*Edited update from Caroline Mulroney, these update in proper format can be found on her website:
During this difficult time, the Premier of Ontario and the provincial government have promised to be upfront, open and transparent about what we are doing as a government and what we all need to do as a province.
As the Premier said in his press conference today, if there is a surge of people coming into Ontario hospitals in the coming weeks, our supply lines will face challenges that we have not seen up to this point in the crisis. “Every hour, every day and every week that we can push back that surge,” he said, “is another week, another day, another hour we have to prepare.”
Currently, there are 12 cases of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in York-Simcoe. These are not just numbers in the news from a faraway place. These are 12 people in our community – our neighbours in Bradford West Gwillimbury, East Gwillimbury and Georgina – and the growing number of cases here speaks to the severity of this outbreak.
We cannot be successful in our efforts to contain and stop the spread of COVID-19 without your full support. It is unfortunate that we are still receiving accounts from our frontline and essential services personnel that residents of York-Simcoe continue to gather in groups and ignore municipal and provincial orders mandating the closure of public spaces. This behaviour is dangerous. Not only does this behaviour put those present at risk, but it also jeopardizes the people they come in contact with. Further to that, it endangers the first responders who must then respond and address this unlawful behaviour.
On the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Government of Ontario has issued the following directives:
· Stay home unless your work has been designated essential.
· Stay home if you are over 70 years of age.
· If you have travelled outside the county, self-isolate for 14 days.
· If you have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing, self-isolate and call your doctor or Telehealth Ontario (1-800-797-0000).
In these unprecedented times, we must take unprecedented measures. We know you are putting your life on hold, and we know it is not easy. But by doing so, you are saving lives – the lives of people in our community, the workers who are serving on the front lines of this health care crisis, and those who continue to work to maintain the essential functions of our economy. The actions you take today will determine what happens tomorrow.
Please continue to stay safe and be responsible.
Caroline Mulroney, MPP
Supporting Workers Health and Safety
Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer has been working with the business and labour sector to provide advice and resources regarding COVID-19. Now more than ever, it is incumbent that all employers do everything they can to make their workplaces safe.
I have heard many great stories of companies in York-Simcoe that are protecting their employees by implementing strategies to keep the workplace safe during the COVID-19 outbreak and I want to thank them for their leadership.
Employers have obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations to protect workers from hazards in the workplace, including infectious diseases. Through the new job-protected leave legislation, workers are encouraged to follow the advice of medical professionals and can do so without fear of losing their jobs.
Workers can report any concerns about workplace hazards related to COVID-19 to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development using Ontario’s health and safety hotline at 1-877-202-0008.
Here are tips for employers to keep the workplace safe during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Provide better on-site sanitation, including a focus on high-touch areas like site trailers, door handles and hoists.
Communicate roles, responsibilities and health & safety policies, by, for example, posting site sanitation schedules and work schedules.
Enable greater distance between workers by staggering shifts, restricting site numbers and limiting elevator usage.
Protect public health by tracking and monitoring workers.
Allow employees to work from home, if possible
Remind employees to stay home if they are sick
The health and safety of Ontarians is the government’s top priority. The government is taking every step to safeguard the well-being of workers. Since Monday, March 23rd, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has responded to 268 construction-related events reported, including 122 visits on-site. They have issued 67 orders. On Friday, March 27th, the Government shut down a GTA construction site for failing to uphold proper health and safety protocols.
To that end, everyone needs to do their part; the safety of our workers, their families and our communities depend on it. The Government fully expects construction contractors to protect their employees. In failing to do so, work at construction sites will cease.
Please visit here for the latest information relating to the Employment Standards Amendment
Protecting Ontarians from Price Gouging
The Government of Ontario has been clear – price gouging during the current COVID-19 pandemic is unacceptable, un-Canadian and it is ending.
Through an emergency order, the government is protecting Ontarians by holding businesses and individuals that engage in price gouging accountable. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve locally and globally, goods such as hand sanitizers and household cleaners are increasing in demand all over Ontario. Businesses that jack-up prices on these goods that Ontarians desperately need will be met with zero tolerance and harsh penalty.
Individual offenders can face a ticket of $750, or, if summoned to court and convicted, could face a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and one year in jail. If convicted, a company director or officer could face a fine of up to $500,000 and up to a year in jail, and a corporation could face a fine of up to $10 million.
Report price gouging here
Ontario Prohibits Gatherings of More Than Five People with Strict Exceptions
The government is taking action to keep Ontario safe.
Based on the best advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government issued a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately.
Organized public events include parades, events including weddings, social gatherings and communal services within places of worship. This order replaces a previous emergency order which prohibits organized public events of over 50 people.
This order would not apply to private households with five people or more. It would also not apply to operating child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders provided the number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people. Funerals would be permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.
Do your part, stay apart!
Ontario protecting Seniors During the COVID-19 outbreak
The Ontario government is working with businesses, volunteer organizations and non-profits to make it easier for Ontario’s seniors to self-isolate and practice physical distancing during this unprecedented time by ensuring they can receive the support they need to stay safe and healthy. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is strongly urging those over the age of 70 or those with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions to stay at home.
Our seniors have worked so hard to give us what we have today. Now is the time to give back to them by protecting them. To help seniors who are self-isolating, the government is investing $10M to deliver food and medicine, $20M in increased infection control in retirement and long-term care homes, and $243M to long-term care for 24/7 screening, additional staff and cleaning.
The government is also working with province-wide organizations including Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) and Older Adults Centres’ Association of Ontario (OACAO) to identify and mobilize potential volunteer supports and expand the use of innovative technologies in the community to address social isolation and support daily living assistance.
Ontario is building an iron ring around our seniors. I encourage everyone to reach out and support them, whether its delivering their prescriptions or picking up the phone and giving them a call.
I am so proud of the people and businesses who are hearing the call to action to help out our fellow Ontarians. Working together is the only way forward. This is the heart of the #OntarioSpirit.
As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, I want to recognize people and businesses making an effort to flatten the curve and help out our frontline healthcare workers.
If you know of a person or business in York-Simcoe that deserves to be recognized for their #OntarioSpirit, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ontario 211 is a free helpline that connects Ontarians to community and social services in York-Simcoe 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in over 150 languages.
If you need to find access to mental health support, food services, financial assistance or more, Dial 2-1-1 anytime, day or night. Their community navigators can help you find the supports you need.
For more information, visit Ontario 211’s website.
Online Self-Assessment Tool
Ontario has now launched an enhanced and interactive self-assessment tool. This new easy-to-use tool takes the public through a series of questions to inform those who are concerned they may have contracted COVID-19.
In a matter of seconds, this tool will help people determine if they are negative or it will provide them with guidance on where to seek care based on their needs. Critically, the enhanced tool provides the province with real-time data on the number and geography of users who are told to seek care, self-isolate or to monitor for symptoms. This data will help inform Ontario’s ongoing response in order to keep individuals and families safe.
The tool guides individuals through a series of questions and, based on their responses, users are provided clear direction on what action to take. These next steps could include directions such as; continue to practice social distancing; self-isolate; call a primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario; or in the case of symptoms such as severe difficulty breathing or severe chest pain, call 911 or go to the emergency department.
Local Assessment Centres
Simcoe – Muskoka
490 Huronia Road, Barrie. The assessment centre is located in the rear building of the Eagle Ridge complex and is NOT at the Huronia Urgent Care Clinic.
Southlake Regional Health Cente Centre
If you have been advised to visit an Assessment Centre, go to the main entrance of the Emergency Department at Southlake. You will be pre-screened by a nurse who will provide further instruction.
Status of cases in Ontario
The Status of Cases in Ontario web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information on the status of cases in Ontario, every day, seven days a week, at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET.