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March 31st Office of the Mayor and Council Updates:

Updates on COVID-19 emergency
With the state of emergency in the province extended for two more weeks and the announcement of public school closures until May, now is the time to follow Dr. Theresa Tam’s advice to “double down” on physical distancing.
In a correction to messaging sent yesterday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer says now is not the time to relax physical distancing and self-isolation measures.
These measures must be practiced whenever we leave our houses, but are told we should only do so for essential reasons, including:
  • For medical appointments
  • Grocery shopping
  • Picking up medications
  • Walking pets
  • Helping the vulnerable
Walking while avoiding crowds and maintaining social distancing is allowed, but please be respectful of others while you’re out.
It is also strongly recommended that anyone with a compromised immune system, underlying medical conditions or over age 70 begin self-isolating now and stay home to avoid increased risk of COVID-19.
The life you save may be your own – or someone you love or need. Go home and stay there so you don’t spread the virus. You can have the virus and not show it or know it.
Your Town Staff, Council and I are committed to ensuring we provide every support necessary to our community, our staff, and our regional public health officials during this very challenging time
As always, ask for help if you need it. Email me at mayor@oakville.ca – I will guide you to help.
Items in this update:
  • Publicly funded schools closed until May
  • Vital equipment expected to arrive this week
  • Increase in Halton CIVID-19 cases explained
  • MP Pam Damoff to host Tele-Town Hall
  • Outdoor recreational facilities still closed
  • Ontario increasing health and safety measures to protect frontline nurses
  • Grocery delivery services available
  • What having COVID-19 looks and feels like for patients
  • Opinion: U.S. not winning the fight
  • Safe walking tip
Publicly funded schools closed until May
Today, Premier Doug Ford said the next two weeks are critical.
As such, the provincial government has extended the order to close schools until at least May 1 for teachers and May 4 for students. Private schools and child care centres are also closed for two more weeks. The government is prepared to extend these closures further if they have to.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce discussed plans to introduce phase two of the Province’s Learn at Home programming that will keep students and staff safe while continuing to learn. This second phase will restore the teacher-student relationship, enhance student support and offer support for parents.
Minister Lecce recognizes the difficulty of this task and that it’s not ideal, but noted that students on track to graduation will be prioritized and students of all grade levels will be graded on the work, based on student access to technology to complete the work.
The Minister also noted that mental health services would be made available to students during this time.
Meanwhile, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Ross Romano confirmed a six-month suspension on student loan payments and that there will be no barriers to accessing postsecondary education.
Vital equipment expected to arrive this week
Canada’s COVID-19 supplies procurement proceeds on the basis of PHAC requests, Minister of Procurement and Government Services, Oakville MP Anita Anand, advised us today.
“In terms of health workers, we are working closely with provincial and territorial government, which are in turn working closely with healthcare providers to assess needs and identify priority items. Requirements are evolving rapidly, and governments at all levels are working around the clock to coordinate in real time.
“In order to avoid potential delays in meeting requirements, my Ministry has started proactively buying above and beyond the provincial requests. I am also setting up an FPT ministerial procurement table to better streamline and coordinate procurement.”
Such purchases include a contract with Medicom of Pointe Clair, Quebec of more than 157 million surgical masks. An order of more than 60 million N95 masks has also been made with delivery set for this week.
Minister Anand also noted that Public Services and Procurement Canada is working with Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience, which will provide COVID-19 rapid test kits.
“The made-in-Canada kits will enable the testing of many more Canadians over an above the millions of tests already ordered.”
A significant order of ventilators has been made through Toronto’s Thornhill Medical as part of the 1,570 ventilators ordered from companies in Canada, Europe, the United State and overseas. Minister Anand says Canada is “working to secure upwards of 4,000 additional ventilators and very possibly more.”
“Many of our shipments are coming in now. We are helping PHAC transmit supplies to the provinces that are urgently reporting shortages,” advised Minister Anand, who admitted “there’s still much work to be done, and we are working day and night on it.”
In addition to thanking Canada’s essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister Anand also thanked and Home Depot for generous donations of personal protective equipment.