To 'retain our humanity in times of such crisis and give our patients’ family some solace that they were treated with dignity'.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 12th, 2020



The Sunday habit is for one of us to walk up the lane to pick up the newspapers: she reads the Star; I read the Sunday New York Times.

I am convinced I get the better value but we share headlines and editorial cartoons.

covid virusThe Times this Sunday is almost wall to wall COVID-19 coverage or where President Trump dropped the ball.

New York City is reporting COVID-19 deaths of 800 a day and putting bodies in refrigerated trucks until they can determine where they can be sent.

A reporter managed to get into two hospitals, the Jack D Weiler Hospital and the Montefiore Medical Centre’s Moses division in the Bronx, to witness and document the chaos, panic, fear and bravery that takes place minute after minute.

Dr. Michael Jones who runs the physician resident program at both hospitals sent his young doctors an email last month asking them to go out of their way to comfort the COVID-19 patients.

Take a few moments if you can to talk about patients’ families, their lives, their dreams. Ask if there is a loved one you can call. And lastly, two very different things; hold your patient’s hand for a minute as they near death or pass, and ask your entire team to stop for five or ten seconds, bow your heads, state the patient’s name and ask for silence.

This helps us retain our humanity in times of such crisis and gives our patients’ family some solace that they were treated with dignity.

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You elected her - now please listen to her: STAY HOME

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 11th, 2020



The Mayor is pushing the message again and again – she has been relentless, which at this point in time is the most important job she has.

In the photograph below people are milling about in Union Square in New York City. The photograph was taken March 21, a scant three weeks ago.

Union Sq markeet garden NY City

Photograph taken three weeks ago – the COVID-19 virus was in the air then – they didn’t know that.

Yesterday, the Governor of the State of New York announced that there were 799 deaths in one day in the city.

covid virus

This red spikes are the part of the virus that attaches itself to us. Fascinating article in the Saturday Globe and Mail that explains what we are up against in great detail.

The COVID-19 virus is literally in the air – we are transmitting it from person to person and in the process killing each other.

The way we stop this is to just stop going outside.

Difficult, yes. Very hard for some. Close to impossible for others.

But that is what we are up against.

We have to dig down deep and do what we are being asked to do. Stay inside; if you decide to go out – stay away from other people.

For those who would like to understand this disease we are fighting there is an excellent news feature in the Saturday Globe and Mail. It is complex, actually quite fascinating, to learn how this virus attaches itself to us and how the scientists are looking for way to combat it.

The Mayor’s message is clear – sure you may have heard it yesterday, and the day before. Listen to it again and pay attention – your life depends on it.

Mayor Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Please stay home and self-isolate, engage in physical distancing and only go outside for essentials, such as food and medical needs or appointments.

Residents with symptoms are to self-isolate at home for 14 days and ask family, friends or neighbours to safely drop off supplies to you.

This is required to keep each other safe and healthy and to “flatten the curve.”

The longer we stay apart now, the sooner we can come together again.

Look at those numbers out of New York City – 799 dead in a single day.

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COVID results for the Region of Halton - Burlington numbers are re-assuring

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 9th, 2020



Data – data and more data.

Getting a grip on what is actually happening in Burlington and how we compare to those next door to us – is now possible. The Region released a report earlier today setting out where things stood as of April 8th.

It’s a sobering report but Burlington is going Ok – much better than the province overall.

There were 140 COVID-19 cases reported to Halton Region Public Health since the last update (125 confirmed + 15 probable)

There were 264 COVID-19 cases reported to Halton Region Public Health to date (249 confirmed + 15 probable)

report date

Figure 1: COVID-19 cases, by reported date, Halton Region, Mar. 1-Apr. 8, 2020: shows the 264 COVID-19 cases that had been reported to Halton Region Public Health by end of the day on April 8. All cases have been graphed according to the date they were reported, which is often several days after the onset of symptoms. Among the cases in this figure, 140 were reported since the last update (meaning they were reported between April 2 and April 8, 2020).

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

bu municipality

COVID-19 cases, by municipality of residence, Halton Region, 2020. graphic shows that by end of the day on April 8, the greatest number of COVID-19 cases were among residents of Oakville (with 102 cases, or 39%). Please note that because Burlington and Oakville have larger populations, it is expected that they have more cases.

by exposure

Graphic shows that by end of the day on April 8, 106 of Halton Region’s COVID-19 cases (40%) had no known travel or contact history, and therefore were believed to have acquired the virus within Ontario, making them community cases. 68 of the cases (26%) had a history of travel that was believed to have been the source of their infection. 56 cases (21%) had contact with a confirmed case that was believed to be the source of infection. Information on exposure source was pending for 34 cases (13%).

Age specific

Chart shows that by end of the day on April 8, the most COVID-19 cases were among Halton residents aged 40-59 (with 113 cases, or 43%). 144 of the 264 cases (55%) were female. Please note age groups have shifted since the last report, to align with provincial reporting.













COVID-19 cases, by age, Halton Region, 2020

38 Halton cases of COVID-19 have ever been hospitalized to date

69 Halton cases of COVID-19 have recovered to date

4 Halton cases of COVID-19 have died to date

5 institutional outbreaks of COVID-19 reported to Halton Region Public Health since the last update

6 institutional outbreaks of COVID-19 reported to Halton Region Public Health to date

Among the six institutional outbreaks reported to date, four (67%) have been in retirement homes, while the remainder have occurred in long-term care homes. Five of the outbreaks were reported since the last update (meaning they were reported between April 2 and April 8, 2020). None of the outbreaks have yet been declared over.

Comparison to Ontario

5,759 total confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario to date

Figure 5: Age-specific rates of COVID-19 (per 10,000 population), Halton Region and Ontario, 2020
Figure 5 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 similar to the provincial rates, except for residents aged 80+.

Currently, Halton has a statistically significantly lower rate of COVID-19 cases for residents aged 80+ compared to Ontario, with 6.3 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+ in Halton, compared to 10.9 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+ in Ontario. and prisons.

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Worobec: Spring is in the air; family has been spending a LOT of time outside


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

April 8th, 2020



We have been doing pretty well.

The shock and awe is easing, and we’re adjusting to a new normal.

All four of us are home, as my husband is a teacher so he and the kids are obviously not at school, and my clinic was closed as of March 16th.

Ashley Apr 8 plant

Something that says Spring is on its way – bit warmer would be nicer.

We are filling our mornings with more structured activities- the kids have begun their daily online work, which has been a real help to provide some routine and concrete goals. I’ve been helping the kids with their work while my husband does his own computer work- creating assignments for his students and interacting with them online, checking in to make sure all have access to the work, phoning to see how they’re doing.

I’ve been really touched with how much communication we’ve had from the kid’s teachers and I’ve seen how much work my husband is putting in, keep his own students engaged and informed. It’s a trying time, but we’re all adapting. The afternoons seem to be more unstructured, and we do lots of walks, puzzles, and movies.

Ashley office team Apr 8For me, my clinic is having bi-weekly Zoom meetings and that’s been really helpful to keep morale high.

We are working hard on the business behind-the-scenes, and it’s been great to have that focus. We are also offering complimentary virtual or telephone appointments for our patients, which allows us to modify their rehab exercises and give advice if they’re in pain or looking for some guidance for their biomechanical health.

Spring is in the air, which I’ve found to be helpful as well. My extended family is all in Alberta, and they are still very much in the depths of Winter, so it’s been harder for them to be outside. My family has been spending a LOT of time outside, and yesterday the kids set up their slack line in our front yard- it’s basically a big tightrope and provides lots of fun for them.

Ashley slack line Apr 8The Easter bunny brought it a couple of years ago, and it seems that every year around Easter weekend, the slack line finds its way outside- it really marks the start of the nice weather, and this year has been no exception.

Of course the kid’s sports have all been cancelled, but we’ve been playing a lot of games in our yard – soccer, football, and lots of workouts in our driveway. We have a bit of gym equipment, including some dumbbells and kettlebells and it’s been really nice to see our kids taking an interest in that as well, as my husband and I are both workout junkies.

Related news stories

Week 1

Week 2

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If there is a 2020 baseball season, the first time we might hear an ump shout 'play ball' will be July

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 8th, 2020



A 101 year tradition is about to take a hit – the Inter County Baseball League is going to have to basically cancel their season.

Many of the communities that have a ball team have closed their ball parks.

Baycats player sports

The Barrie Baycats have been the IBL league leader for the past few years

The COVID-19 has had an incredible impact on every aspect of society and sports is no exception and after a century of continuous operation, The IBL and all its teams are resigned to the fact that a traditional IBL season in 2020 is not possible.

Several of the municipalities where The IBL has teams have already stated that those ball parks will be off limits until at least Canada Day.

The IBL is still hopeful that the pandemic is brought under control in the coming months and that some sort of modified IBL season is possible.

Batter IBL August

The crack of the bat as it meets the ball may not be heard this season.

What that season might look like is pure conjecture at this point. We do know there is no hope for a full season and playoffs like The IBL and its fans have experienced for 101 straight summers. We also know that some teams have already made the tough decision that they will not be playing this year.

All teams, including those that are still holding out hope for some baseball this year, realize that the prospects of a season of any kind seems unlikely and would only move forward with the full blessing of the province, medical officers of health and our municipalities. We realize a lot of good things would have to happen for us to have some baseball this year including the absolute safety of our players, umpires, volunteers and fans.

This is consistent with Baseball Ontario’s current direction and hope for a season in 2020.

At this point, The IBL can say in confidence that we will not have baseball of any kind before July 1; that the majority of teams, while realizing IBL baseball this summer may seem unlikely, are hopeful of playing a modified season; and that some teams have already resigned themselves that they will not operate in 2020.

Finally, to our fans, players, umpires, sponsors, volunteers and all the people past and present who have a relationship with The IBL – stay in, stay healthy, stay safe and hopefully, we see you all at the ball park as soon as this is over and it is safe to do so.

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Food Bank would like you to CALL them - dropping by for food doesn't work all that well

News 100 redBy Staff

April 8th, 2020



Robin Bailey is a kind man who works hard at making sure people who need food get the food they need.

Bailey Apr 8

Robin Bailey – Executive Director Burlington Food Bank

He is a friendly man – but he does not want to see your face.

He doesn’t want you to come to his front door either.

If you need food; if you are self-isolating and don’t have anyone who can shop for you – call Robin – he will get food to you.

Just don’t visit him.

“At the Food Bank” explains Robin “we are still trying to transition our clients over to a home delivery model. For those that still come to the store, we are grateful that you are all practicing social distancing and wearing protective masks – thanks for doing your part.
If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help have them email us at 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.

Donations are always welcome –

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City-wide burn ban effective April 13th

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 7th, 2020



The Burlington Fire Department has issued a City-wide burn ban and suspending all Open-Air Burning Permits until further notice. The ban is effective April 13th, 2020

brush fire

Brush fires can easily get out of control – not what the fire department wants to have to deal with at this time.

As part of the COVID-19 response, a burn ban is being implemented as a preventative measure to ensure that Fire Department resources are available when and where needed most. Additionally, the Fire Department is trying to limit non-emergency interactions with residents and respect physical distancing requirements at this time.

Fire works

Fire department is discouraging the use of fire works this year.

Firework displays for the Victoria Day weekend are also being discouraged due to the potential fire hazard and concerns around social gathering.

Emergency orders currently in place to address the COVID-19 outbreak include the prohibiting of organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people. Failing to comply with any of the emergency orders is an offence under the Emergency Management and Civil Protections Act and may result in fines.

Park Closures
All amenities in City parks are closed, including parking lots. Please continue to respect the caution tape and keep off playgrounds, sports fields, skateboard areas, tennis and basketball courts.

Only walking, jogging, riding a bike or scooter/wheelchair through a park or trail is permitted. Remember to keep two metres away from others – about the length of a hockey stick.

The best thing residents can do to protect themselves and the community, is stay home.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward “supports the decision to ban open fires and fireworks for the time being as we manage the COVID-19 response throughout our city. Removing additional risk helps us ensure our emergency responders are better able to focus on the urgent work ahead of us in this unprecedented global health challenge.”

Lazenby David

Dave Lazenby, Fire Chief

Dave Lazenby, Fire Chief and Operations Section explains: “The open-air burning ban is a temporary measure to assist with the strategies put in place during this time of COVID-19, including physical distancing to help “flatten the curve”. It will also allow fire crews and fire inspectors to focus only on essential services without the need to deal with the issues and workload created by open-air burns. We anticipate lifting the ban as soon as it is safe to do so.”

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Proximity bylaw now has massive fines if people do not stay at least six feet apart. Error in the first version

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 7th, 2020


In an early version of this article we featured a picture of the Mayor and her family on the veranda of their home and suggested they were not adhering to the six foot requirement. They weren’t – what was neglected was that the six foot rule does not apply to family members living in the same house.

Our apologies to the Mayor and her family for our error.

Yesterday at a special meeting of council, city council unanimously approved a new physical distancing by-law to support efforts in minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

Council considers the protection of health and safety of the public to be of paramount concern, and the direction for the proposed by-law comes from the City’s Emergency Control Group.

The Medical Officer of Health has 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.

The City of Burlington’s by-law states that while on public property, no person shall stand less than a 2 metre distance to any other person that does not reside with them in a single household or permit a child under the age of 16 to stand less than a 2 metre distance from any other person that does not reside with them in a single household.

Upon conviction of an offence under this by-law, a person would be liable for a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum fine of $100,000.

The by-law is expected to be in effect through the duration of Burlington’s State of Emergency. More information can be found on the city’s website.

“We must all act responsibly to ensure the health and well-being of everyone in our city. It is my sincere hope that residents in our community will respect the repeated advice of healthcare experts and voluntarily maintain physical distancing so that no tickets need to be issued under this by-law.

“The longer we stay apart now, the sooner we can come together again.”

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Mayor hands out a tax relief goody - you still have to pay those property taxes - just not right now

News 100 redBy Staff

April 7th, 2020



The wheels are still turning at city hall.

Other than the Chair of the meeting and people from the Clerk’s Office, the Council Chamber is empty. Everyone else is “on-line” waiting for their opportunity to speak.

The day started out at 9:30 with a meeting of the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Standing Committee.

When they had finished their business the Mayor took the Chair and convened a special meeting of council to hand out a goody – relief of penalty and interest for property taxes in the months of April and May 2020 and relief of the administration charge for any returned payments during that time.

In her Statement the Mayor said:

The City has received numerous concerns from both the business community and homeowners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impact. The City currently has one property tax installment date remaining for interim billing on April 21. The temporary property tax relief will allow businesses and homeowners to make their April 21 installment by June 30 without incurring late payment charges.

Financial supports from the federal and provincial governments are also being introduced to support individuals and businesses. The temporary changes being recommended would mean that for the months of April and May 2020:

• No penalty will be charged for the April 21 installment for all property owners
• No month-end interest will be charged for all property owners in April and May
• No returned payment admin fee will be charged by the City for any returned tax payments (i.e. insufficient funds, stop payment)
• The next tax payment is not due until June 30

Pre-Authorized tax payments will continue to be withdrawn. Individuals on a preauthorized payment plan that are unable to make payment can temporarily suspend their withdrawals from their account by emailing The City requires notification at least three business days prior to the withdrawal date.

Taxpayers who sent a postdated cheque to the City for their April 21 tax installment and can no longer make payment have been asked to put a stop payment on the cheque at their bank.

Property taxes are the most important revenue source for the city to ensure we continue to provide essential services for residents of the City of Burlington during these challenging circumstances. Taxpayers are encouraged to make payments where possible during these unique times. This temporary relief will be reviewed by staff and council on an ongoing basis until the State of Emergency related to COVID-19 is lifted.

 Nice gesture – what will it do to the city coffers?  The public will get to learn just how deep in the hole the city will be when this is all over.

Remember the Mayor’s comment:  “Property taxes are the most important revenue source for the city”    When they run short of cash they turn to the property tax rate.

We are getting Statements from the Mayor on a regular basis – two so far this week

We aren’t seeing any Statements from the members of Council.  Maybe they aren’t allowed to speak; that must be particularly difficult for a couple of them – they always have something to say.

During a State of Emergency the deal is that the Mayor is the mouthpiece – they want the message to be consistent – makes sense.  But this council isn’t made up of high school drop outs.  They are innovate, committed and focused.  They were elected and they need to be heard.  And the public needs to hear from them.  The administration is in place to carry out the will of council.

Other than Statements from the Mayor this city has no clear idea what the will of Council is.  We did manage to get a sense as to what Councillor Sharman thinks – he is not a happy camper.


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City to hold a second Town Hall call-in on April 14th

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

April 7th, 2020



The City is going to host a second town hall – April 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. to provide updates about what the City is doing to protect the health and safety of our community and to address concerns from the public related to COVID-19.

The objective is to answer the questions the public has about the COVID-19 virus – the town hall has been extended to two hours and will take place between 7 and 9 p.m.

The two-hour town hall will be hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and provide the public with an opportunity to hear from a panel of leaders confirmed to date including:

Commisso stare

City Manager Tim Commisso didn’t have much to say first time around

• Members of City Council
• City Manager Tim Commisso and senior staff
• MP for Burlington, the Honourable Karina Gould
• MP for Oakville-North Burlington, Pam Damoff
• MPP for Burlington, Jane McKenna
• MPP for Oakville-North Burlington, Effie Triantafilopoulos
• President and CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital, Eric Vandewall
• Fire Chief, Dave Lazenby

How to Participate
Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:

Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email by the end of day April 13.

Please note: if you registered for the previous town hall (held on March 26), you are not required to register your phone number a second time.

Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-231-0276 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

Any questions not answered within the two-hour call will be posted, with answers, to the City’s website at, along with an audio file and full transcript of the call.

The first Town Hall call-in – on March 26, 2020, drew a reported 4200 people.

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Regional Health unit assures public nursing homes are being tightly monitored

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 6th, 2020



When the number of COVID-19 related deaths were reported at a single nursing home in Bobcaygeon exceeded ten there was concern about what was being done for people who are part of the very at risk.

The Gazette wanted to know what the Regional Health unit was doing to ensure that the same kind of outbreak did not occur locally.

We asked some questions:
What is being done to protect residents and staff at long-term care facilities in Halton (geographic area) from the spread of COVID-19?


The Allendale Long Term care facility in Milton.

• Halton Region Public Health runs three accredited, non-profit long-term care homes: Allendale in Milton, Creek Way Village in Burlington and Post Inn Village in Oakville.

• To provide a safe and secure environment for all residents, Halton Region long-term care homes currently restrict entry of non-essential visitors.

• The Region follows all Ministry of Health directives for COVID-19 and is ensuring infection prevention best practices to reduce the risk of infection in our homes.

• Halton Region’s long-term care homes take a number of other measures to protect residents and staff, such as:

o enhanced cleaning and disinfecting;
o active screening of anyone who enters the home (including staff, new admissions, etc.);
o using personal protective equipment when necessary;
o maintaining physical distancing (social distancing) between staff; and
o ensuring proper hand hygiene.

• If a resident starts to show symptoms of COVID-19, he/she will be isolated immediately.

• Halton Region has also been communicating with families of residents and all staff members about the current COVID-19 situation.

Have there been any COVID-19 positive cases at Halton Region-owned long-term care homes?
• One staff member at Allendale in Milton and one staff member at Post Inn Village in Oakville have tested positive for COVID-19.

• Halton Region Public Health is working with the long-term care and retirement homes to take important precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of other residents and staff in the home:

o Any symptomatic residents or staff will be tested and isolated appropriately. All infection prevention and control measures are in place.

o Halton Region Public Health is helping to facilitate testing and identifying infection prevention and control measures the home needs to take.

• Families of residents in these facilities have also been notified and are receiving regular updates about the outbreaks.

Is testing being done for residents and their care providers?
• Long-term care homes must consult with Public Health and the resident’s primary care provider if the resident:

o exhibits symptoms of COVID-19;
o has been exposed to the virus; or
o if there has been confirmation of transmission of COVID-19.

• Public Health or your primary care provider will determine if any additional health and safety and clinical actions are required.

• As of March 9, 2020, when homes submit specimens for standard respiratory testing, these specimens are also tested for COVID-19 automatically. There is no change to the usual practices for submitting respiratory outbreak specimens.

• At this time, LTC residents and healthcare workers who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 are being tested.

Post Inn Oakville

Post Inn long term care facility in Oakville

Are visitors allowed?
• To provide a safe and secure environment for all residents, the Ministry of Health directed all long-term care homes to restrict entry of non-essential visitors until further notice.

• Only essential visitors with a family member who is critically ill will be permitted to visit the home. Our long-term care staff will notify families directly if this exception applies to them.

Does Public Health monitor the Halton Region-owned long-term care homes to ensure the care is at least adequate and that frontline workers are given what they need?

• Yes, Halton Region ensures our staff have the resources and training they need to support residents. At Halton Regional Long-Term Care homes, our primary focus is the health and well-being of our residents. We are committed to using evidence-based resources to support and sustain best practices that ensure the best possible resident care. For example, Public Health provides guidance and support for infection prevention and control; assists in managing outbreaks; and provides regular updates and communication to ensure that residents and staff are protected and safe.

Does Halton Region know how many private long-term care homes, nursing homes and retirement homes there are in Halton?

• There are three regional homes (Post Inn, Creek Way Village and Allendale), 15 private long-term care homes and 30 retirement homes in Halton.


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If you're self isolating and need food - Call the Food Bank - they will deliver

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 6th, 2020

Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank asks if his Team is ready for another week of Stay Home.

Stay home so that his Team can deliver.

Thank you to the Burlington community that filled the Food Bank donation bucket at Freshco this weekend with 500lbs of food! That really helps as its difficult finding places to purchase food right now.

We really want people to know that we are well prepared for this – we have the food and thanks to you – the cash to purchase and build the hampers for our home deliveries.

If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help have them email us at or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at the door.

The Gazette wondered if the Food Bank service was limited to the Aldershot community – no – it is available to anyone in the city – especially to those who are self-isolating.

Today’s update


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Mayor turns to the 'grass roots' for help and direction in meeting the COVID crisis

News 100 redBy Staff

April 6th, 2020



Mayor Marianne Meed Ward today announced the launch of a Task force that will share information and mobilize community and agency resources to support our hospital and healthcare workers.

Today I launched the Burlington COVID-19 Task Force with the goal of further supporting our community through this unprecedented health crisis.

The Task Force will share information and mobilize community and agency resources to support our hospital and healthcare workers as we prepare for the anticipated surge of patients in the coming weeks and the recovery period to follow, as well as coordinate our broader community efforts on COVID-19. Members will bring information and/or requests for assistance back to each of their own organizations and emergency response tables.

While this information-sharing and collaboration is already happening, the Task Force will formalize and add structure to this effort as we collectively serve our community over the coming weeks and months.

Membership includes community leaders and decision-makers representing various organizations and agencies involved in the COVID-19 response. New members may be added as needs evolve. Each participant is likely to be a member of their own organization’s COVID-19 response group, with an ability to bring information from that table to the Task Force, and vice versa.

Invitees began with and grew from the panelists on the City’s recent public telephone town hall on March 26th. Community response to that event was overwhelmingly positive, with residents specifically mentioning that they appreciated the assembled panel of cross-functional experts and leaders, and seeing the evidence of collaboration, sharing of information and coordinating of efforts to serve them.

Organizations invited at this time include representatives from the City of Burlington and our Emergency Control Group, City Council, the Burlington Fire Department, Halton Regional Police Service, Joseph Brant Hospital, our local MPs and MPPs, school boards, Halton Region, Burlington Hydro, TEAM Burlington and business support groups, as well as military, spiritual and philanthropic groups. The full list can be found on our website.

Our first meeting will take place tomorrow afternoon. Future meetings are expected to take place weekly, or more often as necessary, by teleconference chaired by the Mayor. A summary of action and information will be provided to all members after each call, with highlights posted for the public on the City’s and Mayor’s websites.

I look forward to the continued collaboration between these valued organizations and leaders in our community as we work through the challenge that we now know is ahead of us for the next 18-24 months.

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The kids are back in school - just not in classrooms - it is going to be an interesting and revealing week for everyone

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 6th, 2020



Child getting off school bus

Students will not be on school buses for the next couple of months.

Classrooms won’t have students in them this morning – but there will be thousands of students sitting in front of computers communicating with teachers at the other end of an internet connection.

Every restaurant in town will be empty – except for those who have decided to offer a take-out service.

Just about all of them are not certain they will ever be able to open again.

The schools will, at some point, re-open.
The Gazette will report on the hospitality industry later in the week. The federal government loan program has been announced – it will take a few days for the hospitality people to get a clear sense as to what this will mean for them. A $40,000 loan doesn’t really go all that far.

Sagar behind screen

Kerry Sagar didn’t know that she would be teaching from a computer screen several months ago.

This morning Kerry Sager will begin her classroom session with the iStem students at Aldershot high school. Sager

Julia Hunt Gibbons is a Superintendent with the Halton District School Board. When the schools were closed by the province her work load increased as she, along with all the other Superintendents who had to reflect, refine, and plan roll outs of continuity of learning/distance learning.

Hunt Gibbons

Superintendent Julie Hunt Gibbons will be doing a lot more explaining and advising for the next few months – by telephone and online.

Hunt Gibbons won’t be doing any direct teaching to students, although she does spend a lot of time “answering their questions on the Board FAQ.”

Her primary role is “more of a supporter of teachers, a writer — along with Secondary Program Department members offering lesson suggestions, assessment and evaluation, IT on-boarding, problem-solving and Ministry/board messaging.”
What Superintendents really have to do will become much clearer in the next few days as both parents and students adjust to how an education is going to be delivered.
One of the ironies with how students are going to be taught now (electronically) is that this was one of the issues teachers were fighting the Ministry of education over. Teachers wanted limits on just how much education would be delivered electronically – now that is all they a have to work with.
The biggest job now for everyone is facilitating the sharing that has to take place between teachers across the system, largely through Google Hangouts these days.

graphic coping redThe Gazette has created a small team of parents who have children in elementary classes. They are as concerned as the teachers who have to make the best of what they have. We will report on what the parents have to say. You can follow their views and comments in the Coping series.

As for Kerry Sagar, she is organizing her day getting ready to teach.

Related news story

How parents are coping with having the kids at home.

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The rate at which the virus is spreading is staggering. The worst for North America has yet to be recorded

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 4th, 2020



The numbers just keep climbing with New York State death toll from coronavirus on Saturday surpassed 3,500 as confirmed cases rose to 113,704, bringing the U.S. total to more than 7,700 fatalities and 287,000 cases.

Canadians now settle in for the onslaught and the surge that has been predicted and is now being experienced.

The Canadian experts have given the public instructions – they are simple – stay indoors; if you are out distance yourself from others.
Stay away from crowds and wash your hands frequently.

The rate at which the corona virus has spread world wide is staggering.

Livde screen Mar 23

March 232rd, 2020

March 27

March 27th, 2020

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April 4th, 2020

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The challenge: Learning to stay inside and walk safely when you choose to be outside

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 4, 2020



Getting people to fully understand what we are up against with the COVID19 crisis.

During a media event yesterday – Friday, three doctors made it very clear that 3000 to 15,000 people will die. They left the impression this level of loss was inescapable.

They will be people with compromised immune systems. Each year something in the order of 1300 people die during the annual flu season.

The downside is horrific.

The medical community warns that the surge of infections has yet to arrive in full force. That surge can’t be stopped. The infections that are going to show up in the days and weeks ahead were either brought into the country or passed from one person to the other a week to two weeks ago.

People have yet to see the number of deaths rise – we are seeing the number of infections reported increase. Some of those infected people will die; they are most likely to be people in the 70 and 80 year age range.


Projected death April 30Projected cases

This year the medical community is dealing with a flu that has never been seen before and for which there is not yet a vaccine.

Those are the hard on the ground facts.

People are told to stay inside – something many are having difficulty doing.

Rattlesnake 2

These cars were parked outside Rattlesnake Point Conservation Halton Area that had been officially closed earlier in the week.

We seem then in public parks where they have been gathering in groups. So the cities are closing the public parks.

People want to get outside for some exercise and fresh air – and are frustrated by all the negative news and rules they aren’t certain make a heck of a lot of sense.

The Beachway has always been a popular place for people to walk; to spend time on the beach in warmer weather.

Beachway - no cars parked

Not a single car parked – barricades in place

Earlier in the week the parking lots in the Beachway were packed – not the case now – except for one lot at the west end everything is blocked.

So what do you do to get out for some fresh air and exercise?

Beachway - west end lot open

West end lot was left open. For who?

You are going to have to be creative and find spaces that are not crowded.

This is a situation we are going to be in for the balance of April for certain.

Any lifting of the limits on what we can do and where we can do it will be determined by the number of infection reports we get.

Dr. Donnelly, one of the three presenters at the media event on Friday, made the point:

The solution to the crisis is in our hands – our behaviour will determine just how quickly we can get the worst of this behind us.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Critical six foot rule not being observed on the hospital site where 93 bed modular health unit is being assembled.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 4th, 2020



It was the right decision.

Create additional ICU capacity for the wave of infections that are about to hit the province.

The Joseph Brant hospital moved quickly; allocated $2 million to a field hospital that can hold 93 people and the equipment needed to get them through the infection.

Hospital president Eric Vandewall made sure that the modular field hospital was sourced and delivered quickly. Trucks left Calgary with all that was needed and in just over a day the parts to construct the modular hospital were on the ground and being assembled.

Modular - full view

Located right beside a side entrance to the hospital the 93 bed modular unit is being assembled in about 12 days.

The structure looks a little like the inflated domes used for people to play soccer in.

The unit sits right beside a side entrance to the hospital – making the transfer of patients into the modular unit and back to the hospital if a higher level of care is needed – smooth and efficient.

The hospital expects to have everything in place by the end of the week.

But … there are health safety issues on the site.

The six foot rule seems to have been forgotten.

Modular three workers

Never mind the six foot rule – these men are not even six inches apart – 20 feet from the entrance to the modular 93 bed health unit they are assembling.

Men work inches apart over a piece of equipment. A hole had to be drilled into a steel plate – the drill bit broke twice.

A little further from the construction area a group of men gathered around what looked like an administration office for the builder – BLT.

No protective masks – which may not have been necessary. And not all that much in the way of space between the men.

Earlier in the day three doctors, President and CEO of Ontario Health Matthew Anderson alongside President and CEO of Public Health Ontario Dr. Peter Donnelly and Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health Adalsteinn Brown revealed the projected numbers at Queen’s Park on Friday.  They spent an hour and a half explaining what the projections were for COVID-19 infections. The low end of the projections was 3,000 to 15,000 that could die.

That was possible if people worked to that six foot rule. Those on the Joseph Brant hospital site didn’t adhere to the rule – if just one of them was infected – then they would all become infected and take what they had picked up to the people they interacted with.

This is what the doctors were very very worried about.

With this kind of behavior everyone is at a much higher risk.

Modular - workers - group

Construction workers on the hospital site fail to adhere to the 6 foot rule – endangering everyone they are in contact with.

The Gazette photographer was a good 15 feet away.

Ironically and disturbing that someone did not explain to these men what and why they were putting together a modular health unit.

Some of them might be the first patients to be in one of the 93 beds available.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus is preventable – but not with this kind of behavior.

Where was the project supervisor?

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Response to the Mayor's call for a Front Line Clap goes unheeded.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 4th, 2020



It is said that it is the thought that counts.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward wanted to show a little love for the front line workers and asked citizens to join her for a Front- Line Clap as one way to show appreciation for the people who are working to protect us.

In a report to the citizens of the city Mayor Meed Ward said:

“I want to thank all our healthcare and front-line professionals for their remarkable work in this crisis, from doctors and nurses to janitorial and operational staff at our hospitals and doctors’ offices, to bus drivers and grocery store workers and the entire logistics chain that manufactures, delivers and sells the essential food and supplies we all depend on. I know they are working long hours, spending time away from their families and loved ones, and faced with new challenges and difficult decisions like never before. Our entire city owes them a debt of gratitude for their skills and service. They come to work every day for us, and they are the reason the rest of us need to stay home and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“This Friday, April 3rd, please join me in showing your appreciation for all these heroes through the Front- Line Clap at 7pm. Stand on your front porch, front step, or balcony to clap for 2 minutes so they can hear our gratitude.”

It didn’t quite work out that way.

The Gazette spent some time in the area the Mayor lives in – the streets were quiet except for a father on a bike teaching his son how to maneuver his small bike.

Mayor with iPad on deck

Mayor sets up her iPad on her veranda. Was the intention to broadcast the clapping?

The Mayor came out onto her veranda and set up her iPad.

There were no neighbours on their verandas.

A local photographer happened along, chit chatted with the Mayor.

The Gazette photographer put the camera away and returned to the car.

Mayor talking to photo

Local photographer observes the six foot rule – chats with the Mayor.

A Gazette reader had hoped that hundreds of people would take up the Mayor’s call. The reader wrote:

“Put blue ribbons on my balcony & bundled up & waited for others in the neighborhood to join in with clapping or cow bells or shouting or honking of horns. NOTHING!!! I know we are all a little anxious right now, but a little appreciation for all those people looking after those affected by this insidious virus, are living with anxiety that we cannot possibly imagine. Bad on us!”

It is the thought that counts and the Mayor has it right when she says: “STAY home, STOP the spread, SAVE lives”

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The data suggest we can reduce significantly the number of people who will die because of the virus - if we follow the rules

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 3rd, 2020



The province could experience something between 3,000 and 15,000 deaths from the COVID-19 virus – if we follow the rules.

Three of the smartest medical minds in the province, each doing a critical job, were on-line for a media event that lasted more than an hour and a half.


Dr. Peter Donnelly and Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health

President and CEO of Ontario Health Matthew Anderson alongside President and CEO of Public Health Ontario Dr. Peter Donnelly and Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health Adalsteinn Brown revealed the projected numbers at Queen’s Park on Friday.

Dr Donnelly explained that in a normal flu season about 1,350 people die.

The data that was presented indicated that Ontario would have seen 300,000 cases of COVID-19 and 6,000 deaths by the end of the month if there was no government action or intervention.

There is one action that can keep the number of deaths down to that 3,000 level and that is to follow the rules.

graphic covid 1One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. Two ears that work is all you need. Stay indoors; if you do go out for exercise stay away from other people. Mayor Meed Ward got it right.

The solution to the crisis we face, said Dr. Donnelly “is in the hands of the public.”

The decision to close schools in March was the right decision. Closing offices and factories were the right decisions.

Dr Matthews explained that the level of mortality for people over 80 who have underlying conditions and become infected is 16% – For those 70 the mortality level is 10%

Getting the data that was needed to do useful modelling from which projections can be made did take some time. Ontario was a little slow off the mark in the testing.

There were other issues:

Are there going to be enough ICU beds? Dr Anderson said that it is going to be very tight – and if public behaviour does not follow the rules – there will be a problem.

ICU capacity

The province believes they will be OK – but there is no certainty.

Dr. Donnelly, who did most of the talking, said that the province is going to have to be rapid and rigorous in bearing down on people who don’t follow the rules.

Projected cases

Projected death April 30We are heading into what looks like a decent weekend. Last weekend there was some really poor public behaviour. Cars were lined up on the side of the road at Rattlesnake Conservation area – when the park was officially closed.

People at Spencer Smith Park were tearing away that yellow tape that was around the park swings – Do that and the numbers will rise – and we will all be in very serious trouble.

six feet

Is that six feet of space?

People were standing just too close together.

The solution is in our hands. The solution to the problem is in the way we all behave.  Discipline yourselves and don’t be afraid to remind your neighbours.

“It is not possible to be exact about where we will end up,” continued the Dr Donnelly. “But I think it is reasonable to say that if we do everything that we can think of, everything that already has been done stays in place, all of the other measures that are being considered put in place, we could reduce the death toll.”

He then talked about the virus being part of the world we live in for a couple of years.

Rattlesnake 2

The park these cars were parked outside had been officially closed.

Ontario is reporting 3,255 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the province with 67 deaths as of April 2.

President of Ontario Health, Mathew Anderson, said during today’s press conference on the models, that we are already growing close to pushing our healthcare system beyond its current capacity.

“If we do not adhere to social distancing — if we do not contain this disease, it will grow more rapidly,” he said.

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Province reduces the number of essential services that can operate during the COVID crisis: from 74 to 44

News 100 redBy Staff

April 3rd, 2020



The province has revised the list of essential services that can remain open and operate in the province.

For the purposes of this order, businesses include any for-profit, non-profit or other entity providing the goods and services described herein.

This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on this list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery. This also does not preclude the operation or delivery of services of any publicly funded agency or organization that delivers or supports government operations and services, including operations and services of the health care sector.

Teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.

The list has been reduced from 74 to 44.

They are:

Supply chains

Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services within Ontario, or that supply businesses or services that have been declared essential in a jurisdiction outside of Ontario, with the support, products, supplies, systems, or services, including processing, packaging, warehousing, distribution, delivery, and maintenance necessary to operate.


Businesses that primarily sell food, beverages and consumer products necessary to maintain households and businesses including:
Supermarkets and grocery stores.
Convenience stores.
Discount and big box retailers selling groceries.
Restaurants (take-out, drive-through and delivery service only).
Beer and wine and liquor stores.


Gas stations and other fuel suppliers.
Laundromats and drycleaners.
Security services for residences, businesses and other properties.
Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services.
Courier, postal, shipping, moving and delivery services.
Funeral and related services.
Staffing services including providing temporary help.
Veterinary services (urgent care only) and other businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums and research facilities.
Home child care services of up to six children as permitted under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, and child care centres for essential workers authorized to operate in accordance with Ontario Regulation 51/20 (Order Under Subsection 7.0.2 (4) of the Act – Closure of Establishments) made under the Act.
Hotels, motels, other shared rental accommodation including student residences, except for seasonal campgrounds and any pools, fitness centres, meeting rooms and other recreational facilities that may be part of the operations of these businesses.
Cheque cashing services.

Services to the public that are restricted to alternative methods of sale

Stores that sell any of the following items and provide them to the customer only through an alternative method of sale such as curb side pick-up or delivery, except in exceptional circumstances:
Hardware products.
Vehicle parts and supplies.
Pet and animal supplies.
Office supplies and computer products including computer repair.
Safety supplies.

Financial services

Businesses that provide the following financial services:
Capital markets and related securities trading and advisory services.
Banking/credit union activities including credit intermediation.
Land registration services.
Real estate agent services.
Pension and benefits payment services.
Financial services including payroll and payment processing and accounting and tax services.

Telecommunications and IT infrastructure/service providers

Information Technology (IT) services, including online services, software products and the facilities necessary for their operation and delivery.
Telecommunications providers and services (phone, internet, radio, cell phones etc.) and facilities necessary for their operation and delivery.
Newspapers, radio and television broadcasting.


Maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.

Transportation services

Businesses and facilities that provide transportation services, including,
transportation services provided by air, water, road, and rail, including taxis and other private transportation providers, and
support services for transportation services, including,
logistical support, distribution services, warehousing and storage, truck stops and tow operators,
services that support the operations and safety of transportation systems including maintenance and repairs, and
marinas, but only to the extent that the marina is necessary to enable individuals to access their primary place of residence.
Businesses that provide and support online retail, including by providing warehousing, storage and distribution of goods that are ordered online.


Businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers, (e.g. primary metal/ steel, blow molding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc. that feed the end-product manufacturer), regardless of whether those other manufacturers are inside or outside of Ontario, together with businesses that support and facilitate the movement of goods within integrated North American and global supply chains.

Agriculture and food production

Businesses that produce food and beverages, and agricultural products including plants, including by farming, harvesting, aquaculture, hunting and fishing.
Businesses that process, manufacture or distribute food, beverages, crops, agricultural products, animal products and by-products.
Businesses that support the food or agricultural products supply chains and the health and safety of food, animals and plants.


Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space.
Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.
Critical industrial construction activities required for,
the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,
significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced,
industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, and/or enhancement of Personal Protective Equipment, medical devices (such as ventilators), and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residential construction projects where,
a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes
an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings, or
the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020.
Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety.

Resources and energy

Businesses that provide and ensure the domestic and global continuity of supply of resources, including mining, forestry, aggregates, petroleum, petroleum by-products and chemicals.
Electricity generation, transmission, distribution and storage and natural gas distribution, transmission and storage.

Community services

Businesses that deliver or support the delivery of services including:
Sewage treatment and disposal.
Collecting, transporting, storing, processing, disposing or recycling of any type of waste.
Potable drinking water.
Critical infrastructure repair and maintenance including roads, dams, bridges etc.
Environmental rehabilitation, management and monitoring, and spill clean up and response.
Administrative authorities that regulate and inspect businesses.
Professional and social services that support the legal and justice system.
Government services including but not limited to policing and law enforcement, fire and emergency services, paramedics, coroner and pathology services, corrections and court services, licences and permits.


Businesses and organizations that maintain research facilities and engage in research, including medical research and other research and development activities.

Health care and social services

Organizations and providers that deliver home care services or personal support services to seniors and persons with disabilities.
Businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies.
Regulated health professionals (urgent care only) including dentists, optometrists, chiropractic services, ophthalmologists, physical and occupational therapists and podiatrists.
Organizations that provide health care including retirement homes, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, independent health facilities and mental health and addictions counselling supports.
Laboratories and specimen collection centres.
Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, including medications, medical isotopes, vaccines and antivirals, medical devices and medical supplies.
Manufacturers, distributors and businesses that provide logistical support of or for products and/or services that support the delivery of health care in all locations.
Not-for-profit organizations that provide critical personal support services in home or residential services for individuals with physical disabilities.
Not-for profit organizations that support the provision of food, shelter, safety or protection, and/or social services and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable individuals.

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