COVID-19 Update #46

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 May 7

Ontario Releases Plan to Resume Scheduled Surgeries and Procedures

The Ontario government has developed a comprehensive framework to help hospitals assess their readiness and begin planning for the gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures, while maintaining capacity to respond to COVID-19. Timelines will vary from hospital to hospital and be conditional on approval by regional oversight tables involved with planning and coordinating Ontario’s response to COVID-19.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

The framework, A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, contains clear criteria that must be met before hospitals can resume scheduled surgeries, including ensuring that the hospital and its region have the following:

  • A stable number of COVID-19 cases;
  • A stable supply of personal protective equipment;
  • A stable supply of medications;
  • An adequate capacity of inpatient and intensive care unit beds;
  • An adequate capacity of health human resources; and
  • The availability of post-acute care outside the hospital that would be required to support patients after discharge.

These criteria will ensure hospitals take a measured and responsible approach that prioritizes the health and safety of patients and health care workers, while maintaining plans to support long-term care homes in their region.

As a first step, hospitals will need to assess if there is adequate staffing, equipment and other resources to resume scheduled care. This assessment will be revisited on a weekly basis to reflect changing needs and requirements, including responding to any COVID-19 surges that may occur locally.

The framework also sets out the criteria for prioritizing surgeries such as:

  • A patient’s condition;
  • The type of procedure a patient requires and whether options for non-operative treatments exist;
  • The associated risks of delaying a patient’s surgery; and
  • The resources required in terms of personal protective equipment, medications, intensive care unit beds, and other care requirements needed after an operation.

Hospitals are also encouraged to look for opportunities to improve care delivery for scheduled surgical and procedural care. This could include using services that reduce patient time spent in acute care settings, the use of virtual care, care in the community, post-op remote monitoring programs, outpatient care, and the use of e-consults services, virtual medical assessments and triaging.

Ontario Protecting Forestry Jobs & Worker Safety During

The Ontario government is protecting people and jobs in northern, rural and Indigenous communities, while supporting long-term forest sustainability, by investing in protective measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming tree planting season.

Today, John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, announced the government is making $3.5 million available to help put protective measures in place for the workers who plant trees this season.

Funds will be used for larger camp facilities and additional kitchens to provide more space, as well as extra personal protective equipment, plastic partitions for transporting workers and more wash stations.

Ontario’s forest industry is critical to the provincial economy, generating over $18 billion in revenue and supporting approximately 155,000 direct and indirect jobs. The vital role this industry plays is especially evident during the COVID-19 outbreak, as it provides essential forest products for hygiene, food and medical supplies, as well as packaging and shipping products.

Minister Yakabuski has launched virtual consultations with leaders from the forestry sector to discuss their interests and concerns as Ontario prepares to reopen the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak, within guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Ideas from this virtual consultation will be reported into the government’s new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. The Committee will take in this feedback to identify how best to protect and support people and jobs, restart the economy and move towards recovery across Ontario.

These consultations reflect a Team Ontario approach, working across parties and with experts, local leaders and people across Ontario.

Visit to learn how you can submit your ideas.

Prime Minister announces agreements to boost wages for essential workers

While many of us are being asked to stay home, millions of Canadians are being called on to go to work every day. These Canadians are providing us with essential services, so we can continue to keep our families safe and healthy. We are relying on them now more than ever, and that is why the Government of Canada is working with provinces and territories to provide them with a much-needed wage boost.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that all provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost share wage top-ups for their essential workers.

The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.

These measures are part of the Government of Canada’s comprehensive economic plan to help Canadians and businesses through this period of uncertainty. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely, and take additional actions as needed to protect our health and safety, and stabilize the economy.

We hear you! CHEO offers emergency respite services to families during the COVID-19 pandemic

Families with a child or teenager with autism and other special needs have made a plea for extra help during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the side of families, CHEO has launched emergency respite services to deliver what these families want – extra support. These measures will be in place until early summer and then will be reevaluated.

Respite in this case is defined as care delivered by CHEO clinicians, in the place of family caregivers so they can have a temporary break from the responsibilities of providing care to a family member at home. These are highly trained health-care professionals with experience working with children and youth who have special needs.

The sessions are at CHEO, free and allotted in 4-6 hour blocks, Monday to Friday. At launch, the program can accommodate up to 35 children or youth per week – focused on meeting individual needs while respecting physical distancing. CHEO will consider growing the program and reaching more children with broader special needs across the region, if there is demand.

CHEO uses a clinically-informed decision aide to fill the program. Eligibility is not diagnosis-specific, rather it is needs-based and the goal is to help as children and youth with special needs as many possible. Considerations include the following factors (not limited to):

·         Behaviour and level of distress of the child or youth

·         Family stress such as single parent, housing issues

·         Psychosocial factors such as increased isolation, cultural barriers

·         Access to support including family, friends, community organizations, spiritual support

When onsite, every hospital safety precaution is in place including screening, physical distancing, hand hygiene and universal masking. CHEO clinicians also have full access to Emergency Department support services if required.

Anyone interested in CHEO’s respite care for children and youth with special needs, please email

 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.