Town Hall on line at 6:45 pm - Call 1-800-280-9610 to listen in or follow the audio on twitter @yourtvhalton.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The city is going to hold an electronic town hall this evening – it will not be a web cast.  It will be audio only – to hear what is said you apparently dial into the 1-800 number – which we thought was for people who were going to ask question.

Telephone town hall logoFor an item that has been hyped by members of Council, the Mayor and her staff there is little in the way of clarity.

Cogeco TV is involved – a senior political staffer used the phrase “so I am told”.  Cogeco was apparently a late comer to the initiative.

Earlier in the week the Mayor was doing robo calls to random telephone numbers asking people to participate.

Council members sent notices out to their participants saying: “We know there are a great deal of questions in our community related to health, finances, and supporting those in need.  Call 1-800-280-9610 if you want to listen in. 

The people who will be asking questions have apparently been selected.

“Important information is changing daily, and not everyone in our city has access to channels like television, the internet, and print media.

“This one-hour town hall will be open to all members of the public and provide an opportunity to hear from a panel of leaders including:

Eric andewall TITLE

President and CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital

City Council and the Mayor
▪ Senior City Staff including City Manager, Tim Commisso
▪ MPP Jane McKenna
▪ President/CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital
▪ Medical Director of Infection, Prevention and Control of Joseph Brant Hospital
▪ Deputy Chief of Halton Regional Police
▪ Superintendent of Halton Regional Police

How to Participate
“Anyone who did not receive a telephone invitation can listen in by calling  1-800-280-9610 at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 to join the town hall.

“For those individuals calling into the town hall, please be advised that more than one attempt may be required to connect to the call due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If your call does not connect you to the town hall on your first try, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

“Information about the town hall has also been shared across the city through the City’s website and social media channels.

“We ask our residents to help spread the word to their friends and neighbours so that anyone who is interested may participate.

“Once the call begins, participants will be provided instructions by a moderator for submitting their questions to the leadership panel.

“Any questions that are not answered within the hour-long call will be posted, with answers, to the City’s website at burlington.ca/coronavirus, along with an audio file of the call and a full transcript as soon we can.”

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Non profit sector proves to be both nimble and innovative in an uncertain environment: Food Bank ensures people have what they need

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The not for profit sector in Burlington has shown that it can be nimble and innovative when the need is evident.

The Compassion Society, located in Aldershot had to close their doors due to COVID-19 issues.

Food Bank - Robin

Robin Bailey, Executive Director, Burlington Food Bank

The Burlington Food Bank found that the demands being made on their services were increasing at a time when their normal sources of food were not as available.

With COVID-19 something that had to be dealt with – the Food Bank changed the way they delivered food. Instead of people coming in for food – the Food Bank created a group of volunteers who would drive the food from the Food Bank to the needy household.

With the closure of the Compassion Society St. Matthews United Church jumped into the breach and set up a food collection service open every Monday and Wednesday from noon to 3:00 pm.

At the end of those two days the St Matthews volunteers took the food to the Food Bank.

Lisa-with-deaf-man-768x831

Lisa Lunski at Wellington Square United Church

Lisa Lunski, who runs the helping side at Wellington Square United Church, brought up a concern. Is the food being dropped off at St Matthews secure?

“People drop off their non-perishable food at St. Matthews’s driveway between 12 and 3pm on Mondays & Wednesdays. After 3pm the transportation volunteers one at a time put the food in their vehicles and take it directly to the Burlington Food Bank who keeps it separate in their facility for 2 weeks before using it in their food hampers.

They do not want the possible contamination of the public coming to drop off food any longer. They are concentrating on making up and delivering the food hampers to people who have contacted them. Their drivers leave the boxes at the recipient’s door and then from their car, call them to tell them it is there.

Connie Price assured The Wellington Square United Church people that the food wasn’t compromised in anyway.

Domenique W Food Bank

Dominique Wildeboer getting ready to show how the food hampers are put together at the Food Bank

Burlington Food Bank volunteer Dominique Wildeboer demonstrates the assembly of  hamper baskets for non perishable items. Currently these 30-40 lb baskets get delivered to family doors by our volunteers.

St Matthews flyerThey also include some special order items as needed and communicated by the family. Each family or individual gets all of these items. Once the boxes are packed they then include the fresh produce portion.

In video updates the Food Bank does every couple of days Wildeboer demonstrates a family donation assembly and Robin Bailey shows the fresh produce portion.

What we were seeing is four different non-profit organizations working together and changing as quickly as necessary to ensure they didn’t become part of the problem and at the same time ensuring that people who were food insecure were fed.

 

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COVID19 is approaching the half a million mark: it can be contained - just follow the rules.

background graphic greenBy Staff

March 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The growth of the COVID-19 in Burlington is very very small when looked at from a global perspective.

Part of the reason for that is the diligence most people have shown and the way the public is listening to the leadership from the Mayor.

On Thursday there will be a telephone Town Hall that will give the public a chance to ask questions.

To give the public a chance to get a sense as to just how bad things are in the rest of the world we have excerpted some data from a web site we refer to frequently.  The source is very reputable. A link to the site with the data is here.

Set out below is data that shows the world wide status for three different dates.

Covid live Mar 24

March 24th, 2020

March 25

March 25th, 2020

March 26

March 26th, 2020

The best way residents can prevent the spread of respiratory viruses including COVID-19 is to:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into upper sleeve, not hand.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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Marathoner is ready for the long haul with kids out of school.

graphic coping blueBy Ashley Worobec

March 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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, Amber Rohol, 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.

Ashley Worobec is a  chiropractor  working with athletes as well as a mother with two children  11 and 8.  She completed the New York City Marathon a number of months ago.

We have a big sheet of paper where we brainstormed a bunch of ideas to do over the coming weeks.

Lots of house projects, like sorting through our closets, cleaning out the garage, raking the backyard.

Oct 1 Ashley with dog

Ashley Worobec and the family Golden Retriever who has been taught to roll over.

We have been looking on YouTube for “dog trick” videos and trying to teach our Golden Retriever some fun stuff- she just learned how to play dead, ha! Next is rolling over…..

The kids have been using a website called www.typing.com and that’s been helpful to improve their typing skills- there are various levels they can complete.

In the evenings, we’ve been working on a 1000-piece Harry Potter puzzle that’s on our dining room table.

We’ve also looked up a bunch of recipes that interest us, and have been making something new each day, whether that be dinner (last night was chicken parmesan from www.skinnytaste.com) or baking a new type of muffin.

Facetime has been a lifesaver- lots of chatting with my extended family in Alberta and with the kids’ friends locally.

Ashley Worobec - hair flying H&S

Worobec on a practice run – when the weather was nicer.

My next race is the Chicago marathon in October- so far that’s not changed, but we will see how the coming months play out. All of the Major Spring marathons have either been cancelled or pushed to a Fall date…..

graphic coping redCoping with COVID & the kids is a collaborative effort between three women and the wider community.  The group will “prime the pump” with ideas from their experiences; we invite readers to use the comments section at the end of each feature to add their own ideas.

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Getting tested for COVID19 at the hospital

News 100 redPepper Parr

March 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We are all working at keeping our distance from others; going out only when it is necessary; washing our hands regularly and listening to the news to stay aware of a very challenging and changing set of circumstances.

What happens if you feel you may have symptoms – and think you should be tested,
You have to fall within the parameters set out by the Regional Heath people.

If they think you should be tested this is how it happens.

A Gazette reader advises that he and his wife went in for testing last Saturday.

No results yet.

– We arrived at Jo Brant for our appointment time

– COVID-19 Testing is done on the Northshore side of the Hospital where the old Emergency Department Exit was.

Rose parking spot

Assigned parking spot

– You pull up in your car to a designated parking spot.

– The Doctor contacts you on your Mobile Phone. Asks you to come in and touch nothing.

– We walked to the door where we were greeted by a very nice fully gowned Nurse.

– The nurse handed us a Face-mask and instructed us to use the provided Hand Sanitizer.

– You then enter a highly sanitized room (So sanitized it causes the stethoscope to corrode)

– They proceed to take your temperature, Blood Pressure, O2 levels and assess your breathing with the Stethoscope.

– You are then asked to lean back and the Nasopharyngeal swab is shoved up your left nostril so far it seems like it tickles the bottom of your brain.

– We were then instructed to wait 48-72 hours for our results. (Obviously this SLA that has something to do with the testing is hard to achieve)

We wish our reader well with the test results.

They did let them go home.

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Transit User's Forum scheduled for May postponed to Fall

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The scheduled Burlington Transit Users’ Forum, has been postponed.

bfast-logo-w-type-rgb-400x133No new date has been set, Bfast will examine holding the Forum this Fall when the picture becomes more clear with regard to the COVID-19 virus.

doug-brown-with-buses

Doug Brown in his happy camper mode.

In a statement released Wednesday, Doug Brown said: “This postponement is a disappointment to all of us, but we at BFAST will continue to make submissions to City Council and staff to promote continuing improvements to a transit system that was making excellent progress in providing better service and significantly increasing ridership before the virus hit.

Brown said: “We see three major issues for transit on the agenda now. The first is to ensure that our City Council continues to support improvements to the system.

“The second is to make Council aware that, while we support the City’s efforts to develop a Climate Action Plan, its current approach will worsen traffic congestion and not achieve the admirable goals it sets forth.

“The third is to participate in the development of the City’s Integrated Mobility Program. To this end, we have been meeting regularly with City staff to help ensure the Plan points us toward a transit-oriented future.

“Despite our disappointment in postponing the Transit Users’ Forum, we are excited and optimistic about the medium-term prospects for transit in Burlington and look forward to continued progress.”

 

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Burlington Transit Modifies Schedule

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With social distancing measures in place, Burlington Transit will reduce its service and operate on a modified schedule beginning Sunday, March 29. The new schedule will provide transit service for essential travel only.

With the modified schedule, Burlington Transit will operate Monday to Saturday, from 5:50 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and on Sundays from 6:14 a.m. to 9:55 p.m.

A complete schedule is available at www.burlingtontransit.ca/schedules and Burlington Transit customer service can be reached at contactbt@burlington.ca, 905-639-0550 or on Twitter @BurlONTransit.

A reminder that:

Bus fares are not currently being collected
• Customers are required to board and exit buses from the rear doors
• To provide space for social distancing, customers should use alternate rows and choose seats away from other customers.
• Burlington Transit’s downtown Terminal is closed.

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Amazon keeping the scammers off the site

News 100 redBy Staff

March 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During a crisis like this the scammers come out from under the rocks they call home.

They prey on the frightened.

And they flock to places like Amazon to offer their spurious wares.

Amazon signAmazon, to their credit, is kicking the corona-scammers off the site.

In their haste to purchase high demand products, Amazon consumers are being duped by opportunistic sellers.

In response, Amazon is cracking down on price-gouging by pulling over a half-million offers and 3,900 sellers from the site.

That doesn’t mean YOU can stop being vigilant.

That cardinal rule once again: If in doubt – don’t

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Region reports there are now 15 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Halton

News 100 redBy Staff

March 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Regional Medical Officer of Health released a report this afternoon that was a bit of a stunner.

Halton’s 15th confirmed positive case of COVID-19 is an Oakville resident who travelled while experiencing symptoms.

We understood the number to be 5,6 or 7 confirmed positive cases.

If you know someone who is returning to Canada INSIST that they self-isolate immediately.  The virus is now in the community – we can limit the spread by self distancing and washing our hands – try every half hour.

The most recent individual experienced the onset of symptoms on March 15, 2020, and then took two flights on March 19: Melaka, (believed to be Malaga,) Spain to Amsterdam (Flight KL2648; KLM) and Amsterdam to Toronto (Flight KLM695; KLM).

On March 21, the individual presented herself for testing at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital where she is currently in isolation. Those who have travelled on any of the above-mentioned flights need to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days from the date of the flight, and call their local public health authority if they become symptomatic.

As per established infection prevention and control protocols, the hospital took all precautions, including testing in an isolated environment with all necessary personal protective equipment. Halton Region Public Health is actively engaged in contact tracing and case management.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health.

“I want to remind residents of the importance of practising physical distancing, self-isolating and self-monitoring as appropriate to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our community,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health.

“We need to take COVID-19 seriously and take immediate action to protect all Halton residents including those who are most vulnerable in our community, as well as our first responders and healthcare workers.”

“We want to reassure our communities that our highly trained staff and physicians are prepared and take all safety measures to protect and care for patients and each other.

“These are unprecedented times and we are tremendously grateful to our healthcare teams for their response to this pandemic,” said Denise Hardenne, President & CEO, Halton Healthcare. “We want to thank everyone for practicing physical distancing and staying home to support our healthcare workers and those most vulnerable in our communities.”

Halton Region Public Health and health care partners continue to focus on those most at risk of COVID-19. Our current priority is to hear from the following people who have symptoms:

• those aged 60 and over;
• those with pre-existing medical conditions;
• those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19;
• those living or working in a health-care or long-term care setting or institution; or
• First Nation community members living on-reserve.

Residents must have an appointment to attend an Assessment Centre. Those with symptoms that meet one of the criteria above are asked to use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if they need to seek further care. If you need further assistance, call 311.

Residents without symptoms are not being tested at this time. Those with mild symptoms that do not meet the criteria above are asked to self-isolate for 14 days, or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. Please do not contact Public Health. Residents with severe symptoms are asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, residents are asked to follow the recommendations from Public Health:

• stay home as much as possible, especially when ill;
• cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve;
• wash hands frequently with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub;
• clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
• practise physical distancing;
• do your best to keep at least two metres away from others;
• if you are able, avoid all non-essential activity recommended and declared by the province;
• avoid all non-essential travel until further notice; and
• if you have travelled, please stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days from when you return home.

The federal government has made it an offence to return to Canada and not immediately go into self-isolation.

 

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Real estate sales are down but prices are holding and days on the market acceptable

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a phrase: When the going gets tough – the tough get going.

The Rocca Sisters put out a very short video on just where the Real Estate market has been performing. Some pleasant surprises and useful information.

Tanya Rocca said they “have implemented several initiatives to continue to serve their clients while taking the prescribed precautions laid out by our government and health officials.

These include:

1) Providing each of our listings with hand sanitizer and strict instructions for visiting homes during showings
2) Implementing virtual tools to allow us to showcase listed properties, including:

• Virtual open houses
• Virtual buyer visits, and
• Virtual consultations/home evaluations, including staging consults

The video – short and to the point. HERE

 

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City finds a way to answer the questions the public has - email is working at this point. Credit is due

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier today we reported on the city decision to shut down every service being delivered by city hall and send everyone home where they would do their best to get some work done – this meant no one was in the building to handle any phone calls.

The city decided to rely on email.

One Gazette reader said “we should have a means to ask Service Burlington questions by phone. Why the Mayor does not consider that essential in these times is beyond a common sense approach to serving the residents in these peculiar times.”

angela-morgan

Angela Morgan

Angela Morgan, former city Clerk, now the Strategic Lead – Customer Experience for Service Burlington said via email that “we are responding to most general questions within 24 hours. It only takes longer if the inquiry is about a specific service or file and then it has to be forwarded to the appropriate staff person and they may take longer to respond depending on the complexity of the question.”

Morgan added: “There are many questions about COVID-19;  the nature of those questions changes daily as new information comes out from other levels of government.

“The other area of questions relate to city services and how to access various services, what is open and closed.”

City Manager Tim Commisso,added, via email that “Our technology allows Service Burlington staff to work remotely; the email volume being handled by SB has increased in past couple weeks between 50% and 65% depending on the service area.

Having watched two Special City Council meetings which were done remotely – one has to come to the conclusion that they work. A little on the awkward side – but they do work and any bumps will get ironed out.

Give them credit for making the best of a tough situation.

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Telephone access to Service Burlington is currently unavailable

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a stark, somewhat blunt statement, the city announced that:

Burlington logo

City Hall is closed. But tax payments are still being accepted.

At this time, in order to protect the public and City staff and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 virus, all City facilities including City Hall will be closed until April 6, 2020.

With the closure of City facilities, telephone access to Service Burlington is currently unavailable.

Please send your community questions and requests to Service Burlington by email at city@burlington.ca or visit burlington.ca/coronavirus

That was it – no word on what happens to that email you send in.

The province announced a 1-800 service for the business sector.

Why can’t Burlington come upo with something that will meet the needs of its citizeans – unless of course there are no questions or concerns.

Perhaps the Telephone Town Hall on Thursday will shed some light on the level of concern and apprehension.

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1-888-444-3659 - number for the business sector to call for support and answers to questions on staying open

Newsflash 100By Staff

March 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Queens Park

Queen’s Park – seat of the provincial government

On Monday, the province issued an emergency order to close at-risk workplaces and encourage non-essential businesses to find ways to help their employees work from home. The government also reminded businesses to put in place protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public.

Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m.

A complete list of essential services can be found here.

Get-Gaz-yellow-1

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Mayor tells citizens meeting in groups that this has to stop. For those who are returning to Canada - go home and stay home for 14 days

News 100 redBy Staff

March 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said yesterday that:

Halton Region announced their decision to proceed with the Declaration of an Emergency for Halton Region.

Mayor Meed Ward

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

The Region has already activated the Halton Region Emergency Response Plan and the Health Department’s Infectious Disease Emergency Response Plan and has been responding to the COVID-19 situation for many weeks. I applaud this decision and the message it sends to our community about the urgent need to respond to the COVID-19 situation and follow the advice of our leaders and healthcare experts.

The City of Oakville has also made their own declaration today, adding to the growing list of cities in the GTA and across Canada who are doing so.

In Burlington, we have still seen groups of people congregating in public places, visiting the homes of others, and engaged in unnecessary activities with other people. We are hearing of people returning from out of country trips and going straight to work or to run errands, and not self-isolating as required for 14 days.

I cannot stress this enough: it needs to stop.

Our health and well-being depends on it, as does the health and well-being of our healthcare workers and first responders and their ability to take care of us should we need it. As our Prime Minister said earlier today, if we do not see improved behaviour across the country, additional measures will need to be put in place to ensure compliance.

Yesterday’s announcement of the closure of additional non-essential businesses by the Province was a further step in limiting public contact and flattening the curve of COVID-19.

The list is now available on their website along with a 1-800 number (coming soon) for businesses to call with related questions.

The list of what is considered essential is far more extensive than I expected, leaving far too many businesses open, particularly public-facing businesses. If you can close, please do. If you can deploy your operations so staff can work at home, please do. If staff have to come to the office, maintain 6-ft physical distance and follow the frequent and thorough cleaning and handwashing advice we have heard from healthcare experts to keep everyone safe.

I and other Mayors I have spoken to today are considering taking additional steps to better protect our community and encourage more businesses to close voluntarily to better protect themselves, their employees and the public.

We have many amazing business owners in Burlington who have already voluntarily made the decision to close their doors for the time being out of consideration for the health and wellness of their employees and customers. I am grateful for their willingness to do so.

While only the Province’s list of business closures is enforceable by police, I continue to encourage Burlington’s businesses to use common sense and good judgement and consider if they can close for the near future without impacting access to truly essential products and services for our community.

The City of Burlington continues to provide essential services as we announced last week and there is no change to that directive. With the closure of City facilities, telephone access to Service Burlington is currently unavailable.

Please send your community questions and requests to Service Burlington by email at city@burlington.ca or visit www.burlington.ca/coronavirus.

We are very pleased to hear today that the Province of Ontario has made the decision to provide immediate electricity rate relief for families, farmers and small businesses paying time-of-use rates amid this crisis. This reduction will help offset higher consumption as more people stay home, and further alleviate some of the financial challenges many people are facing right now.

Earlier today after a telephone meeting of the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario, my fellow Mayors sent a letter to the Prime Minister and Premier of Ontario thanking them for their leadership through this difficult time and encouraging them to take additional measures to limit movement and enable people to stay home. We requested the Federal Government step up their fiscal response to support provinces and leverage fiscal tools that no other level of government in Canada has. We also called on the Government of Ontario to map out a clear strategy to support municipalities, whose finances are being severely impacted by this unprecedented crisis.

I want to remind our community that we are hosting a public telephone town hall Thursday evening at 6:45pm, and I am grateful to have MP Karina Gould and MPP Jane McKenna joining us, along with Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie and Superintendent Anthony Odoardi of the Halton Region Police Service, members of your city council and the city’s leadership team. More details can be found on our website.

Our top priority at the City of Burlington remains the health and well-being of our residents. We are committed to keeping you informed in clear and timely manner and encourage you to stay updated via the City’s dedicated website. Additional information on all COVID-19 related matters can be found at the Halton Region website, the Ministry of Health of Ontario’s website, and the Federal Government’s website.

Stay healthy, stay home, and be kind to one another.

The Gazette would urge the city administration to find a way to get Service Burlington back on line with people answering the telephones – there is a need for sensible answers to the questions people have.

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A mother’s journal of her first week of self-isolation with Leo, 8 and Bea, 6

graphic coping blue

By Nicki St. George

March 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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, Amber Rohol, 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.

 

Nicki St. George, a mother of two, Leo 8 and Bea 6, is a teacher at a private school and is in the final phase of her chemotherapy for cancer.

This is her first week with the children at home.

Thursday, March 12
I went grocery shopping at 2:30pm, just before picking my kids up from school. It was eerie. Very busy for that time of day with people quietly stockpiling canned goods and other supplies. I bought three bags of coffee and left the store with a knot in my stomach and a feeling of unease.

Friday, March 13 –
I breathed a sigh of relief that today was the last day of my 12 weekly chemotherapy sessions. After battling breast cancer for the last 6 months, the hard parts (surgery and chemo) are done and I can look forward to getting my energy back. And not a moment too soon as the Ontario government announced that schools will be closed for the next three weeks including March Break.

Deerhurst

Deerhurst |Resort in the Muskoka’s

Saturday, March 14 –
Surrounded by scary news stories and reports from Italy about how everyone wishes they had self-isolated sooner, I begin to doubt whether I should be taking my kids up to Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka. This was going to be a way for me to keep my kids entertained while my husband, Daniel, was away for work in Saskatoon. We stay inside as a family and decide to self-isolate.

Sunday, March 15 –
I decide that we are not going to Deerhurst. I also spend time researching how to know if you are immunocompromised. The kids are disappointed. Mostly Bea because her friend was also supposed to be going there too. I explain to them that it is not safe because of COVID-19 and particularly unsafe for mum because I am more likely to get very sick from the virus. They understand the importance of washing hands and the need to keep our distance from people. I take the same approach with them about discussing the virus that I did when I told them about my cancer. I am honest about what is going on. I give them the information they need, and I answer all of their questions.

Crawford lake with wooden trail

Fresh air and explaining what is unique about the lake.

Monday, March 16 –
Social media is abuzz with free resources for kids. I join a homeschooling Facebook group which is started by my friend. I screen shot every schedule, list of creative ideas to keep kids busy, at home exercise routines, etc. that I see. I am feeling pressure to home-school. I make a list of things to keep us busy for the week on chart paper. But then I remember that it is March Break and the pressure and guilt eases. I take the kids for a walk to Crawford Lake with my mum and we have a lovely day. I consider this a win.

Tuesday, March 17 –
I am feeling the fatigue and bone pain from the residual chemo chemicals in my body. The kids watch a lot of TV and Leo chats with his friends via messenger kids. I clean out Leo’s closet and walk one block to drop off the hand-me-downs to my friend. We stand two meters apart and compare our isolation time. She had been awaiting the results of her COVID-19 test – they are negative. Daniel is working on a new project and it is keeping him very busy. He has set up a workstation in the basement and we don’t see him much for most of the day. I am grateful that we both have jobs and financial security.

Mt Nemo entrance

Mt Nemo – now closed to the public.

Wednesday, March 18 –
I continue to find myself glued to my social media feed and obsessing over the 24-hour news cycle. I reach out to some friends to see how they are doing. Even the homeschooling parents are saying that the colour coded activity schedule is way too much. I breathe a sigh of relief. I take the kids to Mt. Nemo and we have a great time exploring a new conservation area. We pass by a lot of other families and keep our distance. The kids and I also do a home workout using a YouTube video. I dig out a workbook that I bought for Bea at Costco a while ago and I get Leo to start working on learning his multiplication times tables. I decide that is enough for today.

Thursday, March 19 –
Our day starts around 10:30am. I really, really like to sleep in and spend some time working on my jigsaw puzzle. After two cups of coffee, I psych myself up for the day. Another YouTube workout, a silly game of hide the LOL doll and I take the kids for a good walk so we can all get our 10, 000 steps for the day. I am so glad that we all got fitbits as it really helps motivate the kids to move and can be used as currency for screen time!

groundhog

They get called groundhogs – they are really gophers

Friday, March 20 –
Groundhog Day setting in. The kids make a fort downstairs. I make energy balls. Bea isn’t feeling well – I think she thinks she has the virus. We cuddle a lot. I read an editorial in the NY Times about a mother who refuses to home-school her children. I wade through posts about free e-learning resources and try to get my head around the world going ‘online.’ I also email my boss at the school where I teach and tell her that I’m ready to come back to work early from sick leave and help out as we prepare to move into an e-learning platform. I make a delicious beef soup for dinner with the oxtail that my husband brought home from the grocery shop (all that was left in the meat department) and we watch another movie together, as has become our nightly ritual. Added to our nightly ritual is the completion of a gratitude journal. A gift that I was given when first diagnosed with cancer. As we settle in for a long haul of self-isolation, I fear that the weeks will get harder and that it will be harder to find things to be thankful for. I want to establish the habit of acknowledging the good things in life.

On Friday Ashley Worobec, a Mother of two children and a long distance marathon runner will take us through how she is handling the day with the kids home.

graphic coping redCoping with COVID & the kids is a collaborative effort between three women and the wider community.  The group will “prime the pump” with ideas from their experiences; we invite readers to use the comments section at the end of each feature to add their own ideas.

 

Related news story:Get-Gaz-yellow-1

Helping parents to deal with kids who are now at home – all the time.

 

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City council holds first every remote meeting - lasts nine minutes - passes everything.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a little bumpy at the start.

“Keep a cell phone charger on hand” said the city Clerk

Then “we hear you”.

The “..the complicating factor”.

Then “someone is still”

All just voices before the Mayor appeared on the screen and called the Special Meeting of Council to order.

Burlington was about to hold its first ever meeting of council remotely with the Mayor, the Deputy Clerk Jo Anne Rudy and Debbie Horvath along with Dave, the audio visual specialist tucked away in the equipment room.

MMW 2

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward at the first remote meeting of City Council – necessary due to COVID19.

The three in the Council Chamber, sitting about 10 feet apart, stood to sing the National Anthem while the six members of Council took part from their remote offices – which were in the homes of the members of Council

The Mayor then read the Land Proclamation and moved on to the first order of business.

The City Clerk and City manager Tim Commisso were also offsite, taking part remotely.

The city manager didn’t say a word.

The Mayor introduced an amendment to amend the Procedural Bylaw.

She had Councillor Kelven Galbraith move the motion, Councillor Lisa Kearns seconded it.

The Mayor read the motion into the record and handed things over to the Clerk, who was taking part remotely;  he reminded the Mayor to ask Councillors if they needed any clarification.  She did asking Councillors to let her know if they were OK with the motion.

sharman on air

As each Councillor was voting a graphic appeared on the screen with the On Air symbol in the left hand corner.

Each Councillor, taking part remotely said either Yeah or Yes – it was difficult to hear exactly what Councillor Stolte said – her voice didn’t come through all that well, if they needed any clarification. Councillor Bentivegna was loud and very clear.

Then the Clerk went through the process a second time to take a recorded vote.

The vote carried unanimously.

They then voted to receive and file information items – no one said just what those information items were – that too was carried unanimously.

Nine minutes into the meeting they adjourned. Done.

They met the letter of the law. Earlier in the meeting the Mayor said that this was the way things would be done in the immediate future.

The second Special meeting of Council to deal with the Burlington Hydro need for a larger line of credit was to take place a little later in the day.

That issue might call for some actual debate – it will be interesting to see how that works out.

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Rate of COVID19 spread - infections, deaths, recovered.

background graphic greenBy Staff

March 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a web site that collects data from around the world on the number of COVID-19 infections, the number of deaths as well as the number of people who have recovered.

The provider of the data is reputable.

That web site is HERE.

The graphic at the left represents data for Monday March 23rd,2020; the one on the right represents data for Tuesday March 24th, 2020

Livde screen Mar 23

March 23rd, 2020

Covid live Mar 24

March 24th, 2020

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Provincial government releases list of essential services exemptions from what has to be shut down to stop the spread of COVID19

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

March 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

There are those that believe that in the current crisis there is no room for opposition to the government. I disagree. We need to dispense with political games, but it is even more critical now that we question our government to ensure that they are pressured into taking the correct action to protect us all.

Nothing in the below article is a personal attack, but it is an articulation of how the government on Monday failed to take adequate steps to protect Ontario.

Monday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford made what was possibly his most statesmanlike address to the province promising a total shutdown of non-essential businesses in Ontario for the next two weeks as we all desperately try and “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Ford - dumb thoughtful

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

He genuinely seemed to empathize with the Ontario public and promised strong action to slow the spread of the virus. After the announcement, it was made clear that a list would be provided of what was considered essential later Monday evening. As has been the case for a number of announcements from this government, the details do not match the headlines.

Ontarians know that this fight is important. There are medical experts who have made the case that it is critical to both the safety of our elderly population and to the health of our economy that we slow the spread as soon as possible. Those arguments do not need to be repeated here. What is important to know from Monday’s announcement is how little is covered by this “shutdown”.

The government has listed 74(!) different categories of businesses that qualify as essential, many of which are written in incredibly vague language so that nearly any business except a wedding dress store would qualify. Below are some of the worst examples of exemptions to the “shutdown”.

Exemption #1: Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services with the support, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate. (This is so vague to include pretty much any business that sells product to a grocery store. Is a makeup supply store really essential?)

Exemption #9: Businesses that supply office products and services, including providing computer products and related repair and maintenance services, for individuals working from home and for essential businesses (So the computer paper supply store is allowed to stay open, noting that there is a separate exemption [#14] to cover IT professionals).

Exemption #47: Businesses that provide products and services that support research activities. (This would make “essential” any company that has ever sold a product to a university).

Exemption #67: Land registration services, and real estate agent services and moving services (Considering Realtors an essential service is possibly the biggest example of how little the government cares for shutting anything down at all).

Exemption #70: Businesses that support the safe operations of residences and essential businesses (A retailer of floor rugs could for example easily make the case that they are supporting the safe operation of homes).

The government either cares about letting people stay home and be safe or they do not. There is not a middle ground to this. The COVID-19 is the greatest threat to Ontario in at least a generation and it demands strong action to fight it. The action announced today in Ontario is not the strong action that is required, nor does it match the action the Premier promised Monday afternoon. The 74(!) exemptions show that the government is trying to ensure as much business remains open as possible while pretending to take a hard line.

The most dangerous aspect of COVID-19 is that an infected person is extremely contagious for up to an entire week before they show any symptoms. As a result of the actions taken today by the Ontario government, many Ontarians will be going to non-essential work while contagious. While there they will infect their colleagues. Those colleagues will then go on to infect others and the disease will spread much more rapidly.

If Ontario took COVID-19 seriously and legitimately shut down every non-essential business, it is possible that we could come through this in a “best case” period of time, even though no one at this point knows what that is. But if the government insists on taking half measures and making speeches for the sake of appearances while shirking from taking the necessary steps to combat this, Ontario is going to be suffering through this crisis MUCH longer than it had to.

The complete list of exemptions can be found here

Andrew Drummond was the NDP candidate during the last provincial election.

Get Gaz yellow

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Trucking sector is working flat out to get products on to supermarket shelves

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Traffic on the major highways is lighter.

Some shelves in the supermarkets are bare.

And some people are buying much more than they need to cover their needs in the near future.

There is just a little panic in some situations.

Foxcroft tight face

Ron Foxcroft, President of Foxcroft Transport said his 150 trucks are on the road 24/7

Ron Foxcroft, President of Fluke Trucking called to let us know that every trucking company is working flat out. “I have our 150 tractors and trailers on the road. We work in New York State and Pennsylvania where the biggest problem is finding a place where the drivers can stop and do the necessary.”

The State of New York has installed some of those Johnny on the Spots at highway rest areas. They disinfect those units every day.

“We are hauling everything you can imagine and from what I can see there are no shortages – the problem is with the increases in demand. People are buying more than they need.

Fluke Transport

The 150 truck fleet is working around the clock.

Foxcroft added that trucking companies that usually compete with each other aren’t doing that. “There is a lot of cooperation and collaboration.

“I have two administrative teams at Fluke who relieve each other. This is a 24/7 for the transports/logistics business these days.”

Milk -limitsAt the retail level there are some, not many, bare shelves. Some supermarkets are limiting the number of people that can be in a store at any one time.

People are now fully aware – but they want any information that is available.

The province has declared that everyone who is not needed at an office is to stay at home.

Schools are closed and will remain closed for longer than originally announced.Get Gaz yellow

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Panel for Public Telephone Town Hall set - Thursday evening

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is hosting a public telephone town hall that will take place on Thursday, March 26 at 6:45 p.m. This one-hour town hall will be open to all members of the public and provide an opportunity to hear from a panel of leaders including members of council and senior staff, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and our City Manager, Tim Commisso. Newly confirmed to the panel is:

MPP Jane McKenna

Eric andewall TITLE

Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Joseph Brant Hospital

Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Joseph Brant Hospital

Dr. Dale Kalina, Medical Director of Infection, Prevention and Control at Joseph Brant Hospital

Roger Wilkie, Deputy Chief of Halton Regional Police

Anthony Odoardi, Superintendent for Halton Regional Police

Any further updates to panelists for the March 26 Telephone Town Hall will be shared with the public.

How to Participate
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 their name and telephone number to getinvolved@burlington.ca by the end of day March 25.

Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-280-9610 at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in to the town hall, please be advised that more than one attempt may be required to connect to the call due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If your call does not connect you to the town hall on your first try, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Information about the town hall will also be shared with residents through the City and Mayor’s website and social media channels as well as news media.

We ask our residents to share this information with their friends and neighbours so that anyone who is interested may participate.
Once the call begins, participants will be provided instructions by a moderator for submitting their questions to the leadership panel.
Any questions that are not answered within the hour-long call will be posted, with answers, to the City’s website at burlington.ca/coronavirus, along with an audio file of the call and a full transcript as soon as possible.

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“I am in complete support of today’s announcements from the Province. Their message to shut down all non-essential businesses to curb the COVID-19 spread echoes what we have been asking of our local businesses. This is a necessary step to protect everyone, customers, employees, families and friends. Closing down your brick-and-mortar shops doesn’t necessarily mean closing down your business for the time being – if you and your employees can work from home, do so.

We also strongly echo Premier Ford’s statement that people returning from outside the country MUST self-isolate at home for 14 days. Do not stop at the store first. There are volunteers willing to assist you. Check the City’s webpage at Burlington.ca/coronavirus for links.

I also applaud the Province’s announcement today of additional funding to support our food banks and homeless shelters. These are much-needed funds and making it directly accessible to municipalities gives us the ability to provide direct support to our most vulnerable in our community. I now ask our federal government to act and institute a larger lock down and enforcement of self-isolation. I look forward to hearing more details in coming hours.”

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