at the end of this tunnel that we need.”

Every bit counts and the business community is going to need all the help it can get.  There will likely be considerable damage.

There are views that the commercial sector hasn’t managed to come together as a group.  The creation of the Network is a good start – but isn’t the information they refer to available from the offices of the MP and the MPP?

And what are we hearing from the Economic Development people at the Region?

Stephen White, an at times acerbic critic had this to say several weeks ago.

Steven White

Stephen White

“Moral support and a business seminar. Is that it? Is that all Team Burlington has to offer? In the words of a song from the immortal American Blues singer, the great Peggy Lee,”Is that all there is”?

Here are some free ideas Team Burlington can “run up the flagpole”:

1) hire a website designer, create a central website, and have them work with all the small, at risk businesses in Burlington that do not currently have a website or internet presence. The website designer can help them create an ad or posting promoting their services, hours of operation, contact information, etc.

2) on behalf of small business owners at severe risk, collectively approach their landlords and ask them to accept a reduced rental payment through the end of the year. Half a loaf is better than no loaf. If the “at risk” businesses go under the landlords are left trying to rent property in a depressed market.

3) 2 hours free parking downtown from the time things open up to the end of the year.

4) Approach the Burlington Post and the Burlington Gazette, and purchase advertising space in both printed and electronic format on behalf of the most severely “at risk” businesses to promote their products and services. Default to those with no internet presence or website.

5) identify those business owners who want/have to sell, and facilitate discussions/meetings with recent immigrants or those wishing to buy a business.

If Team Burlington doesn’t like the preceding, then fine: come up with some ideas of your own.

However, for God’s sake, don’t just sit there and mouth platitudes like “We’re all in this together”. Moral support is wonderful, but it doesn’t put food on the table, pay the bills or keep a roof over one’s head. This is an existential crisis, and it’s high time the captains of industry in this community started demonstrating some real leadership.”

More information on the Burlington Economic Recovery Network will be posted on the Team Burlington COVID-19 one-stop-shop resource site, hosted on burlingtonchamber.com.

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If you're isolated and need some help in getting food into your kitchen - that help is a phone call away.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 4th, 2020

Burlington, ON

 

Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank explained in his short broadcast this morning that there are people who never thought they would have to rely on a Food Bank. He said: “We recognize that these are stressful times and you may not have ever thought that you’d be in this situation.

Bailey Apr 8

Robin Bailey – he is there to help.

“We are here to help you make things a little bit better for you and your family, confidentially, people don’t need to know where it’s coming from. It’s the start of the month and that’s budget time, so now we all have the stress of being alone and the financial stress. Allow us as part of your community to help you out right now. Give us a call.

“If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at the door. If you live in Burlington, we are here to help.

More about the Food Bank and how you can help.

 

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Local local local gets you re-elected - international moves you up the Cabinet level ladder

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Gould in the Legion kitchen

She gets right into the trenches with her constituents – this time it was a Legion kitchen.

Karina Gould is a Mother, a Burlingtonian, a graduate of McGill University and Oxford University. She is a Member of Parliament and a member of the Justin Trudeau Cabinet.

When she writes to her constituents she talks to her people. In her most recent missive she had this to say:  “Let’s get through the local stuff.” Karina has been doing BIG stuff at the world level as well.

“This is mental health week, I encourage you to check in on someone new every day. Whether it is a family member who you have talked to this week, or a colleague who you have not seen since social isolation began, I am sure they would really appreciate to hear from you.

“I know many members of our community might be struggling in other ways as well. COVID-19 has caused many to become food insecure and they may not be sure how to access the supports that are available here in Burlington. To assist those in need, the City of Burlington has compiled an extensive list of resources that residents can access to get the help they need or offer supports to the community. To access this page, please consult the link found here.

WHO director general

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization had a conversation with Minister of International Development  Karina Gould that he isn’t likely to forget. He won’t be looking forward to the follow up call he will be getting either.

“I know that accessing supports for the first time can be nerve racking but I can assure you the teams at the Burlington Food Bank, Food for Life, and the United Way are some of the most compassionate people out there. They understand the situation that you’re in and they don’t care about your income, they just care that you have access to food. Should you have any questions about accessing supports in Burlington, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

“I have some good news. In many parts of the country, the curve has flattened. This means that we are seeing some progress because of the commitment and determination shown by Canadians to stay home and practice physical distancing is paying off.
“To continue to improve on our results and ensure that we beat COVID-19 we must continue to stay home, wash our hands, and when we go out, stay two meters away from one another.”

Karina Gould - fingers apart

Karina Gould – punches well above her weight.

Local matters, especially when you want to get re-elected. During the month of April Gould had conversations with the people at the World Health Organization (WHO). Right now the world is struggling to control COVID-19 disease but there are a lot of people who wonder and are concerned that the WHO did not do the job that could and should have been done to warn the world what was likely to be coming our way.

The perky, always smiling mother of one child, can also be very firm and persistent at making her point. She advised WHO that they have been put on notice by the government of Canada.

This is a woman who punches well above her weight.

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On balance the public behaved reasonably well - there were exceptions but the message has certainly gotten through.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was the first really nice sunny warm day since the decision was made to lock down the province with the Mayor telling anyone with ears to stay home – and when they do go out for some exercise to walk and not stop to talk.

The only way, the public has been told, to put an end to the pandemic is to ensure that the virus is not spread from person to person.

The Regional Public Health unit produces daily reports showing that infections in the Region are rising every day – not by a huge number – but they are rising.

That curve we have been told about is not flattening.

But – sunshine, good weather – what do people do?

Playground beachway

Playground was vacant – surrounded by yellow tape.

I drove around the city in the northern part and then down into the waterfront and along the Beachway.

A couple of things were immediately evident. There were more police vehicles on the street; there were a lot of bikers roaring along and hundreds of young people on their bikes.

The vehicular traffic was not really heavy. On the residential streets most driveways had several cars parked.
I didn’t see very much in the way of sidewalk crowding.

Wore mask

Some people wore masks – which they slipped away from their faces once they were outside the supermarket.

Some people wore masks, some didn’t. Did see one couple – she wore nothing – he wore a mask and a shield.

There were children out and about but there weren’t hundreds of them.

People were respecting that six foot rule – for the most part.

Fortino

Each of the major supermarket chains has taken their own approach to staking out how they choose to respond to the public concern. Business for this sector is great.

Brant and Lakeshore is definitely the pinch point the Mayor has mentioned several times.
Supermarket parking lots, as well as Costco weren’t packed solid but there was a steady flow of traffic in and out.

Lowvillw Park

Lowville Park – CLOSED

Mt Nemo

Mt Nemo -CLOSED

Parks were all closed. Saw a couple of coffee shops that were opened but you couldn’t sit down.

Queen's Head patio

A hard sight for those who enjoy a cold one while sitting out on a patio.

The Queen’s Head patio was barren – a terrible sight for a drinking man.

Promenade well spaced

People were reasonable spaced, most people respected the pedestrians only rule.

Pedestrian traffic on the Promenade was steady and for the most part well-spaced out.

The message has certainly been heard and there didn’t appear to be a lot of worry from the people we spoke to – tough to have much in the way of a conversation six feet away from someone.

Two weeks from now we will see new numbers from the Public Health Unit and get some idea if our individual behavior is working.

I stood and watch small groups, 10 to 15 people, gather at intersections; some wearing masks other less than a foot away from people who were not wearing a mask.

Brant - Lkshore crossing

This is probably the location that bothers the public health people the most – Brant and Lakeshore – where people cross to get into Spencer Smith Park.

City manager Tim Commisso said last week that he shudders when he thinks about what could be going on amongst those small groups of 10 to 15 people.

We will know soon enough.

The Provincial government wants to open things up – give people some breathing room and let some business operations open up.

It is going to be tricky; these are perilous times.

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The curve is still not flat - and warmer weather is upon us - time to be even more vigilant.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For those who are having difficulty with the need to Stay at Home and not mingle with people you don’t live with when they are out – some  graphics from the Regional Health Unit should give you caution.

515 COVID-19 cases among Halton residents to date (456 confirmed + 59 probable)

The curve: It has to stop rising – until then we are going to have to Stay Home – and the province will not be able to even begin to lift the restrictions.

Episode date
71
cases were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak (14% of all cases)

78
cases work in health care (15% of all cases)

The number of people infected by municipality.

Muni differences

Burlington’s numbers have always been the lowest – that is not a reason to think we can let up.

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