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Office of the Mayor and Council Holiday update
January 3, 2022


 
Drastic increase in COVID-19 patients at OTMH 
Ontario moves back to modified lockdown
as hospitals cut services to essential only

COVID-19 patients tripled at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital in the two days since Sunday.

In response to similar increases across the Ontario healthcare system, the Province is returning to a modified version of its Step Two plan for the pandemic at least until January 27 (21 days).

Schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17.

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health is instructing hospitals to pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures in order to preserve critical care and human resource capacity.

In his press conference, Premier Ford stated, "The immediate goal of these measures will be to blunt the latest wave so we can ease the pressure on our hospitals and allow more time to deliver these all important booster shots."

In order to minimize the strain on our local health care system and our dedicated frontline staff, I encourage all residents to follow the Province's public health measures and book a booster shot appointments and help others do so as well. The Town will be assessing the implications of today's provincial announcement and will provide further details on town services.

As always, I will be looking for ways to assist and advocate on behalf of our hard-hit restaurants and local business community who have faced many challenges throughout this pandemic.

Our resilient community flattened the COVID-19 case curve before when the virus was less infectious. The new variant is so infectious, we need to act together in this emergency to protect our hospital and our beloved healthcare works from being overwhelmed by patients they might not be able to treat and protect.
 

Ontario Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen
Time-limited measures needed to preserve hospital capacity as province continues to accelerate booster dose rollout

TORONTO — In response to recent trends that show an alarming increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is temporarily moving the province into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen with modifications that take into account the province’s successful vaccination efforts. These time-limited measures will help blunt transmission and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed as the province continues to accelerate its booster dose rollout. As part of the province’s response to the Omicron variant, starting January 5, students will pivot to remote learning with free emergency child care planned for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.

“As we continue with our provincial vaccine booster efforts, we must look at every option to slow the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Putting these targeted and time-limited measures in place will give us more opportunity to deliver vaccines to all Ontarians and ensure everyone has maximum protection against this virus.”

Unlike other variants throughout the pandemic, evolving data is showing that while the Omicron variant is less severe, its high transmissibility has resulted in a larger number of hospital admissions relative to ICU admissions. Staff absenteeism is also expected to rise and affect operations in workplaces across Ontario due to Omicron infection and exposure, including in hospitals and schools. Real-world experience and evidence in Ontario reveal that approximately one per cent of Omicron cases require hospital care. The rapid rise of Omicron cases, which may soon number in the hundreds of thousands, could result in the province’s hospital capacity becoming overwhelmed if further action isn’t taken to curb transmission. When one in 100 cases goes to hospital, it means that with this rapid increase in transmission the number of new cases requiring hospitalization will also rapidly increase daily. For example, 50,000 cases per day would mean 500 hospital admissions per day, which is greater than the peak daily hospitalizations of 265 per day from last spring, when hospitals were under significant strain during the third wave of the pandemic.

In response, the province will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.

These measures include:

  • Reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
  • Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.
  • Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
  • Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
  • Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50 per cent capacity. For shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.
  • Personal care services permitted at 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.
  • Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.
  • Public libraries limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.
  • Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other liquor stores exempted.
  • Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.
  • Closing museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.
  • All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.
  • School buildings would be permitted to open for child care operations, including emergency child care, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.
  • During this period of remote learning, free emergency child care will be provided for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.

Please view the regulation for the full list of mandatory public health and workplace safety measures.

In addition, on January 5, 2022 the Chief Medical Officer of Health will reinstate Directive 2 for hospitals and regulated health professionals, instructing hospitals to pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures in order to preserve critical care and human resource capacity.

In recognition of the impact the Omicron variant and additional public health measures have on small businesses, the government is expanding the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program. Eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity will receive rebate payments for a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these measures. Eligible businesses required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs, while businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. A full list of eligible business types will be made available when applications for the program open later this month. To improve cash flows for Ontario businesses, effective January 1, 2022, the government is also providing up to $7.5 billion for a six-month interest- and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes, supporting businesses now and providing the flexibility they will need for long-term planning.

The government is also exploring options for providing further targeted and necessary supports for businesses and workers impacted by the province’s move into a modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen, including grants. The government will also continue to call on the federal government to come to table and help us support Ontario businesses and Ontario workers by allowing eligible businesses to defer HST and to enhance supports available to workers affected by current public health measures.

“As cases continue to rise at a rapid rate and evidence on the Omicron variant evolves, additional time-limited measures are needed to help limit transmission as Team Ontario continues to get booster doses into arms,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “While this was not an easy decision, these measures will help preserve hospital bed capacity and prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.”

“Children will continue to receive live virtual learning during this period, led by their teacher, with full access to school-based academic and mental health supports,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We will continue to work closely with the Chief Medical Officer of Health to keep our communities safe and ensure that Ontario students get back to in-person learning as soon as possible.”

As of January 2, more than 3.7 million booster doses have been administered across the province. The government is focusing all efforts to speed up booster doses, including employer-led vaccination clinics and expanded GO-VAXX mobile clinics. To date, over 4,300 Ontarians have registered through the Ontario COVID-19 Volunteer Portal and the Health Workforce Matching Portal and have answered the province’s call to arms to businesses, volunteers and retired health professionals to help further boost capacity to administer vaccines and get more boosters into arms sooner.

The province is also continuing to urge the federal government to approve COVID-19 antivirals to support Canada’s pandemic response.

“While the risks for severe illness are lower with Omicron than with the previous variants of concern, it is far more transmissible and hospitalizations are expected to continue to increase placing greater pressure on our health system,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “It is difficult but necessary to apply additional public health and workplace safety measures to help stop the spread of the virus and protect our health system capacity. Please follow all public measures and get vaccinated with your first, second or booster dose if you have not done already.”

COVID-19 public health measures and advice

Premier Ford's Press Conference
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces new measures amid a surge of COVID-19 cases and the spread of the Omicron variant in the province.

Important information about COVID-19

The Province has updated its guidance on self-isolation, symptoms, testing and what to do if you are exposed to COVID-19. To get the latest information on what you need to do to protect yourself and others please go to ontario.ca/exposed(external link).

Public Health has been instructed by the Province to focus on contacting those who are working in high-risk congregate settings (long-term homes, retirement homes and congregate living facilities) and healthcare related outbreaks where vulnerable people reside. Given the high volume of cases, please do not wait for public health to contact you. Self-isolate immediately and follow direction at ontario.ca/exposed(external link)

Thank you for your patience and the work you are doing to protect yourself, your families and community.


What to do if you test positive for COVID-19:


What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19:


What to do if you had exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or someone with symptoms of COVID-19:

Book a first, second or third dose appointment


An e-mail address is required to book an appointment. If you do not have an email address, call 311. Each person needs their own appointment. Group bookings are not available (for example, families, spouses/partners).  You can book an appointment on someone else’s behalf.

Please check regularly as more appointments will be added as they become available. Each individual must book their own separate appointment.

Appointments are also available at over 100 pharmacies in Halton Region and many primary care offices. There are more than 40 pharmacies in Oakville offering appointments via their websites.

A few articles that may be of interest to you...
Did you know our Snow Clearing Information Line (905-815-5999) is in place to provide info on current winter control operations? Try it out the next time you are looking for snow removal info here.

OAKVILLE TRANSIT - UPDATE

Oakville Transit is running its regular weekday service level today. Visit our website for schedules or use our online trip planner: http://ow.ly/9uw250Hbk7o

For assistance over the holidays you can email me at mayor@oakville.ca, contact ServiceOakville by emailing ServiceOakville@oakville.ca, or use the Town's Report a Problem tool

To see today’s updated COVID-19 statistics for Oakville from Halton’s Public Health Unit CLICK HERE

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Past newsletters

Halton COVID case counts

Public Health Ontario reported 781 new COVID-19 cases on January 1, 2021.

Halton Region's Dashboard will be updated on January 4, 2021.

Halton Region notes that: The recent surge in Omicron cases means that testing capacity is limited and case, contact, and outbreak management has been modified to focus on high-risk settings. As a result, the number of cases reported in the dashboard is an underestimate of the true number of cases in the community, and outbreaks will be underreported. Data completeness may also be impacted. 
 
Oakville vaccine coverage for 12+
Oakville vaccine coverage for 0+
OTMH is currently reporting 36 patients, while Milton has 9, Georgetown has 3 and Joseph Brant has 9 patients. Halton Region has a total of 57 COVID-19 patients under care.
Number of COVID-19 Cases in GTHA by Public Health Unit on December 31, 2021
Updated data will be posted on January 4th.
Ontario COVID-19 case counts
Today Ontario is reporting a total of 805,098 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario reported to date. There are 1,232 reported to be currently hospitalized. Compared to the previous day, this represents:
  • Increase of 13,578 confirmed cases today.
  • Increase of 6 deaths from yesterday’s 10,223 to now 10,229.
  • Increase of 6,547 resolved cases from yesterday’s 658,015 to now 664,562. 
In the ICU, there are 248 COVID-19 patients. Public Health Ontario will release additional data tomorrow.
 

Canada COVID case counts

As of January 3, 2021, Canada has reported 2,268,241  confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 342,985 considered active. The death toll stood at 30,369.

More than 290 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.445 million.

COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario

Source: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-ontario
As of Friday, 27,208,675 doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Ontario. 11,410,550 people from Ontario are fully vaccinated. 

As of Monday, more than 68,756,211 doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across Canada.
Local Resources

Food Banks experiencing record demand


Oakville's food banks are in record-breaking demand. If you can donate anything, please do. Your help is needed.

Fareshare Food Bank Oakville:
905-847-3988
oakvillefoodbank@gmail.com

Kerr Street Mission
905-845-7485
kerrstreet.com

The Salvation Army Oakville
salvationarmy.ca

 


Oakville Meals on Wheels continues to operate 


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakville Meals on Wheels continues to operate under increased safety measures.
Learn more 


Oakville Fare Share Food Bank hours

The demand for service at the Oakville Fare Share Food Bank have almost doubled over the last nine months and as a result, hours will increase to serve everyone.

The new hours are:
Monday 9.30 am to 2 p.m.
Thursday 2 to 7 p.m.

Upcoming events

Free Reading Program

The Optimist Club of Oakville is sponsoring The Free Reading Program - which is a professionally designed, comprehensive, FREE TO USE, Kindergarten to Grade 6 online English Literacy Program. It includes over 260 Learning Units which encompasses 3600 interactive learning activities. It is designed to instill confidence, it includes audio, visual and tactile elements based on leading educational research and proven teaching techniques.
Learn more

Get your Ward news!

Oakville Town Council, pictured here following the election in 2018, represents seven wards with a Town and Regional and Town Councillor in each riding.
Find and connect with your Councillor
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