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 28
The Ontario government is launching the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic. Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the website. The province is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario’s supply chain.
Today’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.
The website builds on steps the government has already taken to help businesses respond to COVID-19, including:
- providing $10 billion in provincial tax deferrals, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premium deferrals, and other business supports;
- providing more than $900 million in urgent relief to small businesses and their landlords through a new program, the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA);
- providing $50 million to help businesses such as manufacturers and distilleries retool so they can produce health-related products and supplies, such as ventilators, gowns, face masks and hand sanitizer;
- permitting 24-hour construction for critical infrastructure;
- permitting 24-hour deliveries in every municipality across the province to help grocery stores and pharmacies keep their shelves stocked; and
- allowing restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout or delivery orders.
In order to help Ontario businesses focus on overcoming today’s challenges, the province is also pausing or extending any existing public consultations, delaying non-urgent related consultations while the emergency situation remains in place, and considering extending deadlines for reports and audits.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, all orders of government have been working together to slow and contain the spread of the virus. As the first wave of the virus’ activity passes, provincial and territorial governments will move at their own pace to safely restore economic activity within their jurisdictions, while protecting the health of Canadians.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the federal, provincial, and territorial governments have come together and agreed to a set of common principles for restarting the Canadian economy, based on shared understanding and appreciation of what science and experts are telling us. This statement identifies the criteria that need to be in place before we can go back to work and school, or see neighbours and friends.
This statement acknowledges the importance of restarting the economy through a gradual approach that protects the health of Canadians, including high-risk groups, as well as the need to ensure public health capacity for future waves of the virus, while at the same time continuing to support a range of economic sectors and Canadian workers.
The statement acknowledges that provinces and territories will take different steps at different times in order to ease restrictions, reflecting the specific circumstances in each jurisdiction. The statement identifies four main principles, including taking a science and evidence-based approach to decision-making, coordination and collaboration between all jurisdictions, continued accountability and transparency of all governments, and flexibility and proportionality as information changes over time.
This statement also identifies the criteria and measures that need to be in place in order to begin to take steps to restart the economy:
- COVID-19 transmission is controlled, so new cases are contained at a level that our health care system can manage.
- Sufficient public health capacity is in place to test, trace, isolate, and control the spread of the virus.
- Expanded health care capacity exists to support all needs, including COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
- Supports are in place for vulnerable groups, communities, and key populations. This includes the protection of seniors, residents of group living facilities, workers in close quarters, homeless people, and Indigenous people and those living in remote locations, health care workers and other essential workers, and inmates.
- Support and monitoring of workplace protocols are in place to keep Canadians safe at their jobs, and prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19.
- Restrictions on non-essential travel are eased and managed in a coordinated manner.
- Communities are supported in managing local disease activity, including in child care, schools, and public transportation, and industry and economic sectors are engaged to support the health of Canadians, reduced viral activity, and protection of the economy as it restarts.
As we continue to work collaboratively to get things back to normal, our top priority is keeping all Canadians safe during this challenging time.
Today the Ontario premier unveiled the province’s framework for gradually re-opening the economy.
We will review the framework with our municipal and health care system partners and provide more information on what this means in Ottawa in the coming days.
Testing in long-term care homes
This past weekend, surveillance testing began in nine long-term care homes in Ottawa.
This exercise was completed as part of the provincial directive announced last week to implement surveillance testing at long-term care homes.
The Ottawa Paramedic Service deserves a big thanks for this weekend’s collaborative effort to implement the pilot surveillance testing of long-term care home staff and residents. The task of testing over 1700 residents and healthcare workers could not have been completed without 26 Ottawa paramedics willing to help with taking swabs.
I also want to thank our partners from the Champlain Health Region Incident Command and the Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association for their efforts this weekend, working alongside Ottawa Public Health team members, who also have my thanks for continuing strenuous efforts to control COVID19 in our community.
This kind of collaboration with City, healthcare and public health workers makes me proud of the response in our area and is the way we will continue to work with an ongoing focus on supports for long-term care homes.
We know that asymptomatic transmission can occur, and we can expect an increase in the number of detected cases in health care workers and residents as a result of this surveillance exercise. The purpose of this surveillance testing is to better understand the current state of COVID-19 infections in long-term care homes.
While testing is important to provide a picture of what’s happening at one moment in time, infection, prevention and control measures, including wearing a medical grade face mask at all times while at work, and proper cohorting of people infected with COVID-19, continue to be the most effective ways to decrease COVID-19 in long-term care homes.
Physical activity while physically distancing
Lastly, with the weather warming up, many more people will be taking advantage of the outdoors for exercise, which is encouraged. Physical activity and getting fresh air are important for our overall physical and mental wellness; I advise everyone who can go outside, to do so, in a safe way.
It is important to take care of our mental and physical health. Our neighbourhood sidewalks, streets, and multiuse paths are all still available to get outside and get moving. For most people, it is okay to go out for a walk, run or ride your bike, as long as you can continue to practice physical distancing.
Others may need to stay in their homes for their own safety and/or the safety of the community, like if you’ve recently returned from outside Canada, if you’ve come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 – even if they are mild. Ottawa Public Health’s website has new information on staying safe while being physically active in our neighbourhoods as well as questions to consider before going outside. Visit our website for information to stay safe when doing these activities.
Thank you to our entire community for all the actions taken – these actions matter. Take the time to go outside and enjoy the warmer weather while staying safe.