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Office of the Mayor and Council update
March 5, 2021


 

Ontario Vaccine Update


 
During a week in which Halton successfully launched our vaccine booking system, booking 15,245 residents for vaccination, 4,633 more residents were inoculated this week as well. This number will soar next week as the first vaccination clinic in Halton Hills opens Saturday. Oakville’s St. Volodymyr location will open next Tuesday.

As a reminder, these clinics are for those eligible residents with pre-booked appointments. Walk-ins will not be accommodated. Appointments can be booked at: halton.ca/covidvaccines.



Today’s approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Health Canada will add more vaccines into the Province’s updated vaccination rollout plan, pending supply. That update will, Ontario Vaccine Task Force Head General Hillier hopes, see all those aged 60 and over who want to be vaccinated receiving their first dose by the first day of summer.

As much as the light at the end of the tunnel shines brighter this week, we must remain vigilant in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community until everyone who wants to vaccinated receives their doses. This means continuing to follow all public health advice to stay home except for essential purposes, staying home if you feel unwell, washing and sanitizing your hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, keeping a physical distance from anyone outside your household and wearing a mask when you can’t, even outside, and where mandated.

Read the Province's updated Vaccine Distribution plan here.

Ontario announces plans to 'rapidly accelerate' its vaccine rollout

Ontario expects to give all adults 60 and older a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by early June, officials said Friday, as they detailed who will qualify for a shot during Phase 2 of the province's immunization campaign.

That's at least a month sooner than originally planned. Ontario's rollout strategy was recently revised amid a wave of vaccine-related news, including the approvals of a third and fourth vaccine for use in Canada and the option to space out shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by up to four months.

Notably, however, the updated rollout plan presented by officials was put together before some significant announcements today. This morning, Health Canada gave a green light to the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada should expect up to 1.5 million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine in March than expected.

At a news conference, provincial officials said those developments could speed-up implementation of the rollout, especially during Phase 2, which is set to run between now and the end of July.

Officials said they expect to begin immunizing Canadians with some underlying health conditions, caregivers in congregate settings and adults in some COVID-19 hotspots by the start of April. 

Another category of residents, defined as those who cannot work from home, could start getting first doses at the beginning of June. That includes educators and school staff, first responders and workers in sectors such as manufacturing and food processing.

Read the full article.


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

There are currently 93 Active Cases in Oakville and 6 COVID-19 patients being cared for at OTMH (this number includes transfers from facilities outside of Halton Region).

Confirmed cases in Halton increased by +25 from 9327 to 9352, with +11 new confirmed cases in Oakville from 2943 to 2954.

There were +10 new reported recoveries in Oakville, from 2897 to 2907 and +30 new recoveries in Halton from 9166 to 9196.

Ontario is reporting 1,250 new cases today, bringing the total to 306,007. Of those, 287,424 are resolved with 7,046 deaths. Currently there are 643 patients in hospital, 280 of whom are in ICU with 183 of those on ventilators.

Source: Public Health Ontario
Halton COVID-19 Monitoring Dashboard
The indicators are based on the Ontario Public Health Unit Core Indicators for COVID-19 Monitoring, with targets adapted to the local Halton context and population. Together the indicators are intended to provide an overall snapshot of current local data on the COVID-19 pandemic, to keep the community informed and assist with local decision-making.

Canada COVID case counts

As of this morning, Canada had recorded more than 878,391 cases of COVID-19 and 22,151 deaths. 826,337 Canadians have recovered from COVID-19.

As of this morning, more than 115.781 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 65.496 million of those cases considered recovered or resolved, according to a COVID-19 case tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.572 million.

COVID-19 vaccine tracker

Halton's COVID-19 vaccination program

COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario

Source: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-ontario

As of Friday at 10:32 am CST, more than 
2,225,278 doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across Canada.

Oakville & Halton

Town of Oakville - Oakville is creating a community-wide network of electric vehicle charging stations.


Oakville is creating a community-wide network of electric vehicle charging stations.

Learn more about the locations, fees and rules for use: www.oakville.ca/residents/electric-vehicle-charging-stations.html

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Sheridan College - Sheridan expands mental health services with $160,000 Government of Ontario investment


At a virtual event earlier today, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and MPP for Brampton South, and Stephen Crawford, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure and MPP for Oakville, announced more than $160,000 in funding from the Ontario government to help increase access to mental health services for postsecondary students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At Sheridan, we are champions of student success and an important contributor to that success is positive mental health,” said Dr. Janet Morrison, Sheridan’s President and Vice Chancellor. “We are grateful to the Government of Ontario for this financial support to expand mental health services for our students, both inside and outside of the classroom."

“Mental health concerns are on the rise in our postsecondary institutions. Postsecondary education is stressful, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the mental health problems experienced by students. It is critical that funding is provided to help students get the support they need. I am pleased that Sheridan, which continues to be a community leader, is receiving funding to strengthen mental health supports during these unprecedented times. We need students to have the resources to achieve success,” said MPP Crawford.

The funding is part of a one-time $7-million provincial investment by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to support mental health services for postsecondary students in 2020-21. 

At Sheridan, funds will support more mental health services for students, both on-campus and virtually. This will include the expansion of virtual mental health supports for students, while also building targeted programs that address the needs of equity-deserving groups such as racialized students, Indigenous students, LGBTQ students and students with disabilities.

"In these unprecedented times, our government has made it a priority to invest in more mental health services, said Sarkaria. "We recognize that our youth are under more pressure and stress than any recent generation. This funding will ensure that the mental health services they need are going to be there to support them, when they need it."

Over the course of the pandemic, Sheridan has offered free and confidential remote counselling sessions to all its students. Sheridan also confirmed its commitment to health and wellness in January with the launch of Sheridan Wellness: Our Strategy for Community Wellbeing – a guiding document intended to foster all dimensions of wellness at Sheridan for its students and employees, including mental health. The launch coincided with Sheridan’s signing of the Okanagan Charter.
 

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Oakville Beaver - COVID-19 vaccine update: Q and A with Oakville MP Anita Anand


Oakville MP Anita Anand is also Canada’s procurement minister and has overseen the process of securing COVID-19 vaccines for the entire country.

With the arrival of 500,000 newly-approved AstraZeneca vaccines in Canada on March 3 and their imminent distribution to provinces and territories, we connected with Anand to find out the latest on the inoculation front.

Read the full Q and A.
 

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Taste of Oakville ends tomorrow


Don't forget Taste of Oakville ends tomorrow so be sure to visit and support your favourite participating local restaurant.

More info: www.atasteofoakville.com

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Sugarbush Season is now open at Mountsberg Conservation Area


The Mountsberg sugarbush has been producing maple magic for more than 150 years and educating the public for over 40 years. The park will tap about 300 sugar maples this spring and the crystal-clear sap will be magically transformed into sweet maple syrup in the Sugar Shanty. This year will be different than in previous years, but Conservation Halton has worked with public health to ensure a safe experience.

Learn more and reserve your spot https://conservationhalton.ca/sugarbush-season
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Join Town and Regional Councillor Pavan Parmar and I, virtually, for the 3rd annual "Women Who Inspire" International Women's Day event on March 11, 2021, from 7 - 8 p.m.

As we celebrate the role of women making real and positive change, we invite you to hear from Oakville MP and Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand. A scholar, lawyer, researcher, and mother of four, Minister Anand has held one of our country’s most instrumental roles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please register here.
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Ontario

Government of Ontario Announcements

Ontario Ready to Rollout Phase Two of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan

TORONTO — The Ontario government is preparing to move into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan next month, with a focus on vaccinating populations based on age and risk. This approach is designed to save lives, protect those at risk of serious illness and to stop the virus from spreading.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force.
"Due to the incredible work of an army of people we have a solid vaccine distribution plan and we are ready to get needles into arms as soon as the doses arrive," said Premier Ford. "This is a true Team Ontario effort and we are mobilizing our greatest asset - the people of Ontario. Vaccines will be administered in hospital clinics, primary care settings, mass vaccination sites, mobile clinics and pharmacies across the province by dedicated, caring and compassionate frontline health care heroes."
With vaccine supply stabilizing and over two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government before the end of March, the province to enter Phase Two of its vaccine rollout. Between April 2021 and July 2021, up to nine million Ontarians will be vaccinated.
During Phase Two, groups that will receive the vaccine include:

  • Older adults between 60-79 years of age;
  • Individuals with specific health conditions and some primary caregivers;
  • People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers;
  • People who live in hot spots with high rates of death, hospitalizations and transmission; and,
  • Certain workers who cannot work from home.

"Thanks to the hard work of our health care partners and frontline heroes, Ontario's vaccine rollout is making a positive difference and helping to save the lives of some of our most vulnerable," said Minister Elliott. "We continue to ramp up capacity and are committed to administering as many doses, as quickly as possible to every Ontarian who wants a vaccine."
Phase One of Ontario's vaccination rollout is well underway, with 820,000 doses administered and over 269,000 Ontarians fully immunized. Over 95 per cent of long-term care residents are fully immunized and public health units are working with homes to vaccinate staff and essential caregivers as a priority. Some local public health units, based on local context and capacity, have been able to vaccinate some people aged over 80, before the anticipated timeframe of mid-March. By focusing early vaccination efforts on long-term care residents, combined with public health measures, Ontario has notably rapidly reduced infections and the daily death rates in long-term care homes.
Starting March 15th, the province will launch an online booking system and a provincial customer service desk to answer questions and support appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics. This will initially support individuals over the age of 80 as part of Phase One, eventually extending to more groups during Phase Two. While some public health units are currently using their own booking systems to vaccinate individuals aged 80 and over, it is anticipated that the majority of public health units will transition to the provincial booking system after it has launched.
The fight against COVID-19 continues to be our government's top priority," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "With the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and now the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and with increased supplies coming into the province, this gives us renewed focus to get even more Ontarians vaccinated sooner. We've made tremendous progress and ask that Ontarians continue to stay the course to protect themselves and keep their families, friends and communities safe."
NACI has provided the recommendation to extend the vaccination dose interval up to four months for all Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccines while maintaining a strong and sustained level of protection from the virus. This news along with the approval of new vaccines will help us to reforecast and maximize the number of people receiving a first dose in a shorter timeframe, pending supply from the federal government. Ontario has accepted and will follow NACI's recommendations starting March 10th, with some limited exceptions.
As supply increases, Ontarians will be able to get vaccinated with the three Health Canada approved vaccines in several new settings. In addition to hospitals, mobile clinics and mass vaccination clinics, the province is working with the pharmacy sector and with primary care professionals to offer vaccinations in primary care settings and community locations in collaboration with public health units. A pilot for pharmacy vaccine administration is planned for mid-March in select regions, including Toronto, Windsor and the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington region, followed by specific primary care pilots in collaboration with public health units.
"Being able to announce the Phase Two rollout today is exciting news for everyone. The vaccine developments this week mean that we can expect things to move faster than anticipated which is fantastic," said Gen (Ret'd) Rick Hillier. "To that end government officials are refining the distribution plans, testing the online booking system and implementing a pilot program with pharmacies and primary care providers in select regions to ensure that they are ready for the launch of Phase Two."
Ontario will enter Phase Three when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wishes to be immunized. While vaccines will not be mandated, during Phase Three, people will be strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

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BACKGROUNDER - Populations Eligible for Phase Two COVID-19 Vaccination

 

TORONTO — Phase Two of Ontario's vaccination distribution plan will focus on age and risk to prevent further death, hospitalization and transmission. 

Vaccine administration will focus on age as the most significant predictor of death or hospitalization from COVID-19, and on risk, with some adjustments for COVID-19 hot spots, specific health conditions, congregate care settings, essential caregivers and workers who cannot work from home.

During Phase Two, the following groups will be eligible for vaccination:

  • Older adults, between 60-75-79 years of age;
  • Individuals with specific health conditions and some primary caregivers;
  • People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers;
  • People who live in hot spots with high rates of death, hospitalizations and transmission; and,
  • Certain workers who cannot work from home.

Ontario is expecting to vaccinate these groups from April to July 2021, depending on availability of vaccines from the federal government. The rollout plan was developed in partnership with the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and in alignment with the Ethical Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to ensure that vaccines are distributed fairly and consistently to each group.

Who is Eligible in Phase Two?

Health conditions

Individuals with the health conditions listed below will be vaccinated in order of risk, with the highest-risk individuals being vaccinated first, followed by high-risk and at-risk individuals. Patients with these specific health conditions are at increased risk of serious illness and death regardless of age.

Highest-risk (442,000 people):

  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
  • People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
  • Haematological malignancy diagnosed less than 1 year ago
  • Kidney disease eGFR< 30

High-risk (292,000 people):

  • Obesity (BMI > 40)
  • Other treatments causing immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, immunity-weakening medications)
  • Intellectual or developmental disabilities (e.g., Down Syndrome)

At-risk (2.2 million people):

  • Immune deficiencies / autoimmune disorders
  • Stroke / cerebrovascular disease
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • All other cancers
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Spleen problems
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension with end organ damage
  • Diagnosis of mental disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Thalassemia
  • Pregnancy
  • Immunocompromising health conditions
  • Other disabilities requiring direct support care in the community

Congregate settings

Congregate settings are among the most significant sources of cases, hospitalizations and deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreaks in Ontario. At-risk staff, essential caregivers and residents from the following congregate settings are eligible for vaccination during Phase Two (158,000):

  • Supportive housing
  • Developmental services / intervenor and supported independent living (SIL)
  • Emergency homeless shelters
  • Other homeless populations not in shelters
  • Mental health and addictions congregate settings
  • Homes for special care Violence Against Women (VAW) shelters and Anti-Human Trafficking (AHT) residents
  • Children's residential facilities
  • Youth justice facilities
  • Indigenous healing and wellness
  • Provincial and demonstration schools
  • Farm workers who live in congregate settings, including Temporary foreign workers, Bail beds and Indigenous bail beds
  • Adult correctional facilities

Caregivers in select congregate care settings will be vaccinated as part of the vaccine rollout in congregate settings, including:

  • Developmental services
  • Mental health and addictions congregate settings
  • Homes for special care
  • Children's residential facilities
  • Indigenous healing and wellness

Essential caregivers

These are primary caregivers to those with highest-risk health conditions; i.e., organ transplant recipients, hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients, neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised, haematological malignancy diagnosed less than 1 year ago, kidney disease eGFR< 30 (400,000).

Hot spots

Over 20 per cent of community-based deaths in Ontario have occurred in just 10 per cent of areas referred to as hot spots, where COVID-19 rates are highest. To target historic and ongoing areas with high rates of death, hospitalization and transmission, the following public health units will receive additional doses (up to 920,000):   

  • Durham Region Health Department
  • Halton Region Public Health
  • City of Hamilton Public Health Services
  • Niagara Region Public Health
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Peel Public Health
  • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  • Wellington-Dufferin Guelph Public Health
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
  • York Region Public Health
  • Toronto Public Health
  • Southwestern Public Health

Public health units will use their local knowledge and expertise to distribute vaccines to their hotspots, as well as provincial data and information from the COVID-19 Science Advisory Science Table.

Workers who cannot work from home

Workers who cannot work from home in the sectors listed below will be vaccinated in two groups. Within each group, all workers listed will be eligible for vaccination at the same time:

First group of workers unable to work remotely (730,000 people):

  • Elementary / secondary school staff and bus drivers that transport students
  • Workers responding to critical events (e.g., police, fire, compliance, funeral, special constables)
  • Child care workers
  • Licensed foster care workers
  • Food manufacturing workers
  • Agriculture and farm workers

Remaining workers unable to work remotely (1.4 million people):

  • High-risk and critical retail workers (grocery and pharmacies)
  • Remaining manufacturing workers
  • Social workers (including youth justice)
  • Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole)
  • Lower-risk retail workers (wholesalers, general goods)
  • Transportation, warehousing and distribution
  • Energy, telecom (data and voice), water and wastewater management
  • Financial services
  • Waste management
  • Mining, oil and gas workers
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Toronto, Peel and North Bay-Parry Sound Public Health Regions Returning to Strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework

TORONTO — The Ontario Government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is transitioning Toronto, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound District public health regions out of the shutdown and into the revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the "Framework"), with the Stay-at-Home order no longer in effect. In addition, seven other public health regions are being moved to new levels in the Framework. All decisions were made in consultation with the local medical officers of health and are based on the latest trends in public health indicators and local context and conditions.

"Our government is taking a safe and cautious approach to returning to the Framework and due to our progress, all regions of the province will soon be out of the provincewide shutdown," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Despite this positive step forward, a return to the Framework is not a return to normal. As we continue vaccinating more Ontarians, it remains critical for everyone to continue to follow public health measures and stay home as much as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities."

Based on a general improvement in trends of key indicators, North Bay Parry Sound District will be returning to the Framework at the Red-Control level. Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health are also making progress, but as their case rates still remain high, they will return to the Framework at the Grey-Lockdown level.

In addition, based on the latest data, the following seven public health regions will also be moving to the following levels in the Framework:

Red-Control

  • Peterborough Public Health;
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts; and
  • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit.

Orange-Restrict

  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit; and
  • Timiskaming Health Unit.

Yellow-Protect

  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit; and
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

All changes will be effective Monday, March 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. Please visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse for the full list of public health region classifications.

Based on the latest modelling data, the efforts of Ontarians in following public health measures and advice are working to decrease the number of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations across the province. However, with COVID-19 variants of concern continuing to spread, the actions of everyone over the coming weeks will be critical to maintaining the progress communities have made across the province to date.

"While all regions have returned to the Framework, everyone must remain vigilant to help prevent any further increases in transmission," said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. "The best defense against the virus and all of its variants of concern remains continuing to stay at home, avoiding social gatherings, only travelling outside of your community for essential purposes, and limiting close contacts to your household or those you live with."

The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to consult with public health and other experts, review data, and provide advice to the government on the appropriate and effective measures that are needed to protect the health of Ontarians. 

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Ontario is aiming to offer first COVID-19 vaccine doses to all eligible residents by June 20, the province said Friday as it laid out more specific plans for the next priority groups in the rollout.

Ontario is aiming to offer first COVID-19 vaccine doses to all eligible residents by June 20, the province said Friday as it laid out more specific plans for the next priority groups in the rollout.

Officials, who made the announcement after Health Canada approved a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, said the rollout could move faster based on supply.

"We've had a seismic shift in our vaccination opportunities and the program to roll it out," said retired general Rick Hillier, the head of the province’s vaccine task force.

He said the recent approval of two more vaccines, expected increases in supply and the extension of the interval between first and second doses will allow the province to "crush those timelines really tightly."

"... our aim would be to allow the province of Ontario to have a first needle in the arm of every eligible person who wants it by the first day of summer," Hillier said. "Please be patient a little while longer."

The province says 113 mass vaccination clinics will start operating this month, with maximum capacity of four million doses per day across public health units, though officials administration will vary based on supply and local considerations.

Read the fully story.

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Ontario releases new detailed list of those eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2

The Ontario government has released a detailed list of people who will be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2 of the province’s distribution plan, which officials say focuses on age and at-risk groups.

Speaking to reporters on background Friday, officials said the province is still on track to begin Phase 2 of the vaccination plan in April.

About 9 million Ontario residents are expected to receive their first dose of a vaccine in this phase, which is expected to be complete by at least July.

Under Phase 2, the government will begin mass immunization of adults between the ages of 60 and 79 (in declining five-year increments), people in high-risk congregate settings, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, people who cannot work from home and at-risk populations.

The list of individuals eligible for the vaccine in Phase 2 has expanded since it was first released in mid-January to encompass more at-risk groups and to take COVID-19 hot spots into account. Officials say they hope the adjustments will prevent deaths, hospitalizations and admissions to the intensive care units.

Read the fully story.

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Lineups in the cold and other snags for seniors over 80 put a spotlight on how to make COVID vaccines more accessible 

For Ontario seniors, the good news is that those 80 and up are starting to be vaccinated, but long lineups in cold temperatures are proving the rollout isn’t exactly smooth.

Ahead of the launch of the provincial booking system, set for March 15, it’s become clear accessibility has been a problem in some regions.

Seniors had a hard time navigating the online registration and then faced long lineups, including at a site in Richmond Hill in York Region.

York Region opted to adapt an existing online booking system at hospital clinics for vaccinations to optimize existing supplies. (Some Toronto-area health networks are also running pilot programs.) This is a head start before the province opens its own booking portal, as vaccine supply ramps up.

“It was just absolute mayhem and I don’t know why because (the region has) had months to prepare for this,” said Shanta Sundarason, the founder of PinkCars, a non-profit initiative in York Region, which gives free car rides to seniors 80 and up to their COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Sundarason was referring to the region’s system of online applications as well as lineups.

Read the full story.

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Hoping for a silver lining in their golden years  

“What I miss most are the hugs,” says Diana, who has three daughters, two of whom live in Toronto, that she sees from a distance. “Not being able to hug or touch our daughters in any way is hard.”

But that reality might not be far off. With Ontario’s recent decision to prioritize age as part of the current phase of the vaccine rollout and some health units already putting needles in arms of those 80 and up, seniors are beginning to dream of life returning to some sort of normalcy.

They’re hoping vaccinations will provide a silver lining for their golden years — a return to card games, socializing, travel and hugs.

Just the thought of doing something she used to take for granted, like eating in a restaurant, “sounds like heaven,” says Diana.

Travel companies and social organizations that cater to older adults are also beginning to consider that reality — that seniors will be the first vaccinated cohort able to take those tentative steps.

But even as vaccines roll out in the community — Ontario is starting with people 80 and up and then in decreasing five-year increments until 60-year-olds get their shots in July — life will not go back to normal until everyone is vaccinated, says Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease doctor at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.

Read the full story.

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Canada

Government of Canada Announcements

Health Canada authorizes Janssen COVID-19 vaccine  

Today, Health Canada authorized the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Janssen Inc.

Health Canada received an application from Janssen Inc. for authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine on November 30, 2020. After a thorough, independent review of the evidence, the Department has determined that the vaccine meets Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements.

The Janssen vaccine is the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized in Canada, and can be stored and transported at refrigerated temperatures (from 2˚ to 8˚C) for at least three months, facilitating distribution across the country. The vaccine is authorized for use in people over 18 years of age, and is a viral vector-based COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine was authorized with terms and conditions under Health Canada’s Interim Order Respecting the Importation, Sale and Advertising of Drugs for Use in Relation to COVID-19. This process allowed Health Canada to assess information submitted by the manufacturer as it became available during the product development process, while maintaining Canada’s high standards.

The terms and conditions of the Janssen vaccine authorization require the manufacturer to continue providing information to Health Canada on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine to ensure the benefits of the vaccine continue to be demonstrated through market use.

The Department is committed to openness and transparency. As such, Health Canada is publishing a number of documents related to this decision, including a high-level summary of the evidence that we reviewed to support the authorization of the vaccine. More detailed information will be made available in the coming weeks, including a detailed scientific summary and the full clinical trial data package.

Health Canada will continue to monitor the safety of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine once it is in use, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the provinces and territories and the manufacturer. The Department will monitor for any adverse events that may develop after immunization, and will take appropriate action, if required, to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

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Government of Canada helps over 30,000 research staff through ongoing COVID-19 crisis  

During times of crisis and socio-economic disruption, researchers provide key knowledge that can pave the way for a more promising future for Canadians. Their research can offer clear and diverse insights to help Canada navigate complex social, economic, public health and political challenges.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced that the Government of Canada has provided wage support for up to 32,000 research staff whose salaries were adversely affected by COVID-19, and who were not eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. In addition, the government provided help to about 22,000 research projects to cover unanticipated maintenance and ramp-up costs that would not normally have been incurred if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, and could not be funded by existing sources of funds. This support was essential to safeguard the historic investments made by the federal government in fundamental research and research personnel since 2016.

This $415 million investment was provided through the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF), announced by the Prime Minister last May. It was distributed to 65 universities and 61 affiliated health research institutions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

All institutions funded through the CRCEF complied with the program’s equity, diversity and inclusion requirements and took active measures to ensure barrier-free access to funding. 

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Pfizer moves up delivery, Canada to have 8M doses by end of March

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that Pfizer-BioNTech has agreed to move up a portion of its vaccines scheduled for the summer, with an additional 1.5 million doses arriving in March.

This means Canada will have access to a total of eight million vaccine doses from Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca by the end of the first quarter, up from an original commitment of six million doses.

"With the newly confirmed delivery of an additional 1.5 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses arriving this month, as well as the 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine that arrived this week from the Serum Institute, Canada is set to receive eight million doses of vaccines by the end of this quarter," said Procurement Minister Anita Anand, at a press conference on Friday.

Pfizer is also accelerating shipments for April and May by one million additional doses each month. By the end of the second quarter, Canada is on track to receive 36.5 million doses and by the end of the third quarter, 117.9 million, which will include the now-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Read the full story

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Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine becomes 4th to receive Health Canada approval

Health Canada has approved the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine in Canada.

The regulator concluded the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 66.9 per cent and has authorized it for use for adults aged 18 and older.

Health officials announced the approval at a media briefing this morning in Ottawa.

The vaccine, developed by the U.S. health-care giant's pharmaceutical subsidiary, Janssen Inc., is the fourth to be approved in Canada.

"As with all COVID-19 vaccines, Health Canada authorized the Janssen one after an independent and thorough scientific review for safety, efficacy and quality," said Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser.

"After assessing all the data, we concluded there was strong evidence that showed the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the potential risks."

The approval is expected to significantly boost Canada's vaccine rollout. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is widely seen as one of the easiest to administer because it requires only one dose and can be stored for long periods of time at regular refrigerator temperatures of 2 C to 8 C.

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Vaccine scramble begins

Shipments are ramping up, more COVID-19 vaccines are getting approved, and expert advice to stretch the gap between doses means millions of Canadians could get the protection of a first dose sooner than expected.

Taken together, those changes represent a significant shift from the delays and consternation that marked Canada’s national vaccine campaign in recent weeks.

But they have also left Ontario scrambling to keep up with the pace.

Facing criticism over failing to prepare for the long-foreseen surge of doses that Ottawa ordered from overseas, Premier Doug Ford’s government is now set to table an updated vaccination schedule on Friday.

The plan comes after a week that saw existing timelines — which were widely criticized as too vague and too slow — suddenly in flux.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said Thursday that Ontario residents should expect to get first shots sooner than initially forecast, after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization gave the green light to delay second doses for up to four months, and recommended that the recently approved AstraZeneva vaccine be used only for people under age 65.

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More than 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases are caused by community exposures: StatCan

In a dataset released Thursday morning, Statistics Canada reported that 84 per cent of COVID-19 cases across the country are caused by community exposures.

The dataset covers preliminary information on COVID-19 cases across Canada between Jan. 15, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021. Of the 839,926 cases recorded, 704,329 cases were transmitted by community exposures.

Jean-Paul Soucy, infectious disease epidemiologist and PhD student at the University of Toronto, says that community exposure numbers may be much higher now due to different testing patterns that were implemented between the start of the pandemic and now.

“Early on, we were primarily testing travellers and kind of denying that there was a transmission, but that was quickly corrected,” Soucy told CTVNews.ca. “Early on, you see that there’s also a very small number of cases that are identified as asymptomatic, and then that proportion grows over time.” 

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Teachers in 3 provinces recruited for COVID-19 immunity research

The debate over the safety of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic is coming under researchers' microscopes.

Three new projects are aiming determine how many teachers and school staff in Canada have had COVID-19, to help inform prevention strategies in neighbourhoods, schools and daycares.

About $2.9 million will be spent on the research in British ColumbiaOntario, and Quebec as part of the work of the national COVID-19 immunity task force (CITF).

All three projects will ask teachers for blood samples to determine how many have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, which would indicate a previous COVID-19 infection.

In Ontario, researchers are hoping for 7,000 teachers and education workers to enrol, while in B.C. the study will focus on the Vancouver School District.

In Quebec, the work will build on an existing study looking at the spread of the novel coronavirus in children in four Montreal neighbourhoods.

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International news

Fauci: US shouldn't loosen coronavirus restrictions until daily new cases fall below 10,000

The US shouldn't ease restrictions in place to prevent Covid-19 before the number of new coronavirus cases falls below 10,000 daily, "and maybe even considerably less than that," Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.

The US should pull restrictions gradually, after a substantial portion of Americans are vaccinated, Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper.

The last time the US saw fewer than 10,000 new daily cases was almost a year ago, on March 22, 2020. The number hasn't fallen below 50,000 daily cases since mid-October, and the seven-day average on Wednesday was more than 64,000.
"We will be pulling back," said Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser. "We're now up to about 2 million vaccinations per day. That means every day that goes by, every week that goes by, you have more and more people protected."

Fauci's comments come as some states begin to pull back restrictions, including doing away with mask mandates, allowing businesses to fully open and increasing the number of people allowed at mass gatherings.

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California to set aside 40% of COVID-19 vaccine doses for hardest-hit communities

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday the state would set aside 40% of its COVID-19 vaccine doses for the hardest-hit communities and establish a “vaccine equity metric,” to make sure that inoculations are conducted fairly.

Newsom, a first-term Democrat facing a recall effort amid criticism of his strict lockdown measures, said the move was necessary because lower-income households were suffering coronavirus infections at double those of families making $120,000 or more.

Newsom said California’s wealthiest populations were also being vaccinated at nearly twice the rate of those at the bottom of the income scale.

“Vaccinating our most impacted communities, across our state, is the right thing to do and the fastest way to end this pandemic,” Newsom said in announcing the plan

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COVID-19 vaccine confidence grows as side effect worries fade

Confidence in COVID-19 vaccines is growing, with people’s willingness to have the shots increasing as they are rolled out across the world and concerns about possible side effects are fading, a 14-country survey showed on Friday.

Co-led by Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) and the polling firm YouGov, the survey found trust in COVID-19 vaccines had risen in nine out of 14 countries covered, including France, Japan and Singapore which had previously had low levels of confidence.

The latest update of the survey, which ran from Feb 8. to Feb. 21, found that people in the UK are the most willing, with 77% saying they would take a vaccine designed to protect against COVID-19 if one was available that week.

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In other COVID news

How approval of Johnson & Johnson's 'one and done' COVID-19 vaccine could change Canada's vaccination game

A one-dose COVID-19 vaccine is now approved for use in Canada — and vaccine experts say the shot from Johnson & Johnson could give a major boost to countrywide vaccination efforts while offering a "real solution" to hasten the end of the pandemic.

Health Canada authorized its use and released details during a Friday morning announcement.

The vaccine, made by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is a non-replicating viral vector option and, unlike the three other vaccines previously approved for Canadian use, was tested during clinical trials as a single shot. 

So far, Canada is expecting 10 million doses, with options to purchase up to 28 million more if necessary, with most of those shots set to arrive by the end of September.

From a logistical standpoint, Toronto-based infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said the benefits are clear.

"You can vaccinate more people in a shorter period of time," he said. "You don't have to clog up the vaccine centres with people getting their second dose — it's one and done."

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What the pandemic teaches us about the need for parental leave

My infant daughter had been in day-care for just six weeks when the coronavirus pandemic shut everything down last March. My partner and I, both fortunate enough to be able to work from home, pulled her out of day-care. I was able to observe my baby’s first-year milestones only because of the pandemic — time that parents in many other countries get without the intervention of a devastating virus.

I had been at my job for 10 months when my daughter was born, not enough time to qualify for maternity leave. I took six weeks off, paid by the state at a fraction of my salary. Of that amount, which was not enough to cover the rent for our two-bedroom apartment, I wrote a check to my employer to cover my insurance premium. “You’re lucky you still have a job,” someone told me when I complained about the lack of parental leave. “Legally they don’t need to hold it for you.”

I could not afford to take more time than that, but I was privileged in many ways. The end of my leave coincided with winter break at the university where I teach, so I ended up with closer to three months at home. My husband had two months of paid family leave, and we were not living month-to-month.

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A College President Worried About the Risks of Dorm Isolation. So He Moved In.

Derek Furtado, a sophomore at Norwich University, had just stepped out of the shower in his dormitory and was shaving, a towel wrapped around his waist, when he looked to his left and saw the figure of a man in military uniform.

“That was when my heart sunk,” recalled Mr. Furtado, a cadet who plans to commission into the Coast Guard. He pulled himself together, stood at attention and said, “Good morning, sir!” The circumstances were not ideal. “He has two stars on his chest,” Mr. Furtado said. “I’m in a towel.”

But he would have to get used to it, because it turned out that Col. Mark C. Anarumo, the university’s president, was his new hallmate.

Dr. Anarumo, a recent arrival to this private military college, had decided that the best way to support students forced to quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic was to move into their dormitory.

 

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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 new 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 2.30 p.m.
Thursday 2 to 7 p.m.

This is an increase of two hours per week and will continue until at least the end of February 

Upcoming events



 
 
What do you think about home energy upgrades?
 
The Halton Environmental Network (HEN) has identified that changes in our homes can help us play our part to combat climate change.
We’d like to know more about what you’ve done, or might do, in your home to support local climate action. 
Take HEN's three-minute survey now!
Share the survey with your family, friends, and colleagues!
United Way Women United campaign runs through March

In honour of International Women’s Day, United Way Halton & Hamilton is hosting a month full of events. Visit https://www.uwhh.ca/womenunited/
 
Have your say on new $5 bill

Sign the petition to have Terry Fox as the finalist for the next great Canadian to be honoured and featured on the back of the newly proposed $5 bank note.

Help save Glen Abbey

https://www.saveglenabbey.ca/help/

The Town of Oakville faces a number of issues. Learn about some of the hottest topics and how they might affect you.

Glen Abbey
Downtown
Amazon
Milton Hub
Lakeshore Erosion
Regional Official Plan Review
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