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
We will be publishing our Newsletter on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays now.
Congratulations to the class of 2020 – high school graduates! Well done on reaching this important milestone.
New as of June 24
This extension, approved by the Ontario Legislature earlier today, provides Ontario with the additional time, flexibility, and the necessary tools to safely and gradually allow more places to reopen, while continuing to support frontline health care providers in the fight against COVID-19.
The provincial Declaration of Emergency enables the government to make, and as needed amend, emergency orders that protect the health and safety of all Ontarians. Emergency orders in force under the Declaration of Emergency include those allowing frontline care providers to redeploy staff to areas most in need, limiting long-term care and retirement home employees to working at one home, and enabling public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support the province’s enhanced case management and contact tracing strategy. These measures continue to be needed to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations from the threat of COVID-19. The extension of the Declaration of Emergency will allow the province to make or amend emergency orders as needed as it continues to ease restrictions in support of its phased reopening.
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government will continue to monitor public health trends related to COVID-19 and assess on an ongoing basis whether the provincial Declaration of Emergency needs to be extended further. The government will also continue to review emergency orders currently in place to determine when and if it is safe to amend or lift them as more places in the province are allowed to reopen in a safe and measured way.
As of June 24, 33 public health unit regions have entered Stage 2 of the Framework for Reopening our Province, allowing more businesses and services to open and getting more people back to work. The Windsor-Essex County public health unit region remains in Stage 1 and the situation in the region will continue to be assessed on an ongoing basis.
Recent outbreaks, especially those in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, pose unique challenges that require a targeted response. By taking immediate action, health officials hope to stop the spread of the virus and move the region into Stage 2 as soon as it is safe to do so.
Details of the plan were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
The three-point plan builds on the work already underway by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and enhances the coordinated efforts of the province, federal and local authorities. The plan’s three points are as follows:
- Ongoing and expanded on-site testing
Ontario is continuing to facilitate on-site testing at agri-food businesses and community assessment centres to make proactive testing more timely and accessible. About 350 asymptomatic workers have been tested at their work site since on-site testing launched this past weekend. Ontario is currently engaging employers to schedule more mobile testing on farms. Early identification of workers who are not showing symptoms, but who may be infected with COVID-19, will help reduce the potential spread of the virus in the workplace and the community.
- Access to Employment Benefits and Supports
Temporary foreign workers are entitled to the same benefits and protections as any other worker in Ontario. That includes workers’ compensation benefits, which are administered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). It also includes protections afforded by the Employment Standards Act. Under Ontario’s new infectious disease emergency leave provisions, a worker’s job is protected while they take unpaid leave due to COVID-19.
In certain cases, temporary foreign workers may also be eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). To access the federal benefit, workers must have earned $5,000 in the last 12 months or in the previous year.
- New Public Health Guidance
The Chief Medical Officer of Health will issue new public health guidance allowing positive asymptomatic workers to continue working as long as they follow the public health measures in their workplace to minimize the risk of transmission to others. This guidance will provide clarity and assurance that local public health officials will assist with interpreting test results and developing a plan that, first and foremost, ensures essential workers in the sector are able to return to work safely and meet the business-critical operational needs on a case-by-case basis.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation in all regions of the province to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or adjusted if necessary.
Although restrictions are being gradually relaxed in Stage 2, the government is strongly recommending that everyone in Ontario continue to follow public health advice, including physical distancing, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you think you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, get tested.
The Francophone Community Grants Program is a two-stream, application-based funding program. Funding provided under the Economic Development stream helps francophone entrepreneurs and businesses improve front-line services and better serve their French-speaking clients and partners. Under the Cultural and Community stream, the Program invests in local cultural and community initiatives, demonstrating the government’s ongoing commitment to protecting and promoting the French language and culture.
The Program supports projects which strengthen the capacity of organizations to provide products and services in French, promote the recruitment and training of bilingual staff, or provide opportunities to celebrate and foster understanding of Ontario’s Francophonie. This year, the Economic Development stream has been extended to include not-for-profit organizations, in addition to for-profit organizations.
The curriculum was developed over two years in consultation with parents, math educators, academics and math education experts, and is designed to reverse a decade of declining math scores. It will be available to students across the province beginning in September 2020.
Details were released today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.
The new math curriculum for Grades 1-8 will:
- Build understanding of the value and use of money through mandatory financial literacy concepts;
- For the first time, teach coding or computer programming skills starting in Grade 1 to improve problem solving and fluency with technology, to prepare students for jobs of the future;
- Use relevant, current, and practical examples so students can connect math to everyday life;
- Put a focus on fundamental math concepts and skills, such as learning and recalling number facts.
The Ministry of Education is also changing how it makes curriculum available to better reflect how Ontarians consume information. The new math curriculum will be the first uploaded to the new Curriculum and Resources website, a digital space where anyone can access curriculum and learning resources. This platform will help parents, students, and teachers see connections between learning in different grades and subjects.
Based on the most recent modelling update, Ottawa is currently at 68 per cent physical distancing effectiveness. Physical distancing effectiveness describes how fast COVID-19 spreads in Ottawa compared to if there was no physical distancing. In other words, the higher the percentage, the better. If there is perfect or 100 per cent physical distancing effectiveness, there would be no COVID-19 spread.
At the beginning of COVID-19 in Ottawa, new cases and hospitalizations doubled every three to four days. As people in Ottawa began to physically distance, the spread of COVID-19 slowed. Currently, hospital admissions are slower than the initial three to four days doubling time, but we have not yet eliminated all COVID-19 growth.
Everyone’s actions have contributed to flattening the curve and have allowed us to move into Stage 2 of reopening. We must stay the course. Be COVIDWise: Wear a mask, Isolate when sick (and seek testing if you have symptoms), Stay two metres apart from others and Exercise proper hand hygiene. It is up to you to make informed decisions and lessen your risk of infection and the risk to people close to you. Being COVIDWise saves lives.
Early socio-demographic data
On May 8, OPH started collecting socio-demographic data from people diagnosed with COVID-19. A preliminary look at data collected so far tells us that there may be an over-representation of people who are racialized and immigrants compared with Census 2016 data.
- 66% identified as from a racialized community compared to 26% of Ottawa residents in Census 2016 data
- 54% are immigrants to Canada while only 24% of Ottawa residents are immigrants in Census 2016 data
- Areas in Ottawa with the most diverse communities have rates of COVID-19 almost twice that of areas with the least diversity
This preliminary data is consistent with what is being seen elsewhere. We will be working with community partners such as the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership to understand these numbers. We need to better understand how people’s experiences and life situations are creating this unfair vulnerability to COVID-19 in order to address these differences and barriers.
We are expanding our work to collect socio-demographic information from people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to May 8 which will allow us to complete fulsome analysis of the data.
The impacts of COVID-19 extend beyond the infection itself. OPH has been surveying Ottawa residents to understand how people are managing the health and social impacts of COVID-19.
In June, we asked about mental health and emotional well-being including sense of community belonging and loneliness. Some of the findings include:
- 38% reported their overall mental health and emotional well-being as ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ in the last two weeks compared to 9% in 2017 (Canadian Community Health Survey);
- 52% reported a weak sense of belonging to their local community compared to 30% in 2017;
- Nearly 60% of residents reported feeling some sense of loneliness over the last two weeks; and,
- 1 in 3 reported at least one time in the past two weeks wanting to talk to someone about something on their mind but did not know where to turn.
This data will continue to help inform OPH and our partners on how to best support the mental health and wellness in our community. A report with these findings will be available soon.
Visit our Mental Health and COVID-19 page and our Resources for First Nations, Inuit and Metis Community Members page for currently available mental health resources.
We would like to thank EKOS Research for their collaboration on the survey.
Thanks to the team
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 response, hundreds of public health and City staff have been working hard to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa. In all my years in public health, I have never seen so many people come together and work with such passion and purpose to protect our community. Their continuous commitment and hard work day and night, seven days a week makes me proud to be part of this organization. Thank you to all of OPH and the City for the collective approach.
We have worked collaboratively with our partners to keep our community safe and to protect those at higher risk. The combined efforts of public health, local partners and the community are making a difference. Thousands of lives have been saved.
Find out more on OPH’s response by the numbers in the Be COVIDWise infographic.
Lastly, I would like to acknowledge Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. This day allows us to celebrate the vital role that the Francophone community has played within Canada since its foundation. We are proudly bilingual and we hope you enjoy yourselves safely today.
Ottawa Tourism Launches Free Resident Savings Passport
Ottawa Tourism introduces the #MyOttawa Pass, Ottawa’s very own local savings passport, complete with an impressive collection of more than 60 discounts and offers from businesses across the city. There has never been a better time to be a tourist in your own backyard, so let’s help kickstart the local economy by getting out in support of local businesses as they reopen, all while finding deals and exploring the city. This FREE pass is available to all Ottawa locals until July 31, 2020. All you need to do is sign up and present your offer at any participating businesses to redeem and save.