COVID-19 UPDATE FOR APRIL 8, 2020
Below you will find today’s updates on the COVID-19 situation.
My team and I are monitoring the situation closely and sharing resources and information here in our daily newsletter, on our COVID-19 Information Hub, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Our goal is to help you have the latest facts at your fingertips during this challenging time.
Please continue to follow updates from Ottawa Public Health.
- Update from Dr. Vera Etches - keep up the good work Ottawa!
- Ontario stores closed Friday and Sunday this weekend – open Saturday and Monday
- Refunds for City programs
- Reminder: Virtual town hall on COVID-19 tomorrow
- Free daycare for essential workers opens Monday
- Spring cleaning outdoors during COVID-19
- Reminder about park rules
- New workplace safety measures and where to call if you feel unsafe on the job
- Construction hours extended to speed up hospital projects
- New rules for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Help for students unable to find summer jobs
- Lawyers can sign wills virtually
- Update keeping long-term care residents safe
- COVID-19 Related Fraud and Property Crime
- Energy Use
Update from Dr. Vera Etches - keep up the good work Ottawa!
- Dr. Vera Etches gave a presentation to Ottawa City Council today.
- Projections show Ottawa should be able to keep the number of cases stable *if* residents continue to practice physical distancing.
- Without strict physical distancing, the pandemic likely won't peak in Ottawa until mid-summer or even early fall, Etches warned.
- Dr. Etches’ message to Council was for everyone to keep up the good work: “our public health measures right now have made a difference and we need people to stay focused on this.”
- Ottawa Public Health did a poll of Ottawa residents and here is what we’ve learned:
- 94% of Ottawa residents think COVID-19 is serious and the closures are necessary
- 85% Stay 2 meters away from people as much as possible
- 79% Limit outings to essential shopping for food and other household supplies
- Let’s keep it up everyone.
- Physical distancing by all of us is IMPERATIVE to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
- About wearing masks:
- Dr. Etches says that homemade cloth masks will reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from the wearer to others.
- It is important to know that COVID-19 infection may be present without any symptoms or with such mild symptoms that the person does not recognize being ill.
- Also, COVID-19 infection can be transmitted to others in the 2 days (perhaps up to 3 days) before onset of any symptoms.
- For more information about COVID-19, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus
Ontario stores closed Friday and Sunday this weekend – open Saturday and Monday
- Premier Ford has announced that grocery stores and pharmacies will be closed this Friday and Sunday.
- This is a break for grocery store and pharmacy workers during the holiday long weekend that includes Easter and Passover.
- “…everyone working in our grocery stores and pharmacies, our truck drivers and those working the line, they have been working day and night...One way we are saying ‘thank you,’ is making sure they have this Friday and Sunday off.” – Premier Ford.
- Stores will be open Thursday, Saturday and Monday onward.
Refunds for City programs
- Do you have questions about refunds for cancelled bookings, recreation programs, and memberships due to COVID19? Get your answers here.
Reminder: Virtual town hall on COVID-19 tomorrow
Free daycare for essential workers opens Monday
- Emergency child-care centres are opening Monday to offer free child-care for essential workers.
- The licensed municipal child-care locations will open at these locations:
- Esther By Child Care Centre (1550 Caldwell Avenue) – Monday to Friday, 7:30 am to 5:45 pm
- Centre Éducatif Tournesol (194 McArthur Road) – Monday to Friday, 7:30 am to 5:45 pm
- Dr. Ernest Couture Child Care Centre (2185 Riverside Drive) – Monday to Friday, 7:30 am to 8 pm
- Ottawa Public Health still recommends that children remain at home if possible.
- Ontario's list of essential workers who qualify for emergency child care includes:
- Doctors, nurses, paramedics, and personal support workers
- Police officers
- Those working in correctional institutions
- Animal welfare inspectors
- Those working in emergency child-care settings
- Eligible families can apply here.
Spring cleaning outdoors during COVID-19
- It’s the time of the year when Cleaning up the Capital activities would be getting underway.
- These activities will not be taking place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Ottawa Public Health advises that you should not take it upon yourself to clean up parks or roadways right now.
- If you want to clean-up your own property, please use the following precautions:
- Stay on your property at all times.
- Don’t invite others (outside of your household) to participate
- Wear gloves
- Use a picker if available
- Put litter in plastic bags and tie up when full
- Put filled litter bags in your household waste on collection day
- Do not touch your face at any time while cleaning
- Wash your hands immediately after cleaning
- Never touch a needle with your hands
For more information about COVID-19, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus
Reminder about park rules
- Please remember that all parks are closed, and only walkthroughs are allowed while respecting physical distancing.
- More information here.
New workplace safety measures and where to call if you feel unsafe on the job
- Premier Ford has announced new workplace safety measures for essential businesses during COVID-19.
- There will be more safety inspections and more capacity for workers to voice concerns.
- The province is hiring retired inspectors to follow-up on concerns from workers.
- If you ever feel unsafe on your job, call 1-877-202-0008.
- Official news release
Construction hours extended to speed up hospital projects
- The Ontario government is extending working hours to 24 hours a day for essential construction projects.
- Work on new hospitals, expansions, and COVID-19 assessment centres can take place any time of the night or day to speed up projects.
- Premier Ford said the extended hours will also allow for shifts to be staggered and will limit the number of workers in one spot on the site.
- The province will temporarily limit local noise bylaws from applying to these types of essential construction activities.
- Official news release
New rules for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Prime Minister Trudeau announced today that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for employers hit by COVID-19 will have different standards than previously announced.
- Rather than having to show a 30% decline in revenues, businesses can show a 15% decline in March, and can compare their revenues to previous months rather than the previous year.
- Charities and non-profits can choose whether to include revenues from governments, such as grants, in their calculations when they apply.
- Applications are not open yet. We’ll share details about the application process when we have them.
- Official news release and full details here
Help for students unable to find summer jobs
- Not all out-of-work Canadians qualify for the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and this includes many post-secondary students.
- To be eligible to receive the CERB, applicants must have earned at least $5,000 in the past 12 months (or in 2019) and be out of work because of COVID-19.
- Some students work casual, part-time jobs that pay less than $5,000 a year. Others only work during the summer, meaning they haven't lost their job due to COVID-19, but it will be hard for them to find work this summer.
- As a result, the federal government is beefing up a program to encourage businesses to hire summer students by covering 100% of the costs.
- The Canada Summer Jobs Program is a pre-existing program that normally subsidizes employers to hire students by paying up to half of whatever the local minimum wage is toward the worker's salary.
- But with the record job loss caused by COVID-19, Ottawa is beefing up the program this year to help students find paid work.
Lawyers can sign wills virtually
- Due to the need for physical distancing, Ontario has passed an emergency order to allow lawyers to witness wills and powers of attorney remotely.
Update keeping long-term care residents safe
- To minimize the risk of COVID-19 to residents, all long-term care homes have prevented access to visitors, except for essential visitors.
- Below are answers to questions you may have.
- Why can’t I visit my parent in the long-term care facility?
- COVID-19 is dangerous for older people and those with existing medical conditions and it’s critical that we work together to minimize the spread of the virus among residents of Ottawa’s long-term care homes. For that reason, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario has directed that access to long-term care homes be restricted to essential visitors only.
- How do I know if I am an essential visitor?
- Essential visitors are defined as those who provide essential support, like physiotherapy and maintenance, or someone visiting a very ill or palliative resident as determined by a physician.
- What is being done to ensure residents are getting the support they need?
- We continue to follow the individual resident care plans. The homes are also finding innovative ways for visitors and family members to stay in touch, including through the use of iPads in each home to help them connect virtually.
- What is being done to prevent infection at the long-term care centres?
- We have implemented the latest Provincial guidelines to better detect, prevent and reduce the incidence and spread of infections. Staff are screened daily, both at the start and end of their shift, including a temperature check. All residents are also screened twice daily for any symptoms. Residents showing symptoms will be isolated and tested for the virus. Newly admitted or re-admitted residents are automatically isolated for 14 days. Residents are not permitted to leave the property except for essential medical appointments. If they do leave, they are isolated for 14 days upon return. We have also added more housekeeping shifts to disinfect surfaces more frequently.
- What happens if a test confirms a case of COVID-19?
- If a case is confirmed, the homes have a pandemic plan to follow, along with directives from the Province and guidance from Ottawa Public Health. Staff will use protective equipment, including gloves, masks, face shields or goggles and gowns before interacting with a suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19 positive resident. Any resident with CSSD
COVID-19 Related Fraud and Property Crime
Unfortunately, there are criminals who use the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity for their activities. The following is an excellent resource that has been adapted from Victim Support Europe detailing types of crimes to be aware of and how to protect yourself. This information is available in 4 languages (EN, FR, ع, 中文) on the CPO website.
At the moment, experts have have identified three main areas of coronavirus-related crime:
- Cybercrime: with many more people staying at home and especially working from home, there is a heightened risk of security breaches, hacking, and fraud. There are even fraudulent websites and apps posing as coronavirus trackers which are in fact phishing attacks or scams. Interpol also reports phone fraud where criminals call victims pretending to be clinic or hospital officials, who claim that a relative of the victim has fallen sick with the virus and request payments for medical treatment. Do not send any payments to anyone you do not know and verify all the information you receive through phone or online. Follow Europol’s advice below to make sure you are protected.
- Fake cures and medicine: there is no known cure for COVID-19 at the moment. There is also no vaccine. Do not buy anything sold as any type of medicine or remedy against coronavirus as it is fake. Europol reports thousands of seized counterfeit pharmaceuticals and medical devices seized as well as thousands of websites taken down.
- Organized property crime: it has been reported in various countries within the EU that perpetrators gain access to private homes by impersonating medical staff providing information material or hygiene products or conducting a “Corona test” with the intention of theft and robbery. Remain vigilant and do not let anyone you do not know in.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre tracks the latest updates on coronavirus-related crime. They also list further examples of such COVID-related crimes.
If you have become victim of any type of crime, please consult Ottawa Police’s Victim Crisis Unit website for list of supports.
Is your hydro bill too high? Would you like to reduce your energy use?
The Affordability Fund is here to help you reduce what you spend on electricity by making your home more energy-efficient – for FREE!
Funded by the Government of Ontario, the Affordability Fund provides qualifying residents who pay an electricity bill with free energy saving upgrades – you can get Energy Star lightbulbs or power bar to new appliances or a heat pump.
To determine eligibility and apply, you need to have a copy of your recent electricity bill and an estimate of your household’s total monthly income.
The Affordability Fund is coordinating a pilot project in Ottawa in partnership with Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode Community Resource Centre (NROCRC) and the United Way East Ontario.
We hope to reach residents who can greatly benefit from the project and provide more personalized support.
To apply or for more information, please send an email to Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-596-5626 ext 252 (leave a message with your name and phone number).