COVID-19 Update #20

New as of April 3

Ontario Extends Business Closures to Stop the Spread of
COVID-19 as of Saturday, April 4 at 11:59pm

The updated list of essential businesses can be found here

Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is reducing the list of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close. This measure is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the people of Ontario, while ensuring that necessary goods and services remain available.

The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses. All supply chains necessary for the production of vital food and healthcare supplies are being protected and remain intact.

The updated essential businesses list can be found here.

As a temporary measure the Ontario government has revised the list of essential businesses. The updated list will direct additional businesses to close and restricts specified businesses to providing services by alternate methods such as curb side pick up and delivery, except in exceptional circumstances. This includes stores that sell hardware products, vehicle parts and supplies, pet and animal supplies, office supplies and computer products and repairs and safety supplies.

Only critical construction projects will continue, including industrial projects such as refineries and petrochemical plants and infrastructure projects such as new hospitals, roads and bridges. New starts in residential projects will stop, while residential construction that is near completion will continue. Business-owners with questions concerning their essential business status are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:30 a.m.― 9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m.— 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The government is implementing additional measures to protect frontline workers in essential businesses by adding more than 60 special consultants and officers and doubling the number of phone agents at its Health and Safety Call Centre to 50 to make it easier for workers to report safety concerns. Workers worried their workplaces are unsafe can phone 1-877-202-0008 to speak with an agent.


Ontario Protecting Seniors in Retirement Homes During COVID-19 Outbreak

Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, issued the following statement addressing concerns regarding staffing for retirement homes during the COVID-19 outbreak:

“As the province takes decisive action to safeguard the health and safety of Ontarians, we are taking immediate action to protect seniors living in retirement homes.

A temporary order has been made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that will help retirement homes address emergency staffing needs as they respond to COVID-19. With this temporary action, retirement homes will have more flexibility to recruit and reassign staff to address the impacts of this new virus and will be able to focus more resources toward implementing the protocols and procedures put in place to keep residents safe.

Retirement homes are also required to report any outbreak of COVID-19 to the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, as well as the local medical officer of health.

These important measures are aligned with similar orders issued for hospitals and long-term care homes and will allow retirement homes to more quickly deploy personnel as needed.

To further safeguard the health of seniors living in retirement homes our government has also amended the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 requiring that all retirement homes follow the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s guidance and recommendations regarding infection control and prevention. We are also investing $20 million in additional funding to support increased infection control and active screening measures.

Our government will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and safety of Ontarians, especially Ontario’s most vulnerable people.”

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19 or to take a self assessment.

Ontario Provides Full Transparency by Releasing COVID-19 Modelling
Projected number of cases and deaths can be significantly reduced if people stay home

The Ontario government released extensive COVID-19 modelling, revealing several scenarios that project the potential number of cases and deaths. In doing so, the province is providing the public with full transparency about the consequences should everyone but non-essential workers fail to stay home and practise physical distancing.

Key highlights from the modelling include:

  • While COVID-19 impacts Ontarians of all ages, those over the age of 60 face higher risk of severe disease leading to higher mortality rates. The data demonstrates the need to focus public health measures on protecting seniors.
  • Had Ontario taken no action, the impact of COVID-19 would have risen to an estimated 300,000 cases and an estimated death toll of 6,000 people.
  • Due to timely public health measures, Ontario has avoided much more dire impacts, preventing an estimated 220,000 cases and 4,400 deaths to date.
  • Over the course of the pandemic, between 3,000 and 15,000 deaths related to COVID-19 are predicted with current public health measures in place, compared to a total projected 100,000 deaths if no action were taken.
  • By taking further measures, Ontario can further reduce the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 down to projections as low as 12,500 additional cases and 200 additional deaths by the end of April.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19. Most recently, the province banned organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people and closed all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds. At the same time, the province’s COVID-19 Command Table has been implementing extensive measures to build health-system capacity to prepare for increased hospitalizations.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19 or to take a self assessment.


Prime Minister announces support for food banks and local food organizations

Food banks and local food organizations provide help to Canadians across the country, particularly people and communities most vulnerable to economic uncertainty. These organizations are facing an increased demand for their services, and added pressure from shortages in donations and volunteers. Now more than ever, they need our support to continue offering the services Canadians rely on to feel safe and healthy.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an investment of $100 million to improve access to food for Canadians facing social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government of Canada will provide funding to national, regional, and local organizations across Canada that are able to reach people and communities experiencing food insecurity. These organizations – including but not limited to Food Banks Canada, Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and Breakfast Club of Canada – will work with partners to meet the urgent food needs of Canadians, including Indigenous peoples and Northern populations.

This funding will be used to purchase food and other basic necessities. It will help these organizations find new, creative ways to reach people in need, so they can continue to carry out their important work while respecting physical distancing guidelines. They will be able to use the funding to buy or rent equipment and other materials to help address the unique needs of the communities they serve and the health-related challenges presented by COVID-19.

By supporting Canada’s food banks and local food organizations, we are making sure vulnerable Canadians can get the food they need, when they need it most.


Special Statement from Dr. Brent Moloughney, Associate Medical Officer of Health 

As the weather gets warmer, some people may be considering moving to seasonal cottages to isolate themselves there.  We want to discourage this and are encouraging our residents to stay at home. This will ensure that residents have the necessary social and health supports in place if you become ill with COVID-19. Health care systems in smaller and remote communities typically have less capacity to provide health care services with the increased demands of COVID-19 and risk being overwhelmed if needing to care for non-permanent residents.   

I totally understand concerns that families have about their loved ones who reside in retirement or long-term care homes. Some families are considering whether to take loved ones out of their retirement or long-term care home. This is a challenging decision and I can share some issues that families need to consider. Putting COVID-19 aside for a moment, a family would need to think about the individual’s health, particularly why they decided to live in the retirement or long-term care home in the first place, and the extent of which their condition has changed over time. Will the family be able to assure the safety and care their loved one requires? COVID-19 presents additional challenges. If the resident is coming from a home with an outbreak, then need to assume that they may be infected and act accordingly with precautions in the home for 14 days so other household members would not become infected. There is the additional risk over time that other members of the household, who perhaps could have asymptomatic infections acquired outside the home, to expose their family member. And lastly, that the former resident would not be able to return to the home if there was an outbreak at their facility. As I indicated, not a simple decision for families to make. 

I’m sure you’ve all heard Ontario’s projections for COVID-19 cases and death earlier today. I’d like to reiterate that we need everyone to stay home and practice physical distancing. The public health measures we have implemented in Ottawa and across Ontario are critical to make the difference we are seeking from the projected worst-case scenario.  So, I want to repeat what the province has said: Stay home. Stop the spread.And stay safe. 

As of 4 pm yesterday, OPH is investigating 289 lab-confirmed cases in Ottawa in the community and five outbreaks in institutions. That’s 37 new cases since our last report. Again, the majority of this increase is due to the backlog of tests with specimens collected on or before March 22.  

The number of people hospitalized and in intensive care also changes daily. There are currently 25 people in hospital – one more than yesterday, and 10 of them are in ICU, which is three more than yesterday. We have had no increase in the number of facilities experiencing an outbreak since yesterday’s report. This includes three retirement homes, one long-term care home, and one group home. 

Thank you again for your ongoing cooperation in keeping residents informed and reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Please note our MPP Ottawa South Free Tax Clinic Scheduled for April 18 has been cancelled

COVID-19 Fraud Alert

You should always protect yourself from financial fraud, especially during a period of uncertainty. Unfortunately, fraudsters will prey on consumers’ fears and misinformation over the COVID-19 pandemic. You may get phone calls, emails and texts regarding COVID-19. Be very cautious when receiving them.

Here are a few things to consider in order to protect yourself from financial fraud:

  • never click on links or attachments in unsolicited or suspicious emails
  • never give out your personal or financial information by email or text
  • note that financial institutions will never ask you to provide personal, login or account information by text or email
  • when banking online, enter your financial institution’s website address in your browser yourself
  • beware of questionable offers related to cures, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • if you have concerns about your insurance coverage, contact your insurance company directly
  • if you need information on COVID-19, refer to a trusted source such as the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 page

Remember that if you didn’t initiate contact with a person or a business, you don’t know who you are dealing with.

The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre has more information on scams and tips related to COVID-19 to help protect yourself from fraud.

Find out about the current reported scams related to COVID-19.

Learn how to protect yourself when banking online.

Know what to do if you’re a victim of fraud.

Ontario has created a new self-assessment tool
If you think you have 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care. Visit here.

If you require help in Ottawa South, please visit our website for Community links and contacts.


Ottawa Public Health
For the latest updates, please click here.

Government of Ontario
Every day at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.  ETthe Province of Ontario’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information including the status of cases in Ontario.

Government of Canada
For the latest COVID-19 updates, please click here.
For the latest on Employment and Social Development changes for employees and employers, click here.