COVID-19 Update #51

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 frequentlyAvoiding touching eyes, nose and mouthAvoid contact with people who are sickPractice social-distancingStay home if you’re not feeling wellIf 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 13  
My thoughts on the government’s emergency order today allowing it to take over the management of Long Term Care Homes if needed.

Ontario Takes Steps to Better Protect Long-Term Care Residents and Staff During the COVID-19 Outbreak
This order would support the use of rapid, immediate and effective management alternatives to protect residents and staff within a home. The manager could be any person, including a corporation or a hospital.
A long-term care home may require management assistance if they face challenges like a high number of cases among residents or staff, a high number of deaths, an outbreak that has not yet been resolved, significant staffing issues or outstanding requirements from infection prevention and control assessments. Decisions regarding when and where to assign additional management support will be made on a case-by-case basis.
On April 15, 2020, the government announced a COVID-19 Action Plan for Long-Term Care Homes to help prevent the spread of the virus by focusing on additional testing, containment, addressing staffing challenges and securing personal protective equipment.
The province also adopted several emergency orders restricting the movement of staff between multiple homes; enabling the implementation of pandemic premium pay for LTC staff; and enabling the deployment of hospital staff to address staffing shortages and the use of Infection Prevention and Control teams.
In addition, Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been deployed into five long-term care homes to provide support where significant staffing shortages are occurring.

Ontario Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable During COVID-19
Effective today, people using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will not be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments. In addition, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families during the outbreak.
If a Trillium Drug Program household has experienced an income change in 2019 or 2020 of 10 per cent or more compared to their 2018 income, they can apply to have their deductible recalculated  by completing and submitting the Annual Deductible Re-Assessment Form. Eligible households who are not currently enrolled in the Trillium Drug Program and have high prescription costs can also complete and submit an application and re-assessment form by e-mail or fax.

Protecting Ontario’s Children with COVID-19
Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, issued the following statement about multisystem inflammatory vasculitis, which appears to be similar to Kawasaki Syndrome, in children and COVID-19:
“Recent reports in Canada and internationally indicate that there may be an increase in multisystem inflammatory vasculitis, a rare but serious multisystem inflammatory illness that impacts children who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
While the link between this inflammatory illness and COVID-19 is not confirmed at this time, we are taking immediate action to better monitor this emerging issue so that we can effectively respond to the illness and protect Ontario’s children.
In consultation with Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, we are updating the case definition of COVID-19 to include multisystem inflammatory vasculitis as an atypical presentation in children. This will support clinicians in making clinical assessments of patients who may have symptoms, including some of the most vulnerable of patients, children.
Some of the symptoms associated with this illness include persistent fever, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as rash. Parents should contact their health care providers immediately if their children are having these symptoms.
While we are being vigilant to monitor any situation that could be related to COVID-19, recent data in Canada indicates that the majority of COVID-19 infections in children are mild and do not require hospitalization. People under the age of 19 make up five per cent of COVID-19 cases and no Canadian children are known to have died.
We will continue to assess the situation as it evolves, including how to track this illness to ensure we have access to appropriate data and information to care for young patients. As we learn more, we will determine if further actions are needed to support our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Nothing is more important than the health and wellbeing of all Ontarians, especially our children.”

Voluntary Redeployment of Education Workers to Fill Staffing Shortages
This initiative is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to redeploy broader public sector workers to areas where they are needed most, such as hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, women’s shelters, and homes serving those with developmental disabilities.
The details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
A framework was developed and endorsed by the Ontario government, trustees’ associations, and almost all of the provincial union representatives that will allow the temporary voluntary redeployment of education sector employees, while ensuring they maintain their employment status with their school boards.
Starting later this week, subject to a local agreement of the framework, eligible education sector staff who volunteer will be able to register through an online portal and to be matched with congregate settings that are facing staffing shortages. Positions available may include custodial, maintenance, food preparation, children and youth service workers, social workers, and educational assistants. Training and appropriate safety equipment will be provided to redeployed staff. Volunteers who are redeployed will be eligible for Ontario’s temporary pandemic premium and emergency child care.

Ontario Further Supports Victims of Gender-Based Violence and Human Trafficking during COVID-19
Today, Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues released the following statement regarding new measures to support people experiencing or at risk of sexual assault, gender-based violence and human trafficking during COVID-19:
“May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month, an important time to recognize those on the frontlines who are working each and every day to prevent sexual assault, gender-based violence and human trafficking. These professionals are dedicated and compassionate individuals who give selflessly to support those most in need.
Clearly, these extraordinary times are creating extraordinary challenges. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak there has been an increased risk of gender-based violence for many individuals who have been staying home and practicing physical distancing for weeks now.
It is crucial that Ontarians who have experienced or are at risk of sexual assault, gender-based violence or human trafficking have continued access to counselling and other critical services they need to stay safe, heal and rebuild their lives.
To further support those who need and rely on these services, our government is investing $1 million to help frontline agencies adapt to remote service delivery and ensure continued operation during COVID-19.
This funding will assist counselling service providers like the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, who also work the Seniors Safety Line, which will receive $200,000 to develop text and online chat platforms, set up toll-free lines, provide on-demand interpreter services and hire additional staff to respond to increased call volume.
Along with the $40 million relief fund for residential service providers and emergency funding for victim services we have already provided, this response fund will ensure a range of critical supports remain available at this time. This is in addition to our government’s large investment of $148 million in relief funding to ensure municipalities and social service providers can better respond to COVID-19.
Together with our partners across Ontario, our government remains committed to preventing sexual assault, gender-based violence and human trafficking, as well as supporting victims, survivors and those at risk of these crimes. Again, I would like to express my deep appreciation to those on the frontlines who are working tirelessly to ensure that people experiencing sexual and gender-based violence receive the support they need in this uncertain and difficult time.”

Canada Emergency Student Benefit application period to launch on May 15, 2020
Post-secondary students across Canada are facing unprecedented challenges as they work to complete their studies and find summer jobs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Government of Canada is providing direct support to students and recent graduates who are facing a very different job market this summer.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, along with the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that the application period for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will begin on Friday, May 15, 2020. The CESB, which will be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), will provide temporary income support to eligible post-secondary students and new graduates who are unable to work or find work this summer due to COVID-19, or are working and are not making over $1000.

If you are able to work, you must be actively looking for a job to be eligible to receive the CESB. If you still cannot find work due to COVID-19, or do not earn more than $1,000, you can re-apply for each CESB eligibility period that you are eligible for. Registering with is a way for students to find available opportunities to earn an income and meaningful work experience that will help them succeed in the future.

The CESB will be available from May to August 2020 to students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate; or who ended their studies no earlier than December 2019. It will also be available to Canadian students studying abroad, as well as high school graduates who will be starting a post-secondary program in the coming months. The CESB will provide $1,250 every four weeks to eligible students, or $2,000 every four weeks to eligible students with disabilities, or those with children or other dependants.

The CRA will offer the same fast and easy application process that has delivered CERB payments to millions of Canadians. Starting on May 15, 2020, eligible students will be able to apply for the CESB online through their CRA My Account or by phone through CRA’s automated toll-free line. To help manage the volume of applications, applicants will be asked to apply over four days depending on their month of birth, and can expect their payment in three business days from when they are deemed eligible if they are using direct deposit.

To get ready to apply, the CRA is encouraging eligible students to take three easy steps:
Create a profile with the CRA by calling 1-800-959-8281 (for students who have never filed a tax return)
Register for a CRA My Accountas it is the fastest and easiest way to complete an application
Enroll in Direct Deposit to have CESB payments deposited directly into their bank accounts. Financial institutions across the country are also allowing Canadians to sign up for CRA Direct Deposit through their bank portals in a few easy steps.
The Government of Canada remains fully committed to supporting all Canadians during this global pandemic. The Government will continue to carefully consider any additional steps it can take to do just that. 

$962 million additional support fund now available to businesses and communities affected by the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in uncertainty and anxiety for small businesses and their employees in all regions of Canada. These businesses are at the heart of communities nationwide and are a source of local jobs and local pride.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, which is why the Government of Canada has implemented a series of concrete and tangible measures to help them retain their employees, pay rent and access capital to cover costs. Building on these measures, the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) devotes nearly $962 million to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies.
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, today announced that the RRRF is now accepting applications from businesses and communities. It is specifically targeted toward those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but have been unable to access existing support measures. Canada’s businesses are as diverse as Canadians are, and the fund’s immediate, concrete help will be tailored to their unique needs. Most importantly, it will relieve pressures, helping them pay employees and cover costs. In the months to come, it will position them to play a meaningful role in our economic recovery.
The best way to help Canadian communities is through a source they already trust, which is why the six regional development agencies (RDA) will be delivering this funding. Covering every region of Canada, the RDAs are very familiar with the economic realities of their regions and are well suited to assist workers and businesses.
The funding will be allocated as follows:
$110 million for Atlantic Canada – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
$211 million for Quebec – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)
$34.3 million for Northern Canada – Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)
$252.4 million for Southern Ontario – Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
$49.5 million for Northern Ontario – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor)
$304.2 million for Western Canada – Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)
The funding announced today is part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which commits more than $149 billion to support Canadians and businesses through this difficult time. As other government measures are further strengthened, the RDAs will adapt to meet the ongoing needs of local businesses.
Businesses interested in receiving support through this initiative are now invited to apply for the RRRF through their local RDA.

Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches
As we continue to see the number of cases of COVID-19 in the community decline, I want to thank Ottawa residents for your efforts to follow public health messaging. I continue to be touched and proud to be a part of this community that has come together and shown such great support for each other during these unprecedented times.
Updated testing criteria
We have reached the next phase in the capacity for COVID19 testing in Ottawa. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) now recommends that anyone experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should be tested. Those with symptoms can be assessed by a healthcare provider, and tested, if required, at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre or one of the COVID-19 Care Clinics. If wait times are high, priority will be given to essential workers and healthcare workers. Many primary care offices remain open to assess patients as well, so please call your family physician’s office to see if they can accommodate your visit first. As usual, the advice to stay home when ill is important to stop the spread of infections.  When traveling to access an assessment centre, care clinic or other healthcare setting, please use a non-medical mask or face covering and keep your hands clean.
If you are in distress (e.g. significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the assessment centre or a care clinic. Go to the nearest emergency department or call 9-1-1.
Testing in long term care homes and emergency childcare centers
As of yesterday, testing has been completed in Ottawa’s 28 long-term care homes and 76 staff have been tested in the three emergency childcare centers in Ottawa. ​At the moment, there is no plan to expand the surveillance testing to other settings, however OPH has proactively reached out to retirement homes that need support with our healthcare partners. And, supports to other congregate care settings, like group homes and shelters, continue to evolve.
COVID‐19 Support Teams have continued outreach to long‐term care homes identified by public health​ as ‘high risk’ and homes flagged as moderate risk are also being engaged. A number of partnerships between hospitals and long‐term care homes have been established to support staffing and other needs in the homes.  These interventions are making a difference and more partnerships are established as assessments continue. ​
Looking ahead
As we  adapt to living with COVID-19 and begin to reopen our city, we are working with residents, community and health care partners and all levels of government to ensure new and expanded measures are in place: more widespread testing of symptomatic people, technology to support case and contact management and universal face covering where physical distancing is not possible.
We have asked for your thoughts, perceptions and understanding of current restrictions in place related to COVID-19 through various feedback mechanisms including our COVID-19: Share your thoughts engagement platform. We are asking respondents what they are doing to make physical distancing more manageable and so far, have received many ideas on reopening the city. We have heard about mask use, expanded testing, and how businesses can operate while ensuring people maintain a safe distance from each other.
This information is helping to inform decision makers and we encourage all residents to continue sharing their experiences with us. Since launching the COVID-19 online engagement on May 1 we have heard from more than 1500 residents through our surveys and ideas tool. The first phase closes soon but there is still time to have your say: visit
​​The actions we have collectively taken to date – and will continue to take – will impact our future. Earlier in the year, I referenced several p-words related to what we were just learning was a pandemic – including preparedness, prevention and politeness. I have a few more words to add. Let’s continue to be proactive and pragmatic.  We need to help people get back to work and we can work to prevent a resurgence with maintaining physical distancing and wearing non-medical masks or face coverings when within 2 metres of others.  Thank you for your patience, your perseverance and your passion. 

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.