COVID-19 Update #35

  • Community Update

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 23

My Ramadan Greetings

My Thoughts on the Current Ontario Long Term Care Crisis

Ontario government is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date until May 6, 2020
New order issued to support people with mental health and addictions issues

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 6, 2020. This extension will help protect the health and well-being of people across the province and stop the spread of COVID-19.

This Emergency Order extension includes the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and limiting staff from working in more than one retirement home or long-term care home.

In addition, the government has introduced a new measure to allow mental health and addictions agencies to redeploy staff within different locations or between programs, and employ extra part-time staff, temporary staff or contractors in order to ensure people continue receiving the high quality care they expect and deserve during the COVID-19 outbreak. Agencies would be required to provide appropriate training and education to achieve the purposes of a redeployment plan.

The following emergency orders have been extended until May 6, 2020:


Ontario Delivers Action Plan to Increase Protection for Vulnerable People and Those Who Care for Them

This plan builds on the government’s previous actions to protect people living in high-risk settings, including homes serving those with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking, children’s residential settings, and those residential settings supporting vulnerable Indigenous individuals and families both on and off reserve.

Details of the plan were unveiled today by Premier Doug Ford, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.

The COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People focuses on three specific areas:

  • Enhanced Screening and Reduced Exposure to Prevent Spread
    • Enhancing screening of visitors, staff, and residents on sites, as well as restricting non-essential visitors.
    • Providing masks to staff working in congregate care settings and providing training on the use of personal protective equipment in the event of an outbreak.  
  • Infection Control: Managing Outbreaks and Limiting Spread
    • Enhancing testing of symptomatic staff and clients to identify the need for isolation and additional infection control measures on-site.
    • Planning to limit staff from working at more than one congregate care setting during an outbreak, specifically in developmental services, intervenor services, violence against women and anti-human trafficking settings.
    • Providing additional training and support for high-risk settings dealing with an outbreak, including guidance on how to isolate clients.
  • Sustaining Staffing and Managing Staff Shortages
    • Working with organizations to promote workforce stability and capacity in high-risk settings.

The government will work with Indigenous-led congregate care settings both on and off reserve to ensure that these tools and supports are available and adapted to meet their local needs in keeping their clients and staff safe.

The plan also supports mobilizing action to assessed high-risk locations in managing the COVID-19 outbreak in the days and weeks to come by providing assistance with staffing and additional training and support.

The government is also moving immediately to solicit ideas on additional actions and measures that can be taken now to further support vulnerable Ontarians and staff in high-risk settings.

Prime Minister announces new support for COVID-19 medical research and vaccine development

New information on COVID-19 emerges every day. Researchers and scientists in Canada and around the world are working hard to better understand the virus, and its impacts on people and communities. By keeping pace with this information, we can better protect the health of Canadians and set our country on the path to recovery.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced more than $1 billion in support of a national medical research strategy to fight COVID-19 that includes vaccine development, the production of treatments, and tracking of the virus. This new funding builds on the $275 million investment for coronavirus research and medical countermeasures announced in March.

The Government of Canada will invest in new medical countermeasures to better understand COVID-19, and develop the infrastructure needed to fight the virus here in Canada. This includes:

  • The establishment of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force that will operate under the direction of a leadership group, which will include Dr. David Naylor, Dr. Catherine Hankins, Dr. Tim Evans, Dr. Theresa Tam, and Dr. Mona Nemer. The task force will establish priorities and oversee the coordination of a series of country-wide blood test surveys that will tell us how widely the virus has spread in Canada and provide reliable estimates of potential immunity and vulnerabilities in Canadian populations.
  • $40 million for the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), led by Genome Canada, to coordinate a COVID-19 viral and host genome sequencing effort across Canada. This research will help track the virus, its different strains, and how it makes people sick in different ways, providing valuable information to public health authorities and decision-makers as they put in place measures to control the pandemic. The results of this work will be available to researchers globally to support additional research, including Canadian vaccine development efforts.
  • $23 million for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) to accelerate development of a vaccine against COVID-19. This funding will support pre-clinical testing and clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, essential steps to ensuring that vaccines are effective and safe for human use.
  • $29 million for the National Research Council of Canada to begin the second phase of critical upgrades to its Human Health Therapeutics facility in Montréal. Building on ongoing work to ready the facility for the production of vaccines for clinical trials, this funding will support operations to maintain the facility, as well as provide infrastructure to prepare vials for individual doses as soon as a vaccine becomes available.
  • $600 million, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, over two years to support COVID-19 vaccine and therapy clinical trials led by the private sector, and Canadian biomanufacturing opportunities.
  • $10 million for a Canadian data monitoring initiative so we can coordinate and share pandemic-related data across the country to enhance Canada’s response to COVID-19.
  • $10.3 million over two years, and $5 million ongoing, to support the Canadian Immunization Research Network in conducting vaccine-related research and clinical trials, and to enhance Canada’s capacity to monitor vaccine safety and effectiveness.
  • $114.9 million through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for research projects that will accelerate the development, testing, and implementation of medical and social countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19, as well as its social and health impacts.

Separately, the Government of Canada is providing over $675,000 through the Stem Cell Network to support two new research projects and one clinical trial. The clinical trial will evaluate the safety of a potential cell therapy to reduce the impacts and severity of acute respiratory distress associated with COVID-19, and the two projects will generate critical information about how cells in the airway and brain are affected by the virus.

By supporting COVID-19 research, the critical work being done by our country’s scientists, and vaccination efforts, we will be able to better protect the health and safety of Canadians and vulnerable populations around the world.

Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches

I am proud of what the people of Ottawa have done to protect our community since the start of the COIVD-19 pandemic. So many people have been willing to protect others, care for others, and have stepped up to help others. This good will and hard work are appreciated, and will be needed as we continue to learn to live with COVID-19. I know I can trust Ottawa residents to continue doing what is needed to prevent an unmanageable increase in infections in our community into the future.

Todays’ update focuses on some of the work that Ottawa Public Health is doing with different sectors, such as businesses, as we plan to safely move towards a way to live and work that is more sustainable in the long term, when the time is right. 

OPH is working with the City’s Senior Leadership Team, members of the business community, various community services partners, and many other stakeholder groups to figure out the best way to gradually and safely move forward with COVID-19 in our community, following direction from the province of Ontario, in coordination with the federal government. We must ensure we continue to protect those people that are most vulnerable, such as residents in long-term care and retirement homes. 

Relaxing of restrictions will take time – and we are not quite there yet. Protecting people has been the priority and will continue to be a priority. Most people are not immune to COVID-19. So, when we begin to relax measures and increase our interactions with other people, we expect there will be an increase in transmission of the virus. COVID-19 will be a part of our lives and how we live into the foreseeable future. We need to find a balance of risks and benefits of easing restrictions, including identifying what we can do to mitigate risks. 

Members of the business community want to help ensure that the opening up of economic activity is done safely, so that businesses do not need to face closing a second time. Businesses are thinking about ways to operate differently to mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19. For example, having more people working from home, changing the set-up in some offices and businesses, and considering ways for employees and customers to wear masks and have easy access to wash their hands will all help decrease COVID-19 transmission. The desire to move ahead carefully is consistent with the direction of the province. The Premier has said that any changes will be implemented in a phased approach. There will not be one date for everything to change and return to normal.   

I appreciate the engagement with partners, stakeholders, and residents. We will work together as a community to inform how we will learn to live with COVID-19 in the coming months.

Lastly, a reminder during current religious holidays, that physical distancing measures are still needed and the provincial emergency order in place requires people gather in groups of less than 6. I encourage you to find new ways to celebrate virtually with family and friends and to limit your contact to members of your own household as much as possible. 

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.

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.