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 30
Government Launches New Tool to Support Trucking Industry
Ontario 511 app provides up-to-date information for truck drivers during COVID-19
The Ontario government is offering a new free 511 app which will provide truck drivers immediate access to the information they need to stay safe, fed and rested while delivering essential goods across the province during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Ontario 511 app provides images from over 600 cameras and includes up-to-date highway information on construction, collisions and road closures. It also identifies open rest areas and locations throughout the province that offer food and fuel. The app includes an easy to use map view and features a drive mode that provides hands free audio alerts.
The Ontario government is ensuring employers have the safety guidelines they need to protect workers, customers, and the general public from COVID-19 as it prepares for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy.
The government safety guidelines released today will provide direction to those working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector. These measures build on more than 60 guidelines developed by Ontario’s health and safety associations in response to COVID-19 for various sectors such as retail, health care, construction, transportation, police services, firefighters, and transit employees.
These new sector-specific guidelines feature recommended actions employers can begin to plan for as they prepare to adapt to the new reality during COVID-19, including:
- Ways to ensure appropriate physical distancing, like eliminating pay-at-the-door options, holding team meetings outdoors, staggering shift times and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow.
- Changes to the workplace, like installing plexiglass barriers, increasing the air intake on building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to increase air flow, and using boot sanitizing trays.
- Promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment, substituting dry dusting with vacuuming, ensuring customer-facing staff are given hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes, and enforcing handwashing before and after breaks.
The government is also issuing posters to promote a variety of useful safety tips. The posters offer helpful advice on physical distancing and sanitation. They are downloadable from the Ontario.ca website so employers can print and post them in their workplaces.
The government will work with Ontario’s health and safety associations to bring forward additional workplace safety guidelines for more sectors in the coming days and weeks.
Starting this week, 58 new inspectors will join the hundreds of existing provincial labour inspectors on the ground. The inspectors, which include workers from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) and the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), will be tasked with communicating COVID-19 safety guidelines to essential workplaces or enforcing emergency measures, including physical distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses.
The government is committed to a careful, stage-by-stage approach to loosening emergency measures and reopening Ontario’s economy. Public health and workplace safety will remain the top priority, while balancing the needs of people and businesses.
UPDATE: Pandemic Pay Expanded for Frontline Workers Fighting COVID-19; it now includes paramedics, respiratory therapists, mental health and addictions workers in hospitals and congregate care settings and public health nurses
Government of Canada introduces legislation to support students in need/Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
The Government of Canada continues to take direct action to support Canadian workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing support to those who need it most.
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, introduced legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which would provide income support to post-secondary students who lost work opportunities due to COVID-19.
Through the CESB, currently being considered by Parliament, students who are not receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit would receive $1,250 per month for up to four months (May-August 2020). Students with disabilities, students with dependents would receive an additional $750. The CESB would be available to:
- students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate;
- students who ended their studies or graduated no earlier than December 2019;
- high-school graduates who have applied for and will be joining post-secondary programs in the coming months; and
- Canadian students studying abroad meeting one of the above criteria.
The Government of Canada is working to get money quickly into the pockets of Canadians who need it most. Students who have been unable to find employment or self-employment due to COVID-19 during the four week period for which they are applying for the CESB would be able to do so starting in May. Details will be available soon.
The CESB is a key element of the Government of Canada’s $9 billion framework to support post-secondary students and recent graduates. Comprehensive measures, including more student grants and expanded student and youth programming will help students, job seekers and youth looking for service opportunities through these extraordinary times.
As of 4 pm on April 28, 2020, OPH is investigating 1,297 lab-confirmed cases, 76 newly reported since yesterday. Over the last few days, we have been seeing these larger increases in the number of cases than previous weeks. We anticipated this increase as more people are eligible for testing and therefore getting tested and due to the surveillance exercise that took place last weekend in which all staff and residents of nine long-term care homes were tested.
Sadly, we are reporting five new deaths, all in long-term care residents, since our last report yesterday. Of the 76 deceased total, 69 (91 per cent) were aged 65 years or older, six were 45-64 years old and one was 20 to 44 years old; 39 males and 37 females.
It is important to note that our reporting does not reflect the number of cases or deaths in a single day; but rather reflects the number of new cases since the last report which can include data from a range of days. For example, the 76 cases reported today were from specimens collected April 24-27 and the 5 deaths reported today also occurred April 24-27.
The number of reported confirmed cases is always just a percentage of the number of actual infections (symptomatic and symptomatic) in our community because testing capacity has only been extended to priority groups to date. Therefore, it is important that we all continue to keep physical distance from people outside of our households. We are working with our health care partners to implement more testing for more of the population and continue our contact tracing to better understand the spread of the virus in our community.
The majority of new confirmed cases have been in healthcare institutional outbreaks, but there continues to be community transmission (Figure 3). Our reported data may differ from other numbers published elsewhere, such as care homes themselves, due to data entry lag, different reporting sources, or download times. Care homes get the information of residents’ results first and take appropriate measures to isolate and care for their residents and staff.
National Immunization Awareness Week
This week is National Immunization Awareness Week, an annual event held at the end of April to recognize the importance of immunization in Canada.
Prevention is at the heart of what we do at Ottawa Public Health, and this global pandemic is a terrible reminder of how a virus can impact our lives when there is no vaccine. Vaccines are a proven way to protect people and communities against very harmful and serious diseases such as measles, polio, tetanus and more. As researchers and scientists across the world continue to search for a vaccine against COVID19, I want to remind residents of the importance of maintaining physical distancing and also keeping up with routine immunizations for yourselves and your loved ones.
There are two great initiatives happening this week regarding immunizations:
- The Kids Comes First Health Team (CHEO, OPH, community pediatricians and CANImmunize) has opened a Children’s Immunization Clinic for infants and children under two (2) years of age in the Ottawa region who are unable to get their routine series of immunizations due to COVID-19 closures.
- There will be a moderated discussion on our Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page with a Public Health Nurse about immunization this Friday (May 1).
New Aging Well in Ottawa Facebook Page
Facebook has been a valuable platform for Ottawa Public Health to engage with families and residents over the past years. To build on this success, Ottawa Public Health launched a new Aging Well in Ottawa Facebook page this week for residents 55 years of age and older and their caregivers. An Ottawa Public Health staff will be online from 9 am to 3 pm daily (Monday to Friday) and residents connect with one another. Please join us online for this exciting new initiative.
Reporting of data
Starting tomorrow, Ottawa Public Health will be transitioning to a new case management and reporting system. This new web-based secure system allows our team to more quickly and easily document each individual case investigation and share data with the provincial Ministry of Health. Due to the technicalities of this transition, there will be no epidemiology report published on our website on Thursday, April 30. No data will be missing or lost; the information from April 30 will be included in the May 1 report.