For Municipal Partners

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Online Bulletin for Municipal Partners

June 1, 2020

To ensure everyone has current information during this quickly evolving outbreak, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health will be providing regular COVID-19 updates over the next several weeks.

For more information please review our website or call 613-966-5500.

Updates

Epidemiological

  • Hastings and Prince Edward Counties have 43 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 182 probable cases, with 32 lab-confirmed cases having recovered and 5 deceased.
    • Approximately 7,435 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, with a 0.6% positivity rate.
    • Facilities experiencing COVID-19 outbreak can be found online.
    • More details are available on our website hpePublicHealth.ca.
  • In Canada, there are 91,340 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 resulting in 7,305 deaths. To date, over 1,691,373 individuals have been tested.
Summary of cases of COVID-19: Ontario, January 15, 2020 to May 31, 2020
  Number     Percentage
Number of cases 28,263 N/A
Change from previous report (new cases) 404 1.5 increase
Resolved 22,153 78.4
Subset of all cases that are reported to be long-term care residents 5,097 18.0
Subset of all cases that are reported as a health care worker associated with long-term care outbreaks 1,814 6.4
Total number of deaths 2,276 8.1
Deaths reported for residents in long-term care homes 1,445 63.5
Deaths reported for health care workers in long-term care homes 6 0.3
  Number      Percentage
Total tests completed 732,720 N/A
Total tests completed in the previous day     14,379 N/A
Currently under investigation 6,427 N/A

 

Federal

Long-Term Care

  • In speaking about the disturbing conditions in long-term care homes, Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized that the federal government will be there to support provinces in ensuring that elders receive the care they need.
  • In the short term, the Canadian Armed Forces are assisting with the emergent situation; however, the federal government will be offering support to provinces and other jurisdictions to help them regain control over the situation in long-term care where needed.
  • The federal government recognizes that long-term care and care for seniors is a matter of provincial jurisdiction; however, the federal government is looking to offer support for the medium and long-term solutions that are needed. While there are no details about what that support could look like, this would not be a one-size-fits all approach.
  • When asked what supports would look like in provinces that saw large funding cuts to long-term care prior to the pandemic, the Prime Minister noted that right now the priority is to support provinces in regaining control over the situation.

Data Sharing

  • The federal government is working on a data sharing platform, recognizing the importance of being able to identify and isolate cases and to coordinate information and data sharing activities across the country.
  • A COVID-19 Immunity Task Force will be coordinating blood test surveys across Canada.

Employment

  • The federal government is working to ensure that employees throughout the country have access to 10 paid sick leave days per year.
  • When asked about the uptake of wage subsidy programs, which is lower than expected compared to the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit program, the Prime Minister noted that this may be a reflection of the extent to which the pandemic has impacted job losses. The wage subsidy program has been extended throughout the summer and the federal government is encouraging employers to rehire employees to get the country's economy going again.

Funding for Indigenous Communities

  • Friday, Indigenous Services Minister Miller shared that 176 of 214 individuals in First Nations communities on reserve have now recovered from COVID-19, and 16 individuals who tested positive in Nunavik have now fully recovered.
  • A new funding investment of $650 million was announced today to support Indigenous communities in three key areas:
  1. Healthcare: over $285 million for public health in First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities to help equip them to handle a COVID-19 outbreak. This funding is dedicated to help on-reserve communities hire more nurses, procure specialized supplies, and support work with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities on continuing community driven responses.
  2. Income: part of the $650 million investment is to help boost on-reserve income assistance programs. A portion will help Indigenous communities continue to provide services around skills training and support for people as they navigate federal benefits.
  3. Shelters: In addition to the $10 million already announced in April for emergency shelters for Indigenous women and children, another $85 million was announced for the creation of new shelters for Indigenous women to be built across the country, including in the north.

Cruise Ships, Airlines and International Borders

  • Large cruise ships will not be allowed in Canadian waters until at least October 31 of this year to protect Canadian coastal communities.
  • The federal government is continuing to listen to Canadians and work with the airline industry to arrive at a fair solution around the reimbursement for airline tickets - this requires balancing what is fair for Canadians while also ensuring that Canada will still be able to look forward to having an airline industry in the future.
  • The Canada-US border will remain closed until the end of June under the current order; however, the federal government is looking into ways that an exception may be made in cases where close family members have been separated by border closures.

Funding to Promote Holiday Travel in Canada

  • Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly announced on May 31 that $30 million originally targeted for attracting foreign visitors to Canada will be used instead to help provinces and territories encourage Canadians to discover their "own backyard."
  • Some $40 million is also being allocated to support tourism agencies in southern and northern Ontario as well as western Canada adapt their operations to the pandemic.
  • Tourism industry leaders are looking to government to clarify rules and regulations around travel ahead of the summer season.

World No Tobacco Day

  • In her written statements over the weekend, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Tam covered the following:
    • Expressed her concern about people delaying health visits (e.g. for acute health issues, chronic disease management) and stressed the importance getting attention for one's health concerns. She reminded Canadians that health care institutions have put protective measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide continuity of care through virtual medical appointments and other means.
    • Drew attention to May 31 being World No Tobacco Day reminding us of the importance of lung health, that smoking tobacco is known risk factor for many respiratory infections and is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease; preliminary scientific evidence suggests a history of smoking may substantially increase the chance of adverse health outcomes for COVID-19 patients.

Provincial

Ontario Opens Up COVID-19 Testing Across the Province

Friday, Premier Ford and Health Minister Elliott announced the next phase of the province's COVID-19 testing plan with the Premier stressing "we want to know how the virus is spreading... the more data we have, the better we understand what's happening on the ground." This new phase includes the following three branches of testing:

  1. Assessment Centre Testing will now be expanded to include testing of asymptomatic individuals concerned about exposure (e.g. individuals who have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case), those at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through employment (e.g. health care workers) and the continuation of symptomatic testing.
  2. Targeted Campaigns will detect and contain cases by expanding asymptomatic surveillance for vulnerable populations, such as long-term care homes and other shared living spaces like shelters and group homes. Target testing of workplaces in priority sectors where it may be difficult to physically distance and communities that may be at a higher risk will also occur.
  3. Outbreak Management will include responding to outbreaks in specific areas by deploying mobile testing units to contain any spread and ensure a rapid and agile response.

Regional Reopening of Ontario

  • In Friday's daily briefing, Premier Ford said he's considering a regional, phased approach to reopening the province and that "everything is on the table". Although, Ford has previously resisted this approach, he is asking the COVID-19 Command Table to further explore this possibility.
  • When questioned by the media about this change, the Premier stated that "now that our testing is getting to where we need it, I am now comfortable with asking our officials to look at a regional approach for a staged reopening."
  • Ford cautioned that an ultimate decision on a regional reopening approach will be determined by the province's public health officials.
  • Dr. Williams indicated that a regional approach presents challenges with how to safely define various regions to decision-makers and in public messaging. He indicated that there still needs to be considerations taken to protect vulnerable remote populations, such as First Nations communities in Northern Ontario and stated "it's not just some numbers at some time, it's the wider picture we have to consider."
  • In terms of when the province will enter stage two of reopening, Health Minister Elliott indicated that the province has only started seeing cases from stage one and "it will be thoroughly examined" before deciding to go to stage two. In response to the media, Minister Elliott further clarified that the regionalization is a separate issue and the timing of the three stages will be based on "the number of new cases, hospital capacity and contact tracing."

Support for Small Business Tenants and Landlords Now Available

  • The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, has launched the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA). All commercial landlords in Ontario can now apply for rental assistance to help their small business tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the CECRA.
  • This aid was developed to share the cost of rent between small business tenants, landlords and the Governments of Ontario and Canada. The CECRA for small businesses will be available until August 31, 2020 and support will be retroactive to April 1, covering April, May and June.

Protecting Seniors in Retirement Homes and Other Regulatory Changes

  • On May 30, the Ontario government amended the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 regulation, to enable the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) to increase the emergency payment they can provide to eligible retirement home residents from $2,000 to $3,500 and to require retirement homes to report infectious disease outbreaks to the RHRA during COVID-19 and beyond. This emergency funding can be used by residents to cover their transportation, alternative accommodation or temporary care.
  • Drive-in movie theatres were permitted to reopen along with batting cages effective May 31. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in religious services can now allow the use of washrooms provided health and safety requirements are followed.

Backcountry Camping at Ontario Parks and on Crown Lands

  • Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Yurek announced this past Saturday that, starting June 1, Ontarians can go backcountry camping at some 20 Ontario parks, including using access points, paddle and portage routes and hiking trails and camp on Crown land. Ontario Parks will also be expanding day-use activities to include picnicking and off-leash pet areas.
  • All other overnight camping and some day-use activities at provincial parks and conservation reserves remain closed until June 14. All buildings and facilities including campgrounds, roofed accommodations, visitor centers, park stores, playgrounds, and beaches remain closed. Some washroom facilities may be available.
  • No more than five people will be allowed to occupy a backcountry campsite unless they live in the same household and advanced reservations or registrations will be required.

Electricity Relief

  • On May 30, Energy, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rickford announced the extension of the earlier suspension time-of-use price of electricity to provide consumers with greater stability and predictability with their electricity bills.
  • The provincial government is introducing a fixed electricity price, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, of 12.8 cents per kWh, which will be automatically applied to all time-of-use customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This fixed electricity price will be in place from June 1 - October 31, 2020 and will mean that electricity costs will increase nearly three cents per kilowatt hour.
  • Regulatory changes were also made to extend an emergency order to provide electricity bill relief for industrial and commercial consumers through to the end of June 2020. 

Local

  • Mood Disorders of Ontario is offering a Mindfulness Recovery Program for Health Care Workers. This two-session virtual recovery program is for health care workers who are interested in receiving psycho-education and tools to manage stress and mental health during the COVID-19 crisis. Monday, June 22, 1:30 to 3:30 pm and Monday, June 29, 1:30 to 3:30 pm.
    • Topics to be discussed include: The Window of Tolerance, Mindfulness and the Brain, Managing Emotions, Self-Care.
    • For more information, please contact Jeremy Macek at jeremym@mooddisorders.ca.
  • Prince Edward County issued a release Friday reminding residents to safely enjoy nature in area parks. Sandbanks and Wellington beach are operating on a limited basis, with only recreational activities like walking, hiking, and biking permitted. Large gatherings on the beach and other areas of Sandbanks park, as well as camping, are prohibited at this time.
  • The City of Belleville is asking residents to have patience when it comes to the maintenance of City green spaces. The city's Parks and Open Spaces team have prioritized activities based on safety and financial responsibility. Some projects may not be done as promptly as in the past, but employees are busy, addressing all areas as quickly as they can.
  • The Belleville Public Library will begin accepting the return of borrowed items during scheduled hours starting this Wednesday, June 3.
  • The Town of Bancroft issued a release on Friday that details which public spaces are now open, with infection control practices in place, along with those that remained closed at this time. More details are available in the release.
  • The Town of Bancroft encourages all local businesses that have started to reopen to add their business to the Hastings County interactive map. Just answer a few quick questions regarding your business and get yourself on the map today.
  • In Belleville, the 2020 boating season has officially begun. Meyers Pier and Victoria Park Harbours opened to seasonal boaters on Sunday at 9:00 am. Seasonal boaters will notice a number of changes due to COVID-19 restrictions. There are modified services in place with emphasis on maintaining 6 feet physical distancing, frequent handwashing/hand sanitization and enhanced cleaning and disinfection. Boaters are asked to delay their visit if they feel unwell.Transient slips are not  available at this time. The Harbour Office is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am. to 5 pm. For information, call 613-967-1906.

  • The Trenton Military Family Resource Centre has shared their list of virtual progamming with a great line up of a variety of unique activities and groups.

Public Health

  • HPEPH issued a release on Friday in recognition of May 31, World No Tobacco Day, a day intended to highlight the major health risks associated with tobacco use and to advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. Tobacco products kill more than 8 million people every year and are responsible for 25% of cancer related deaths worldwide. By recognizing and resisting the tobacco industry‚Äôs attempts to encourage purchase and addiction, youth can take an important step to improve the quality of their health and life.

We want to ensure this bulletin is as useful as possible. Please send your questions, comments and suggestions to klarose@hpeph.ca

Contact Information: 

To give us your comments: klarose@hpeph.ca

You have received this email at kkhani@hpeph.ca from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health as a result of a request you have made or due to a service/subscription that you are registered for. While you may discontinue your subscription to this mailing at any time by pressing the unsubscribe button below, this bulletin will be used to provide important updates about COVID-19 in our community.