COVID-19 is something that we are all going to have to face together. Our primary concern is the health and safety of Ontarians.
We hope you are staying safe and healthy.
Thank you to all the province’s essential services workers and those on the front-line. You step up everyday to ensure individuals, families and seniors have what they need to stay safe and healthy.
Thank you to everyone else who is staying home and practicing physical distancing.
It is important to listen to the advice of Public Health experts:
- Wash hands frequently
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Practice social-distancing
- Stay home if you’re not feeling well
- If you are concerned or suspect you have the virus, call
Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000 or
Ottawa Public Health: 613-580-6744
New as of April 15
In order to better protect the most vulnerable and stop the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes, the Ontario government has developed a robust action plan with key measures to be implemented within hours. In addition, the province has issued a new emergency order restricting long-term care staff from working in more than one long-term care home, retirement home or health care setting. These measures are being taken on the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes was announced today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes adds critical new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes, including:
- Aggressive Testing, Screening, and Surveillance: enhancing testing for symptomatic residents and staff and those who have been in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19; expanding screening to include more asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases; and leveraging surveillance tools to enable care providers to move proactively against the disease.
- Managing Outbreaks and Spread of the Disease: supporting long-term care homes with public health and infection control expertise to contain and prevent outbreaks; providing additional training and support for current staff working in outbreak conditions.
- Growing our Heroic Long-Term Care Workforce: redeploying staff from hospitals and home and community care to support the long-term care home workforce and respond to outbreaks, alongside intensive on-going recruitment initiatives.
Additional measures under development will help to ensure preparedness and respond to the situation as it evolves, including improving isolation capacity at long-term care homes.
Within less than 48 hours, the government will immediately act to deliver:
- enhanced testing and surveillance for symptomatic residents and staff and those in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19;
- testing of asymptomatic residents and staff in select homes across the province to better understand how COVID-19 is spreading;
- risk and capacity assessments for all homes;
- working with Ontario Health, the Ontario Hospital Association, and public health units to assemble infection control and preventions teams and additional supports;
- enhanced guidance on personal protective equipment and continued priority distribution to homes;
- enhanced training and education to support staff working in outbreak situations; and
- redeploying hospital and home care resources into homes.
The government has also issued an emergency order directing long-term care employers to ensure their employees, including registered nurses, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, kitchen and cleaning staff only work in one long-term care home. This means that employees cannot work in multiple locations such as a retirement home or other health care setting.
As a result of this order, long-term care workers who must temporarily give up a job in another care setting are protected from losing their job as they are entitled to an unpaid leave of absence. To help long-term care workers make up these lost wages, the government encourages long-term care employers to offer full-time hours to their part-time employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.
To help employers cover this expense, the government is taking action to ensure long-term care homes have the flexibility and funds to rapidly hire nurses and other front-line staff they need, when they need them. These emergency funds are available to help long-term care homes cover the incremental costs of increasing hours for part-time staff to help those staff limit their work locations.
All long-term care staff continue to be subject to rigorous screening procedures and must follow personal protective equipment guidelines, including wearing surgical masks, gowns, gloves and eye protection while in homes.
On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with the approval of the Ontario legislature, the Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for a further 28 days. This will allow the government to continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Passed during a special sitting of the Ontario legislature and with the full cooperation of all parties, the Declaration of Emergency has been extended until May 12. The extension of the provincial declaration of emergency allows Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as the closure of all non-essential workplaces, outdoor amenities such as parks and recreational areas, public places and bars and restaurants, as well as restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and prohibitions against price-gouging. A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
The legislature also passed the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act to amend the Education Act, Planning Act, Development Charges Act, Police Services Act and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act. This new legislation demonstrates that the government is actively listening to the concerns of education and municipal stakeholders during this COVID-19 emergency.
The amendments to the Education Act will allow school boards to continue charging fees on new construction in order to retain a vital source of revenue for new school projects. The bill also includes an amendment to provide a fair and consistent provincewide approach to addressing school suspensions and expulsions as part of the government’s commitment to the safety of students and staff upon the reopening of schools.
The changes to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act will temporarily suspend student loan payments for OSAP borrowers and initiate a six-month interest-free moratorium on OSAP loans.
The government is making it possible to suspend certain municipal planning decision timelines during the state of emergency, and change the Development Charges Act to ensure municipalities can continue to count on a vital source of revenue that helps pay for local growth-related infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewers as well as fire and police services. The amendments to the Police Services Act also allow the Solicitor General to give municipalities an extension beyond January 1, 2021 to prepare and adopt a community safety and well-being plan.
Prime Minister announces expanded access to Canada Emergency Response Benefit and support for essential workers
The Government of Canada is taking significant and decisive action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
No Canadian should have to choose between protecting their health, putting food on the table, paying for their medication or caring for a family member. This is why the government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a taxable benefit of $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months for eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the government is stepping up to better support those who need help but don’t qualify for the CERB, and Canadians working in essential jobs who make less than they would if they received the benefit.
To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, the government will be changing the eligibility rules to:
- Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
- Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Extend the CERB to workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed particular demands on low-income workers in certain sectors, including those on the front-line in hospitals and nursing homes, those ensuring the integrity of the food supply, or providing essential retail services to Canadians.
In recognition that these essential workers’ salaries are often less or similar than what they would receive from the CERB, the government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top-up to the salaries of workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19, who make less than $2,500 a month. Details as to the application and delivery of this measure will be released shortly following further work with provinces and territories. This measure could help several million workers currently involved in the COVID-19 response.The government will continue to look for ways to better help all Canadians during this difficult time.
Thank you to all Ottawa residents for your continued diligence in practicing physical distancing over this past holiday weekend. Many of you cancelled family gatherings, opting instead to connect via telephone or video chats. We know this is not easy, but it is vitally important in our continued efforts as a community to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, Ottawa Public Health has also heard reports of people looking for “loopholes” in the rules around physical distancing. Be it in your driveway, on your front porch or in your yard, the most important action you can take is to stay home. Only make essential trips outside the home and limit your contacts to members of your household. These measures along with proper hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing etiquette are the best way to limit your own risks of becoming ill and they are the best way to slow the spread of illness in our community.
Update on testing
Since last week, we have received clarification from the Ontario Ministry of Health with respect to expanded testing criteria for residents and staff of long-term care and retirement homes, for hospital inpatients, as well as for front-line workers. In addition, local laboratories are working hard to increase their capacity for analyzing COVID-19 test swabs and for delivering timely test results.
As Dr. Etches had previously mentioned, continuing to expand access to testing is important to help enable more targeted strategies and the eventual gradual relaxation of current restrictions in the future.
Number of cases
As of 4 pm yesterday, Ottawa Public Health is investigating 619 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community and 15 ongoing outbreaks in institutions. Two institutional outbreaks having been resolved. That’s 33 new confirmed cases since yesterday. We also now have 217 resolved cases.
There are currently 42 people in hospital and 16 of them are in intensive care units (ICU). Sadly, 12 people have died. Of these individuals, 11 were over the age of 65 years and one was 45-64 years old, seven males and five females.
Last week at Council, Dr. Etches referenced an EKOS survey on Ottawa residents’ views about COVID-19. Details of the survey – and survey results, will be posted to our website later today. This survey showed that 84 per cent of Ottawa residents have changed their social behavior in response to COVID-19 by only socializing using remote connections. These actions make a difference in planking the curve and we thank these residents for following public health guidance on physical distancing.
Unsafe at Home Ottawa
We know that for some, home is not a safe place. Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO), the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW), Interval House of Ottawa and the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre have teamed up to launch a new initiative called “Unsafe at Home Ottawa” - a text and online chat tool that allows victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse to get help and support.
The service was created for those who may find it impossible to reach out by calling a crisis line when trapped at home with their abuser due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures.
Thank you again for all the actions you are taking as a community – these actions matter. There would be more cases of COVID-19 in our community had everyone not done their part over the past month.
We continue to encourage residents to visit www.OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus for the latest updates and for guidance on how they can protect themselves and their family.
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. ET, the 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.