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Not 'business as usual' as some workplaces reopen – Timmins Press



Certain businesses set to reopen Monday after being shuttered for more than a month

Dr. Lianne Catton, medical officer of health for the Porcupine Health Unit, addresses reporters and members of the city and the health care community during a media conference in March. Elena De Luigi/The Daily Press

With certain workplaces set to reopen their doors Monday, the region’s top doctor says it is still not the time to “let our guard down.”

Dr. Lianne Catton, medical officer of health for the Porcupine Health Unit, said Sunday during the mayor’s daily health roundtable that although the health unit’s catchment area will begin to see some businesses return to work in the coming days, proper precautions must still be followed.

“We cannot emphasize enough that this does not mean a return to business as usual for any business or any communities,” she said. “We need to remain steadfast and stay the course. We need to continue to take the steps necessary to reduce the spread and reduce tragic outcomes.”

The province announced Friday that it would be allowing certain businesses and workplaces to reopen as long as they comply with public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those permitted to reopen include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects.

The Ford government also developed more than 60 guidelines to help employers prepare their workplaces to be reopened safely and ensure workers, customers and the general public are protected.

The following businesses will be permitted to begin operations Monday:

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only;
  • Lawn care and landscaping;
  • Additional essential construction projects that include:
    • Shipping and logistics;
    • Broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure;
    • Any project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services;
    • Municipal projects;
    • Colleges and universities;
    • Child care centres;
    • Schools; and
    • Site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development.
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes;
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only;
  • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public; and
  • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

“While this is promising news from both provincial and federal health officials regarding the slowing of numbers of cases of COVID-19, we still must be cautious. It is critical that we continue to stay the course and take the. steps to protect our loved ones, our communities and the general public,” Catton said.

Hospital spokeswoman Kaileigh Russell echoed the doctor’s comments, adding the easing of public health restrictions should not be rushed.

“Relaxing these important public health measures too early could lead to the undoing of all of the progress that we’ve achieved so far,” she said.

As of Sunday afternoon, the health unit had not reported any new cases of COVID-19 within the previous 72 hours.

The running total of positive cases still stands at 60 in the local health unit area with only 10 being considered “active.”

At that time, the PHU had completed 2,164 tests, of which 60 were positive, and 602 were still awaiting results. Of the 60 positive cases, 46 were resolved and four resulted in death.

When asked by reporters if seeing no new cases for the last number of days was a good sign and a step towards flattening the curve in the region, Catton said any day where the health unit does not announce a confirmed case of the virus or a COVID-19-related death is a positive sign.

However, she warned it was something to be cautious of.

“While it’s always positive news and I think it’s always a good sign that we’re heading in the right direction and we’re seeing people doing the important measures necessary to reduce the spread, we also need to recognize that we will still see more cases,” Catton said. “I think it’s some time away from predicting exactly what changes we may see with respect to our ability to visit with others at this point in time.

“Likewise, I think it will taker as little bit more time to determine exactly where we are on the curve. So, it is cautiously optimistic, but at the same time, I cannot caution enough that it doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. We have to absolutely stay the course.”

Mayor George Pirie said the upcoming week is an important one because many COVID-19 test results are expected to be known, which could be a turning point for the region and where it stands on its pandemic path.

“We’ll be awaiting them anxiously. However, I am very encouraged … that we will get there,” he said. “Remember that everybody out there now is the author of their own destiny – as they always have been – but as the economy opens these are the test dates. I’m positive we can do it.”

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Small percentage of Ottawa residents infected with COVID-19: Ottawa Public Health – CTV News Ottawa



Ottawa Public Health is reminding residents that COVID-19 is still circulating in our community, and everyone needs to do their part to help limit the spread of the virus.  

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brent Moloughney says Ottawa Public Health estimates approximately one per cent of Ottawa residents have been infected with novel coronavirus.

“Through everyone’s actions, we’ve been successful in reducing the number of infections that would have otherwise occurred,” said Dr. Moloughney.

“Overall, we estimate that only a small percentage of Ottawans have been infected with COVID so far, perhaps as low as one per cent but perhaps a bit higher.”

As of Thursday, Ottawa Public Health reported 1,985 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 248 deaths.

“Regardless of the specific number through, the key implication is that the vast majority of us remain susceptible to infection,” said Dr. Moloughney, noting the new cases reported daily show COVID-19 is still circulating in the community.

“In order to track cases within Ottawa and to limit transmission, please seek testing if you think you may be infected with the virus.”

The Ontario Government announced in May that asymptomatic residents of Ontario could present for COVID-19 testing.  Ottawa Public Health says residents can visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena and the two COVID-19 care clinics for testing.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches says the data from the expanded testing criteria has been “educational” as more people present for COVID-19 testing.

“What we’ve found was as the number of people tested grew, we didn’t find a lot more cases. That per cent positivity hasn’t grown,” said Dr. Etches.

“It’s telling us that population out there without symptoms, the general population, may not be where we’re going to find most of our cases.”

The medical officer of health says Ottawa Public Health and health officials in eastern Ontario will test all staff in long-term care homes twice in June.  That would be 8,000 COVID-19 tests this month.

“Our goal is to use all of the testing capacity we have,” said Dr. Etches, adding Ottawa Public Health will look to “test in a smart way”, including workplaces and congregate care settings.

Limit your contacts

With warm weather in the forecast for the weekend, Ottawa Public Health is reminding people to practice physical distancing and limit interactions with people outside your household.

“As more activities become possible, the new normal will be to consider how risky an activity is and how you can reduce the risk of transmission for yourself, your family and others,” said Dr. Moloughney.

“In general, outdoor activities are less risky than indoor ones. The more people that are involved and the closer the contact, the higher the risk.”

Ottawa Public Health has issued a graphic looking at “least safe options” and “safer options” for activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Coronavirus: Two new cases in Winnipeg Friday brings total to 300 –



This story will be updated as the press conference continues.

Two new cases of the novel coronavirus were announced Friday, both of them in Winnipeg.

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The latest cases include one man in his 20s, and another in his 30s, according to the province. One is a truck driver, and the other man was a close contact.

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As of Thursday an additional 671 laboratory tests for the virus were performed. The total number of tests performed since early February is now 47,372.

“Each Manitoban is going to have to decide the level of risk they’re going to take [going forward],” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial health officer.

But people who are sick should still stay home, he said.

Roussin added workplaces need to look at their policies and practices when it comes to staying home because they’re ill.

“We need to make it easy as possible … the alternative is people come to work sick.”

Lanette Siragusa reminded people that hospitals and health care centres will start allowing a designated visitor, but some may not start until Monday or later.

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Shared Health’s Chief Nursing Officer said people should call before they go.

Safety officers heading to Manitoba beaches amid COVID-19, no new cases reported Thursday

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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COVID-19 roundup: new case reported in Owen Sound Friday – Owen Sound Sun Times



This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like.

Photo supplied

One new case of COVID-19 was reported in the region Friday according to the Grey Bruce Health Unit’s daily situation report.

The most recent case was reported in Owen Sound, according to the health unit’s data.

Eighty-eight of the region’s 98 total cases have recovered. None of the active cases are currently hospitalized, and no deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 locally.

Twenty-four cases of the disease have been reported in healthcare workers. No local long-term care or retirement homes are currently under a declared COVID-19 outbreak.

* * *

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is recommending people use virtual forms of participation such as signing petitions, donating to groups, and learning more about racism and how to address it as anti-racism protests spread throughout the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Racism is a public health issue. Racism, in its many forms, profoundly impacts the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities,” said a Grey Bruce Health Unit news release. “We recognize that, at this time, people may want to gather to march and express themselves with respect to supporting efforts to end racism.”

The release did list several considerations for people who must participate in any local rallies including spreading out to maintain proper physical distancing, staying outside, wearing a face covering, and bringing hand sanitizer.

The health unit is asking older adults, the immunocompromised, and those living with vulnerable people who are more susceptible to serious complications should they contract COVID-19, to reconsider the need to be present in a large crowd.

“The Grey Bruce Health Unit has the responsibility to identify risk associated with any public health threat, including COVID-19. We remind people that gatherings increase the risk of transmission of disease,” the release said.

* * *

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is encouraging all municipalities to adopt bylaws restricting the use of beach and waterfront spaces after rescinding the beach closure order enacted on May 14.

However, municipalities in Grey-Bruce can now open beaches fully, allow only walk-through access, or maintain a full closure of the beach.

In a bulletin on their website the health unit recommends people check with their local municipality to confirm the status of the beach, waterfront, and river access points before planning to use them.

Even if some public waterfront spaces do reopen, amenities such as public washrooms, change rooms, and water refill stations may still be closed, a health unit media release explained. Therefore, the health unit is recommending beachgoers bring their own water jug with a spigot, soap and paper towels to wash their hands – or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Public health is recommending people wear a non-medical face mask or face covering in places where proper physical distancing measures cannot be controlled. They’re also recommending people bring reusable water bottles and individual containers for food to prevent sharing, and their own garbage bags.

Public health is asking residents to be patient with visitors and tourists who do not know the local guidance information and to politely inform them what is allowed at local beaches, and the proper guidelines to follow.

“We all want to have an enjoyable summer on our beautiful beaches in the safest and most sustainable way possible. We’re in this together,” the bulletin reads.

* * *

Community lab collections at South Bruce Grey Health Centre’s Chesley and Durham sites will resume on Monday.

Appointments will be required to ensure proper physical distancing for patient safety. Patients can begin booking appointments for June 15 and beyond by calling Patient Registration for Chesley (519-363-2340) or Durham (519-369-2340) between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

People are asked to have a health card and lab requisition ready when calling. A high volume of calls is expected and some waiting may be necessary, according to an SBGHC media release.

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