Covid-19 Updates

/Covid-19 Updates
Covid-19 Updates2020-04-01T13:55:16-04:00

Trillium Lakelands District School Board COVID-19 Updates will be issued and posted to tldsb.ca/covid19/ as required.

Covid-19 update – TLDSB – March 31

A Message from the Minister of Education to Ontario families:

Today the Government of Ontario announced an extension to the closure of schools due to COVID-19. All Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) schools will remain closed to staff until May 1, and to students until May 4. 

Please see the letter from the Minister of Education to families.

Questions and answers

If schools don’t reopen for the rest of the term, can we get all our stuff from our lockers?

There is no access to TLDSB schools or buildings at this time until we receive direction from public health to do otherwise.

Anyone know what’s happening with rebates for school trips or other school activities?

International trip rebates are facilitated through travel insurance companies. It is not possible at this time to process refunds for school based field trips and excursions. Please continue to monitor tldsb.ca and TLDSB social media accounts for updates.

Are there any French studies/materials available for students during the closure?

The Ministry of Education recently launched a number of online learning resources through the Learn at Home initiative. At this time these are the resources available. Please continue to monitor tldsb.ca and TLDSB social media accounts for updates.

What are the expectations for school work during this closure? 

There are currently no academic expectations of students during the closure between March 23 and April 3. Please be patient as we work with the Ministry of Education and Provincial/local union leadership on teaching and learning expectations.

Why do we not have access to the Virtual Learning Centre? 

This is temporary. There are no academic expectations for any TLDSB students from March 23 to April 5.  Please wait for further information on this. Please continue to monitor TLDSB.ca and TLDSB social media accounts for updates.

If the shut down goes longer and there’s no school until September, what’s going to happen to graduation and prom?

Graduations and proms typically take place in May and June. We will take direction from public health regarding public gatherings. Please continue to monitor tldsb.ca and TLDSB social media accounts for updates.

Is the board going to provide educational resources so that students can continue what is being taught in the classroom?

Currently the Ministry of Education has offered parents access to an online portal the Learn at Home initiative, so that, if desired, students can continue learning 

Students will not be disadvantaged by not continuing formal learning during this two week time period. During the current shutdown dates (March 23 to April 5), there are no plans in TLDSB to maintain regular classroom instruction.

The school board is reviewing contingency plans in case the school shutdown continues beyond April 5.

How does the school board intend to help marginalized students from lower socio economic backgrounds? Not all students have access to internet and home computers.

The school board is aware of the concern that adequate internet or equipment may not be available. We are working collaboratively with the Ministry of Education and school boards across the province to ensure future planning provides learning opportunities for all students. Please continue to monitor tldsb.ca and TLDSB social media accounts for updates.

Is the Ministry of Education Learn at Home online portal learning mandatory?

No. Use of the Learn at Home initiative is not mandatory. Students will not be disadvantaged by not continuing formal learning during this two week time period. Please continue to monitor tldsb.ca and TLDSB social media accounts for updates.

What will happen to co-op students where there are hour requirements for graduation?

The Ministry of Education has stated that no graduates will be disadvantaged by the current school shut down. We hope to have more information about graduation requirements to share with parents soon.

My child is very worried about the impact of COVID-19 in our community.  What can I do to help my child?

We understand that the news of the spread and impact of COVID-19 can have a negative impact on mental health. It is important to remember that children feed off the anxiety of the adults around them. Try to model healthy behaviours while speaking at your child’s level openly and honestly. Monitor the information children are seeing on social media and on the internet. 

Remind children that they are helping everyone by washing their hands often and staying away from public spaces. Focus on what areas of daily life that children can control which could include working together to build a daily schedule of meal routines, outdoor walks, and indoor activities. These activities could include reading, games, dancing, or other expressive art activities.

You can also remind your children that we live in a caring community and they can offer ideas on how to contribute. Examples might be writing a letter to a senior or sending a thank you note to a healthcare provider. Remind children that Canada has a great health care system and we are all well looked after, that they will be okay.

My child is graduating this year. Will the school closure affect my child’s graduation?

The current three week school closure until April 5, 2020 will not impact secondary school graduation. 

What is happening with the Primary (Grade 3) and Junior (Grade 6) EQAO assessments this year?  

All K-12 EQAO assessments have been cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year per direction from the Ministry of Education. 

What is happening with the Grade 9 Mathematics EQAO assessment in June?

All K-12 EQAO assessments have been cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year per direction from the Ministry of Education. 

My child forgot to bring something home from school.  Can I arrange to go to the school to get it?

No. Our schools are currently closed to staff, students and visitors.  

We have received confirmation that Scholastic orders placed before the shutdown will still be fulfilled. How do we pick up our orders if schools are still shut down?

Our schools are currently closed to staff, students, and visitors. Families will not be able to collect Scholastic orders until schools re-open.

Will anyone be in TLDSB schools?

TLDSB schools are closed to staff, students and the public.  Only persons with authorization from senior administration will be permitted to enter our worksites.

Are VLC students expected to work as normal from home?

VLC classes are cancelled.

When do school closures begin?

School closures are effective Saturday March 14, 2020.

Can I go to my child’s school?

No.  TLDSB buildings are closed to staff, students and the community.

Will community use of schools permits/programs be cancelled?

Yes. All permits for all organizations and programs will be cancelled until April 5.

Will the schools be cleaned/disinfected before kids are back?

Yes.  We will implement a deep cleaning protocol for all TLDSB buildings based on recommendations from our public health partners.

Will childcare centres be open?

No. Childcare centres and before and after school programs will not run in our buildings during the shutdown. 

Where should I look for current information about the shutdown?

The TLDSB website will be updated regularly as will TLDSB social media platforms. School families will continue to receive School Messenger notifications when appropriate.

Will the school year extend into the summer to make up for this?

t this time we do not have any information about making up for this time. We are awaiting direction from the Ministry of Education.

Will coop programs and programs at the colleges run (OYAP, dual credits, SWAC)?

No.  All school programs are closed.

Will the education centres be open?

No. Our education centres will not be open to the public or to the general staff.  

Will the closure go on longer than two weeks?

We do not know at this time and will communicate any new information as it becomes available.

How will parents be reimbursed for child care?

TLDSB does not oversee daycares and we have not received any information to be able to share from the Ontario government.

Can I get school work for my child?

We have limited information at this time from the Ministry of Education and when we learn more about this, it will be communicated to parents. At this time, schools are not providing work for students during this time. 

Will graduation credits be affected by this school closure?

No, we will work with the Ministry of Education and our schools to ensure students graduate as expected. 

What about the Grade 10 OSSLT?

The Grade 10 OSSLT is cancelled, both due to OSSTF job action and the fact that schools will be closed on the March 31st test date. 

More information about COVID-19:

Let’s Stay Connected

We want to keep our students, parents, and school communities informed. We will release COVID-19 information updates through the following channels:

Website: www.tldsb.ca/covid-19
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TLDSB
Twitter: @TLDSB

Other COVID-19 updates:

Message from the Medical Officer of Health

The greatest concern in Simcoe Muskoka is community spread of COVID-19 making it important for you to protect yourselves and others, and in particular our community’s most vulnerable members.

  • If you are experiencing any symptoms or are 70+ years old stay home.
  • Limit the number of people you come in contact with by staying home as much as possible and avoiding non-essential trips into the community.
  • Practise physical distancing by maintaining a 2 metre distance.
  • Practice good hygiene:
    – washing hands frequently
    – covering coughs and sneezes
    – avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay physically active (exercise outdoors/go for a walk if you don’t have symptoms).
  • Stay connected, check on those who may need help and reach out for help if you need it.
  • Continue practising physical distancing when you must go out and wash your hands frequently. Continue connecting with and supporting those in your community who are older and those who are self-isolating.

The importance of these measures cannot be overstated at this critical time. I encourage you to promote these messages to avoid the spread of the virus amongst your own employees, workplaces, constituents and clients.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank health care workers, grocery workers, custodians, people who are working to keep our supply chain stocked and others working at essential workplaces. Your efforts and dedication during this time is greatly appreciated.

Dr. Charles Gardner

Medical Officer of Health

Current Situation

Local Situation – Simcoe Muskoka (As of 09:30 March 31, 2020)

Community transmission is being experienced in Simcoe Muskoka. There are 52 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus in Simcoe Muskoka residents, including 9 recovered, 8 hospitalizations and 4 virus-related deaths. Eleven of the cases are considered community acquired (with no link to someone with confirmed COVID-19 or travel outside of Canada). These numbers only reflect those who have been tested. There are likely many more people with the COVID-19 virus in Simcoe Muskoka in light of the evidence of increasing community transmission.

Provincial Situation – Ontario (As of 10:30 March 31, 2020)

Ontario is experiencing a trend of continuing to have biggest single day increases for the last several days resulting in a total of 1996 confirmed cases. This includes 534 people who have recovered and 33 deaths. There are currently 4,280 people being investigated with lab results pending. A total of 51,629 tests have been completed.

National Situation – Canada (As of 18:00 March 31, 2020)

There are 8,536 confirmed cases of people with the COVID-19 virus in Canada and 96 virus-related deaths. A total of 241,138 tests have been completed. At this time in Canada, almost 65% of people diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus were exposed to it in a community setting, with no link to someone with confirmed COVID-19 or travel outside of Canada.

Risk Assessment

Simcoe Muskoka

  • Community transmission is being experienced in Simcoe Muskoka, meaning the source of the illness cannot be traced. As community transmission occurs we cannot test and confirm everyone who has the virus. It also means we expect the number of cases will start to rise over the next days and weeks. Due to this, public health will be unable to monitor how the virus is spreading from person to person making it more difficult to slow its spread. In light of this, physical distancing is the best tool we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Although older adults are considered to be at higher risk for more severe outcomes, this disease is affecting younger adults with most of our cases among adults between 35 and 64 years of age.

Provincial/National

  • COVID-19 continues to be a serious health threat with the risk to Canadians assessed as high. The risk will vary between and within communities.
  • Anyone who develops cold-like/respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, runny nose, etc.) should self-isolate at home for 14 days. If at 14 days, they don’t have a fever and the symptoms are improving, they can come out of self-isolation. If symptoms persist or worsen, they should seek assessment with their health care provider, Telehealth, assessment centre or emergency department as needed.
  • There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes of COVID-19 for Canadians:
    – aged 65 and over (It has been strongly recommended that individuals over the age of 70 years self-isolate by the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health);
    – with compromised immune systems
    with underlying medical conditions
  • There is an increased risk for Canadians who have travelled or are travelling abroad. At this time all international travel should be avoided.
  • The Government of Canada announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires all Canadians who have returning from international travel to go directly home and stay there for 14 days (exceptions include persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services). In addition to the federal order, the Province of Ontario issued an emergency order through the emergency alert system requiring everyone who has travelled outside of the Ontario to also go directly home and self-isolate for 14 days. These orders are for all travellers, including people without symptoms and those with symptoms.
  • An enhanced interactive self-assessment tool is available from the Ontario Ministry of Health. If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms, use the tools and follow the advice provided.

COVID-19 Planning and Response

SMDHU Response

  • SMDHU continues to conduct surveillance (including the monitoring of flu-like symptom presentations in all local emergency departments) and communicate local surveillance data, including for COVID-19. See our COVID-19 HealthSTATS page, which is updated daily.
  • SMDHU Vulnerable Populations for COVID-19 Response Interactive Map highlights vulnerable populations (e.g. seniors, persons living in low income) and places (e.g. long-term care homes, COVID-19 Assessment Centres, licenced child cares) in Simcoe Muskoka. This tool can be used for planning as part of COVID-19 pandemic response.
  • The SMDHU Health Connection line continues to have extended hours of operation and a dedicated line to respond to calls and emails about COVID-19. Contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 ext. 5829 or via email.
    Extended hours of operation of Health Connection for March 23-30:
    – Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    – Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Dr Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health will continue to hold virtual media briefings every weekday at 1:00 p.m. on the SMDHU Facebook page and posted on YouTube with closed captioning.
  • Key messages and information are shared on the SMDHU COVID-19 website, Facebook page and twitter account.
  • SMDHU will be involved in the opening of emergency child care centres from an IPAC and food safety perspective.

Local Response

  • Local companies, businesses and individuals are being called on for donations of unused and unopened (in factory packaging) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 masks, procedure/surgical masks (ear loop or tie back), safety goggles, disposable fluid resistant gowns, disposable gloves (especially non-latex), and hand sanitizer.
    – We have information about who to contact, if you are a company, business or individual who can donate any of the items listed above.
  • There are five assessment centres open within Simcoe and two in Muskoka. The Muskoka centres opened March 31.
  • Local 211 is available to support community members needing support and assistance by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting their website for more information. They also have live chat available Monday to Friday 7am-9pm.

Ontario Response

  • Provincial Orders:
    Prohibition of organized public events and social gatherings of more than 5 people replacing previous order prohibiting public events of over 50 people. The order does not apply to private households of more than five people, or child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and funerals which are permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.
    Protecting consumers from price gouging
    – Offenders can be ticketed or if convicted face fines or jail time (penalties to combat price gouging)
    – Consumers can report price gouging by filing a complaint at 1-800-889-9768 (M-F 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.) or by filing a report online.
    – You can also share your feedback to improve the rules under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act.
    Emergency measures to support long-term care homes during COVID-19 including funding, resources and flexibility to support staffing.
    – An emergency order to close all non-essential businesses was put in place at 11:59PM on March 24, 2020 and is being enforced when necessary. For questions about the Emergency Order closing non-essential businesses, municipalities can contact the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOCDO01@ontario.ca). Businesses can contact Stop the Spread Business Information Line (1-888-444-3659), Monday to Sunday, from 8:30am – 5:00pm.
  • Failing to comply with an emergency order is an offence. Enforcement of provincial Emergency Orders has been expanded and now includes: police officers, constables, provincial offence officers, municipal law enforcement officers, by-law enforcement officers, and employees of municipalities/local boards whose responsibilities include enforcement.
  • In addition the Premier has also requested that Ontario residents stay at their primary residence so as to not overwhelm supply chains and the health care systems in small communities.
  • The province also proclaimed the Supply Chain Management Act to ensure critical supplies, equipment and services can be deployed where they’re needed most.
  • Other provincial activities include:
    new webpages to enhance public reporting and change how they report cases;
    – allowing hospitals to operate and use other premises to operate and use as a hospital (subsection 42(2) of the Public Hospitals Act) (until June 30, 2020);
    – optimize availability of PPE by having health system providers report PPE inventory on a daily basis;
    – addressing lab supply issues, testing capacity and reducing the backlog of tests;
    – support assessment of COVID-19 through dedicated assessment centres (72 currently operational)
    – support enhanced measures to keep staff, volunteers and residents of long-term care homes safe
    – More training for staff
    – Regional Infection control networks (bring in expert teams)
    – More screening

National Response

  • The Canadian government announced:
    – Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for any business (no matter how many employees) who has expeirenced at least a 30% decrease in revenue.
    – Funding for Kids Help Phone
    – Funding for United Way to support vulnerable seniors

Resources

Resources coming soon

  • Guidance for Funeral Homes, Child Care Services for Essential Workers, and direction regarding Migrant Workers

Today the Government of Ontario announced an extension to the closure of schools due to COVID-19. All Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) schools will remain closed to staff until May 1, and to students until May 4. 

TLDSB is working with school staff on a TLDSB Learning@Home continuity of learning plan that will be shared on this website shortly.

Please visit tldsb.ca/covid19/often for updates. 

Message from the Medical Officer of Health

COVID-19 virus is being transmitted in communities in Simcoe Muskoka. We all need to work together to ‘flatten the curve’. As much as possible, everyone needs to take steps to limit the number of people they come into close contact with, including those working at essential workplaces. We understand business closures and changes to how business is conducted for those who remain open are difficult and I thank you for all you are doing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. If you remain open please follow public health guidance to keep both your employees and customers/clients safe.

Continue to safeguard yourself and others. Stay home. If you need to go out, ensure you maintain physical distance from others (2 metres/6 feet). Wash your hands frequently. Remain in self-isolation for 14 days if you are experiencing symptoms and/or are a contact of a confirmed case (you would be notified by the health unit). Additionally, the Quarantine Act has been invoked requiring all those who have returned from travel outside of Canada to quarantine themselves for 14 days or face potential penalties.

The importance of these measures cannot be overstated at this critical time. I encourage you to promote these messages to avoid the spread of disease amongst your own employees, workplaces, constituents and clients.

I am holding virtual media briefings on our Facebook page live Monday-Friday at 1:00 p.m. www.facebook.com/simcoe.muskoka. They will also be uploaded to our YouTube channel with closed captioning. Local information about COVID-19 and resources to support you can be found at www.smdhu.org/coronavirus.

Dr. Charles Gardner

Medical Officer of Health

Current Situation (as of 10:00 on March 27, 2020)

Local Situation – Simcoe Muskoka

Community transmission is being experienced in Simcoe Muskoka. There are 33 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus in Simcoe Muskoka residents, including three virus-related deaths and 5 hospitalizations. Eight of the cases are considered community acquired (with no link to someone with confirmed COVID-19 or travel outside of Canada). These numbers only reflect those who have been tested. There are likely many more people with the COVID-19 virus in Simcoe Muskoka in light of the evidence of increasing community transmission.

Provincial Situation – Ontario

There were 85 more people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ontario yesterday, increasing the total confirmed cases in Ontario to 835. This includes eight people who have recovered and 15 deaths. There are currently 10,965 people being investigated with lab results pending. A total of 38,550 people have been approved for testing.

National Situation – Canada

There are 4018 confirmed cases of people with the COVID-19 virus in Canada and 39 virus-related deaths. At this time in Canada, almost 60% of people diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus were exposed to it in a community setting, with no link to someone with confirmed COVID-19 or travel outside of Canada.

Risk Assessment

  • Community transmission is being experienced in Simcoe Muskoka, meaning the source of the illness cannot be traced. As community transmission occurs we cannot test and confirm everyone who has the virus. In light of this, physical distancing it the best tool we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 continues to be a serious health threat with the risk to Canadians assessed as high. The risk will vary between and within communities.
  • Anyone who develops cold-like/respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, runny nose, etc.) should self-isolate at home for 14 days. If at 14 days, they don’t have a fever and the symptoms are improving, they can come out of self-isolation. If symptoms persist or worsen, they should seek assessment with their health care provider, Telehealth, assessment centre or emergency department as needed.
  • People with mild symptoms generally do not require testing.
  • There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes of COVID-19 for Canadians:
    – aged 65 and over – It is important to note that although outcomes tend to be more severe in the older population, people of all ages can get COVID-19 and there are cases of younger people being hospitalized.
    – with compromised immune systems
    – with underlying medical conditions
  • There are also increased risks for Canadians who have travelled or are travelling abroad. The Government of Canada currently advises avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Canada.
    – All people who are coming into Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days, monitor for symptoms and practice prevention behaviours for everyone including physical distancing, washing hands frequently and coughing/sneezing into the bend of your arm.
  • An enhanced interactive self-assessment tool is available from the Ontario Ministry of Health. People who are experiencing symptoms but cannot be tested should isolate themselves until they have recovered.

COVID-19 Planning and Response

SMDHU Response

  • SMDHU Vulnerable Populations for COVID-19 Response Interactive Map: this interactive online map highlights vulnerable populations (e.g. seniors, persons living in low income) and places (e.g. long-term care homes, COVID-19 Assessment Centres, licenced child cares) in Simcoe Muskoka. This tool can be used for planning as part of COVID-19 pandemic response.
    – This will be accessible soon under the Maps section of our HealthSTATS website, but can currently be accessed directly through this link.
  • SMDHU continues to conduct surveillance (including the monitoring of flu-like symptom presentations in all local emergency departments) and communicate local surveillance data, including for COVID-19. See our COVID-19 HealthSTATS page, which is updated daily.
  • The SMDHU Health Connection line continues to have extended hours of operation and a dedicated line to respond to calls and emails about COVID-19. Contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 ext. 5829 or via email.
    Extended hours of operation of Health Connection for March 23-30:
    – Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    – Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • SMDHU online information:
    – For public
    – For healthcare professionals
    – For health sector partners
    – For workplaces and partners
    For employers and employees
  • We continue to share key messages on our social media platforms. We also hold a virtual media briefing with Dr. Gardner Mon-Fri at 1:00 p.m. through Facebook Live.
  • SMDHU will be involved in the opening of emergency child care centres from an IPAC and food safety perspective.

Local Response

  • Ontario hospitals are calling on their communities for donations of unused and unopened (in factory packaging) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 masks, procedure/surgical masks (ear loop or tie back), safety goggles, disposable fluid resistant gowns, disposable gloves (especially non-latex), and hand sanitizer.
    – If you are a company, business or individual who can donate any of these items listed above, information about who to contact is found on SMDHU’s website.
  • Information about the assessment centres within the region is also available on the SMDHU website.
  • Municipalities are encouraged to be ready to activate emergency response plans.

Ontario Response

  • An emergency order to close all non-essential businesses was put in place at 11:59PM on March 24, 2020 and is being enforced when necessary.
  • Questions about the Emergency Order closing non-essential business?
    – Municipalities: contact the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOCDO01@ontario.ca)
    – Businesses: contact Stop the Spread Business Information Line (1-888-444-3659), Monday to Sunday, from 8:30am – 5:00pm.
  • Public gatherings/events of over 50 people continue to be prohibited.
  • Ontario schools and child care facilities will remain closed indefinitely with education supports including TVO and online learning being explored for school-aged children.
  • The province is working to open child care spaces to support families with children who work for essential services.
  • The province is working to:
    – increase provincial lab testing capacity and reduce the backlog of tests
    – augment necessary medical supplies and equipment
    – support increased capacity at Telehealth by adding 100 registered nurses
    – support assessment of COVID-19 through dedicated assessment centres
    – support enhanced measures to keep staff, volunteers and residents of long-term care homes safe

National Response

  • The Government of Canada announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. All individuals permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order, with the exception of certain persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services.

Available Resources

Resources coming soon

  • Use of PPE for non-health care workers
  • Guidance for Shelters, Funeral Homes, Child Care Services for Essential Workers, and direction regarding Migrant Workers

Other Reliable sources of information

Please see a letter from the Director of Education to all Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) families regarding the current COVID-19 situation below:

Dear Parents/Guardians;

I know there are many, many parents of Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) at home wondering what is going to happen to their child’s education and to the rest of the school year. There may also be increasing concerns about your child’s mental health and even your own well-being as you make your way through each day in this new reality. First of all, you are not alone. We all have questions and we understand that not having clear answers can be frustrating. Secondly, there are supports available in the community and elsewhere if you or your children are struggling. I have placed a few links to resources at the end of this letter.

At this point in time, we do not know how long the closure of schools is going to be. We are told that the Ministry of Education will be letting us know soon. When we know, we will share this information with you as quickly as possible.

There is currently some confusion about learning for your children during these two weeks of shutdown until April 3. I have no expectation that students will engage in any formal academic learning while they are at home during this initial school shutdown period, and as we gather input from our staff about what is reasonable and manageable within our context. First of all, and most importantly, you and your family need to look after your own needs first. Your health, safety, and well-being are your priority right now.

Secondly, we want to be sure that programming and resources are in place that are fair and equitable for all our students if the shutdown is going to continue for any length of time. This includes consideration for families who do not have internet access or resources for any number of reasons. I want to assure you that school boards across the province are working together and with the Ministry of Education to develop a plan that will provide curricular support in a variety of ways so that access will be reasonably available to all.

In the interim, I encourage you to take a look at resources that have been posted by the government of Ontario through the Learn at Home initiative. Additionally, please consider the positive impact something as simple as integrating learning into your daily routines can be. For example, a half hour of reading a couple times a day, measuring in the kitchen or workshop, or tuning into online learning resources if you are able. These are a few simple things that can support our students with continuation of learning in a manageable way until more formal learning opportunities are implemented.

I know that our educators are just as anxious as you are to learn what the plan is going to be. Many of our staff have been or are in the process of reaching out to students to check in to see how things are going. We are highly supportive of our staff reaching out and engaging with their students and families but again, I have not directed our staff to do so in the short term.

We are clearly in unprecedented times. Like you, we have many questions. We have tried to ensure timely response to the questions that come our way, and responses we have are posted on the TLDSB website at tldsb.ca/covid19/. Please check back often.

The best thing you can do right now is to focus on your family and being well. As always, we will get through this. And as always, we will do our best to keep you as up-to-date as possible in these times of change.

Thank you for your continued support.

Larry Hope
Director of Education

Resources:

You can also view the PDF letter.

Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) schoolyard playgrounds are closed due to COVID-19. It is a good idea to allow children to play outside each day, but during this time, please do not allow your children to play on TLDSB playground equipment. The playground equipment is an extension of closure due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

A Message from the Minister of Education to Ontario’s Families:

Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) schools will be closed for two weeks until Monday, April 5.

Please see the letter from the Minister of Education to families.

Message from the Medical Officer of Health

On March 23, the Premier ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses as of March 24 at midnight for two weeks in order to slow the spread and impact of COVID-19. This action, which requires the closure of all non-essential businesses and establishments, will be enforced if it becomes necessary but non-essential businesses are being called on to do their part without enforcement. It is recognized that these closures will be difficult for local businesses and community members. But we also know that these closures and changes to business as usual are necessary to decrease close interactions with others, thereby helping to reduce the spread of illness in our communities. We all need to work together to ‘flatten the curve’.

As much as possible, everyone needs to take steps to limit the number of people they come into close contact with, including those employed at essential workplaces. The COVID-19 virus is being transmitted in communities in Simcoe Muskoka. Safeguard yourself and others. Stay home. If you need to go out, ensure you maintain physical distance from others (2 metres/6 feet). Wash your hands frequently. Remain in self-isolation for 14 days if you are experiencing symptoms; have returned from travel outside of Canada; and/or are a contact of a confirmed case (you would be notified by the health unit). The importance of these measures cannot be overstated at this critical time. I encourage you to promote these messages to avoid the spread of disease in your own employees, workplaces, constituents and clients.

Information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 and resources to support you can be found at www.smdhu.org/coronavirus.

Dr. Charles Gardner

Medical Officer of Health

Current Situation (as of 10:00 on March 25, 2020)

Local Situation – Simcoe Muskoka

There are 21 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus in Simcoe Muskoka residents, including six hospitalizations and two virus-related deaths. Three of the cases are considered community acquired (without a link to someone with confirmed COVID-19 or travel to an affected area). These numbers only reflect those who have been tested. There are likely many more people with the COVID-19 virus in Simcoe Muskoka in light of the evidence of increasing community transmission.

SMDHU’s COVID-19 HealthSTATS webpage is live and provides daily weekday updates on the status of people with the virus within the region. In addition, the health unit holds a virtual media briefing with Dr. Gardner Monday-Friday at 1:00 p.m. You can also view SMDHU’s press releases for more information.

Provincial Situation – Ontario

There were 85 more people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ontario yesterday, increasing the total confirmed cases in Ontario to 671. This includes eight people who have recovered and nine deaths. There are currently 10,489 people being investigated with lab results pending. A total of 35,635 people have been approved for testing.

For the most up-to-date information on the status of COVID-19 in Ontario see the Province of Ontario website.

National Situation – Canada

There are 2091 (up 583) confirmed cases of people with the COVID-19 virus in Canada and 24 (up 3) virus-related deaths.

At this time over half of people diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus were exposed to it in a community setting. This means that at this time over half of the people diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus in Canada have been exposed to the virus within the community.

For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation globally see: Daily WHO Situation Report, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website, and downloadable daily data on the global geographic distribution of COVID-19 virus on an interactive situation dashboard.

For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation in Canada see the Government of Canada website. A detailed epidemiologic curve is also available.

Global Situation 

Risk Assessment

  • COVID-19 is a serious health threat, and the situation is evolving daily. The risk will vary between and within communities, but given the increasing number of cases in Canada, the risk to Canadians is considered high.
  • Community transmission is being experienced in Simcoe Muskoka, meaning the source of the illness cannot be traced. As community transmission occurs we will not be able to test and confirm everyone who has the virus. In light of this, physical distancing it the one tool we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes of COVID-19 for Canadians:
    o aged 65 and over
    – It is important to note that although outcomes tend to be more severe in the older population, people of all ages can get COVID-19 and there are cases of younger people being hospitalized.
    o with compromised immune systems
    o with underlying medical conditions
  • Anyone who has new cold-like/respiratory symptoms (regardless of travel history), and has not been tested for COVID-19, is to self-isolate at home for 14 days, or until their symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer as per the Public Health Agency of Canada at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/symptoms.html.
  • There are also increased risks for Canadians who have travelled or are travelling abroad. The Government of Canada currently advises avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Canada.
    o All people who are coming into Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days, monitor for symptoms and practice prevention behaviours for everyone including physical distancing, washing hands frequently and coughing/sneezing into the bend of your arm.
  • An enhanced interactive self-assessment tool is available from the Ontario Ministry of Health.
    o People who are experiencing symptoms but cannot be tested should isolate themselves until they have recovered.

COVID-19 Planning and Response

SMDHU Response

  • SMDHU is implementing the Incident/Emergency Status Phase of Infectious Disease Emergency Response Plan and many health unit staff continue to be actively redeployed into other positions within the agency. This disruption to our everyday business means that it is not business as usual for the health unit and as a consequence certain health unit functions have been deferred or curtailed until our response to COVID-19 is over.
  • SMDHU continues to experience a strong demand for information from the public, with a large number of calls and emails. Staff have been deployed to attempt to meet these demands. The SMDHU Health Connection line continues to have extended hours of operation and a dedicated line to respond to calls and emails about COVID-19. Contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 ext. 5829 or via email.
    Extended hours of operation of Health Connection for March 23-30:
    o Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    o Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • SMDHU continues to conduct surveillance (including the monitoring of flu-like symptom presentations in all local emergency departments) and communicate local surveillance data. Going forward our COVID-19 HealthSTATS pages will focus on the total picture of our community rather than individual cases (case counts, epidemiology, age ranges, and risk factors).
  • As COVID-19 information and messages change and additional resources become available we continue to update our public website, our website for health professionals and inform those who are staffing phone lines and email. We continue to share key messages on our social media platforms. We also hold a virtual media briefing with Dr. Gardner Mon-Fri at 1:00 p.m.
  • Health sector partners continue to be updated as often as necessary with new information and/or updated guidance documents and resources through HealthFAXs and through easy access links on our health professional portal. Guidance for specific sectors, workplaces and individuals are also posted on our website.
  • SMDHU will be involved in the opening of emergency child care centres from an IPAC and food safety perspective.

Local Response

  • In order to meet the growing needs of area residents with medical concerns related to COVID-19, dedicated assessment centres have been opened in Barrie, Collingwood, Orillia, Midland, Alliston and centres in Huntsville and Bracebridge are being planned. Information about where assessment centres are, when to attend and what to bring are available on the SMDHU website.
  • Municipalities are encouraged to be ready to activate emergency response plans. States of emergency have been declared by: County of Simcoe; City of Barrie; and Oro-Medonte.
  • SMDHU is leading the coordination with provincial and local partners to receiving and distribute donations of PPE and other necessary medical supplies.

Ontario Response

  • The province announced the closure of all non-essential businesses and establishments which will be enforced if it becomes necessary.
  • Public gatherings/events of over 50 people continue to be prohibited.
  • Currently, the volume of testing has exceeding the capacity of the Ontario Public Health laboratory system and there us a significant lag in getting the results back.
    o The Ontario Public Health Laboratory is working with private and hospital laboratories to build up the province’s capacity to do testing more quickly.
    o Due to the limitations of testing the numbers communicated do not likely reflect current numbers of those who have the COVID-19 virus.
  • The province is calling on all non-essential organizations and businesses who have available medical supplies to contact the government for them to acquire them. In addition to supplies the province is looking to businesses and organizations for solutions and ideas to help communities withstand the pandemic. Go to the Ontario Together Portal for more information.
  • There are 58 COVID-19 assessment centres now running in the province.
  • Ontario schools and child care facilities will remain closed indefinitely with education supports including TVO and online learning being explored for school-aged children. The province is working to open child care spaces to support families with children who work for essential services.
  • Ontario is enhancing measures to keep staff, volunteers and residents in long-term care homes safe.
  • $200 million in social service funding was announced to protect Ontario’s most vulnerable populations with funding going to municipalities, food banks, homeless shelters and individuals.
  • Ontario announced providing electricity relief to families, small businesses and farms for a 45-day period.
  • Health Canada has released an FAQ document regarding Subsection 56(1) Class Exemption for Patients, Practitioners and Pharmacists Prescribing and Providing Controlled Substances in Canada during the Coronavirus Pandemic. It has been attached to today’s Situation Report.
  • Clarification around the Hospital Redeployment order (Regulation 74/20 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act) can be found here.

Available Resources

Resources coming soon

  • Use of PPE for non-health care workers
  • Guidance for Shelters, Funeral Homes, Child Care Services for Essential Workers, and direction regarding Migrant Workers

Other Reliable sources of information

Message from the Medical Officer of Health

On March 17, the Government of Ontario declared a state of emergency to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and preserve health care system capacity in the province. This action, which requires the closure of some businesses and establishments, was taken in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and is in follow-up to the statement made March 16.

It is recognized that these are difficult measures for our local businesses, but we know that avoiding close interactions with others helps reduce the spread of illness. Our community needs to work together to slow the spread and impact of COVID-19. The importance of these measures cannot be overstated at this critical time. We are asking people to practice social distancing, which involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. I encourage you to promote these messages and other preventative actions people can take to avoid diseases to your own employees, workplaces, constituents and clients. Please see more information about social distancing below.

Information and resources to support you can be found at www.smdhu.org/coronavirus.

Dr. Charles Gardner

Medical Officer of Health

Current Situation (as of 10:00 on March 20, 2020)

Local Situation – Simcoe Muskoka

There are eight confirmed cases and two probable cases of COVID-19 in the region. There has been one virus-related death in Simcoe Muskoka. SMDHU is following up with known contacts of the cases.

NEW SMDHU’s COVID-19 HealthSTATS webpage is live and provides daily weekday updates on the status of people with the virus within the region. See SMDHU’s press releases for more information.

NEW – On March 18, the County of Simcoe declared an emergency as a result of COVID-019 pandemic developments in our region which includes many County services and facilities being closed to the public. Check the County of Simcoe and District of Muskoka websites for information about closures and changes to their programs and services.

Provincial Situation – Ontario

As of March 19, 2020, there were 43 more people diagnosed with COVID-19, increasing the total confirmed cases in Ontario to 257. This includes five resolved and two deceased (including one new death reported by Halton Region). There have been over 12,000 negative tests and approximately 4,000 people who are currently under investigation.

The Government of Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17 to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19 and preserve capacity in the health care system. This declaration requires the continued closure of many businesses and organizations to close or adjust how services are provided, including all: indoor recreation facilities; public libraries; private schools; licensed child care centres; theatres and movie cinemas; concert venues; and bars and restaurants (unless able to switch to takeout or delivery service methods). It is also recommended that churches and other places of worship close. In addition the declaration prohibits public gatherings/events of over 50 people.

Public Gatherings/Events

  • As per the declaration of a state of emergency in Ontario, all municipalities, workplaces, event organizers or planners must suspend all events or public gatherings over 50 people.
  • All organizers must notify the health unit of any potential public gatherings or events (of 50 people or less – those above 50 people are precluded by the provincial declaration of emergency) so we can support the assessment of risk and assist in putting in place infection prevention and control measures to protect those in attendance.
    – For gatherings/events of 50 people or less, consider cancelling or postponing all non-essential gatherings (e.g. large dinners), particularly those that will include international attendees or vulnerable populations.
    – It is recommended that necessary meetings and events be held virtually rather than in person, or be cancelled/postponed.
    – The following document can assist with the risk assessment: Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak

Social Distancing

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a statement describing how to practice social distancing if you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 stating:

“Everyone in Ontario should avoid close contact with people outside of their immediate families. Close contact includes being within 2 meters (6 feet) of another person.”

Social distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. Social distancing includes, but is not limited to:

  • working from home where possible;
  • avoiding visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other congregate care settings unless the visit is absolutely essential;
  • avoiding non-essential trips in the community;
  • ensuring vehicle windows are down if you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare;
  • limiting or cancelling group gatherings;
  • conducting meetings virtually instead of in person.
  • spending time outside and in settings where people can maintain a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from each other.

Please note: that these guidelines are not meant to say “you must stay in your home!” You can still go outside to take a walk, go to the park, or walk your dog. If you need groceries, go to the store. We simply recommend that while outside you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from those around you.

Public signage on social distancing coming soon: visit the health unit’s website

OTHER

  • NEW – All evictions from rental housing have been suspended until further notice
  • NEW – There is increased phishing and malicious activity using COVID19/Corona Pandemic as the lure. Organizations are advised to continue to follow email hygiene/phishing best practices to defend against increased activity.
  • Current visitors to provincial parks will be required to vacate by March 19, 2020. Any person or group with a reservation for arrival up to April 30, 2020 will automatically be provided a full refund with no penalty.
  • Ontario Extending Validation Periods for Driver, Vehicle and Carrier Products, Services and Health Cards
  • Ontario Protecting Critical Front-Line Justice Services in Response to COVID-19

National Situation – Canada

As of March 19, 2020, there are 846 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 10 virus-related deaths. Of these cases, 69% are travellers and 13% are close contacts of travellers. A detailed epidemiologic curve is also available.

Travel/Border

For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation in Canada see the Government of Canada website

The Governments of Canada and Ontario have communicated travel advice to Canadians to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including:

NEW

  • Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada should:
    – self-isolate for 14 days when they return. People who are self-isolating should not go to work
    – monitor themselves for symptoms of the COVID-19 for 14 days after returning to Canada
    – If they develop symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) they should remain isolated for 14 days or until 24 hours after symptoms resolve. If their symptoms worsen, they should seek assessment with their health care provider, assessment centre or emergency department.
  • This direction now includes health care workers.
  • There may be exceptions for essential service workers deemed critical for operations, and workers who are essential to the movement of goods and people, who should self-monitor for 14 days (and self-isolate if they develop respiratory symptoms).
  • As of March 21, non-essential travel between Canada and the USA will not be permitted.
  • Canadian have also been advised to:
    – avoid all non-essential travel outside the country until further notice; and
    – return to Canada via commercial means while they remain available.
  • NEW Canada-U.S. border closure to tourists and non-essential visitors is likely to occur by the weekend (according to the Prime Minister’s statement, likely during the night between Friday-Saturday). Exceptions will be made for air crews, diplomats, immediate family members and U.S. citizens. Border restrictions will not apply to commerce or trade, and products will continue to flow in and out of the country.
  • NEW Airlines will ban anyone who is showing symptoms of the virus from getting on a plane.
  • NEW All international flights will be redirected to one of four airports in Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary).

Because Information about travel is changing rapidly visit travel.gc.ca for the latest travel advice. Frequently consult the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada to understand recommendations for travellers returning home for affected areas.

NEW Financial Impacts

  • The Government of Canada announced its Economic Plan in response to COVID-19 which includes:
    – A deferred tax filing date for individuals, including certain trusts.
    However, individuals who expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax Credit or the Canada Child Benefit are encouraged to not delay the filing of their tax return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.
    – A deferral of payment of any income tax amounts.

Global Situation

For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation globally see: Daily WHO Situation Report, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website, and downloadable daily data on the global geographic distribution of COVID-19 virus on an interactive situation dashboard

Risk Assessment

  • On March 15, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer declared the threat from COVID-19 pandemic as serious.
    – Community transmission is being experienced in Canada and Ontario, meaning the source of the illness cannot be traced.

Vulnerable populations

  • There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes of COVID-19 for Canadians:
    – aged 65 and over
    – with compromised immune systems
    – with underlying medical conditions

Public Health Planning and Response

SMDHU

  • The SMDHU Health Connection line continues to have extended hours of operation and created a dedicated line to respond to calls about COVID-19 at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 ext. 5829. Extended hours of operation of Health Connection as of March 17:
    – Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    – Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Health sector partners continue to be updated as often as necessary with new information and/or updated guidance documents and resources through HealthFAXs and through easy access links on our health professional portal.
  • As we have entered into the Incident/Emergency Status Phase of Infectious Disease Emergency Response Plan, many health unit staff continue to be actively redeployed into other positions within the agency. This disruption to our everyday business means that it is not business as usual for the health unit and as a consequence certain health unit functions have been deferred or curtailed until our response to COVID-19 is over.
  • Communities, organizations, businesses and families will experience changes and disruption to normal life as measures are taken to limit the spread of the virus locally, provincially and nationally. Guidance for specific sectors, workplaces and individuals about these changes are posted on our website.

Local

NEW Assessment Centres

In order to meet the growing needs of area residents with medical concerns related to COVID-19, dedicated assessment centres have been opened. Information about when to attend an assessment centre, what to bring and what to expect can be found on the SMDHU website.

Barrie 490 Huronia Road, Barrie located at the rear of the Eagle Ridge complex. It is NOT at the Huronia Urgent Care Clinic. This week (Monday, March 16 to Sunday March 22), the assessment centre hours are as follows:

  • Tuesday, March 17 to Sunday, March 22: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Collingwood Collingwood General and Marine Hospital – front of the emergency entrance 459 Hume Street, Collingwood.

  • Open seven days per week from 7:00 am to 10:30 pm.
  • All patients are requested to complete the online COVID 19 Self-Assessment before arriving to the Assessment Center.

Orillia Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital Kiwanis Building, 170 Colborne Street West, Orillia, ON. The public can access this drive thru clinic from the Volunteer Drive entrance. Volunteer Drive has temporarily been designated a one way street and the public are asked to enter from Mississauga Street. You will be asked to stay in your car until you screened and receive further instructions.

  • 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (The last patient will be seen at 6:30 p.m.)

The Simcoe Muskoka interagency pandemic plan (updated in 2010 to support the County of Simcoe and the District of Muskoka in the event of an influenza pandemic) is available to others to adapt for their response to COVID-19.

Provincial

NEW – New guidance is coming for health measures for:

  • health care workers returning from travel outside of Canada, including those working in long-term care homes;
  • restriction of visitors to hospitals; and
  • the ramp down of elective and non-emergent activities for regulated health professionals and group practices of regulated health professionals.

NEW The Ministry is:

  • Assessing additional spaces in community for use to alleviate capacity pressures experienced by hospitals and long-term care.
  • Putting in efforts to procure additional ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves and surgical masks.
  • Working to improve surveillance using the Acute Care Enhanced Surveillance (ACES) system.
  • Working to support the expansion of virtual home care delivery by health professionals including nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics, and social work.

NEW Public Health Ontario has updated their site related to COVID-19 testing including an updated list of accepted swab types.

NEW The Ontario Ministry of Health recommends hospitals only allow essential visitors until further notice. Essential visitors are:

  • Those who have a patient who is dying or very ill;
  • A parent of an ill child or youth;
  • A patient undergoing surgery; or
  • A woman giving birth.

NEW Canadian Blood Services states it is important for healthy individuals to continue to donate blood.

Provincial Resources

National

  • Guidance documents area available for:
    – Communities;
    – Health professionals; and
    Businesses.
  • Procurement measures are being put in place to assist industry partners to re-tool for medical supplies (e.g. ventilators).

International

Other Available Resources

A message from the Medical Officer of Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit:

The situation involving COVID-19 is constantly evolving. In an effort to ensure our community partners stay up-to-date, here is this week’s synopsis of information.

What’s New:

  • As of today, there are six confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the Health Unit’s area. Updates about confirmed cases will be posted on the Health Unit’s website each day just after lunch (www.hkpr.on.ca).
  • There are now 257 confirmed cases in Ontario. This includes five resolved cases and two deaths.
  • In Ontario, there are 3,972 persons under investigation with lab results pending.
  • The province declared a State of Emergency on Tuesday, March 17, enforcing the closures recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. These closures include: recreational facilities, libraries, private schools and daycares, bars and restaurants (except for take out or delivery), churches and faith settings, theatres and concert venues.
  • Health partners and stakeholders at regional levels have been working together to implement assessment and testing centres to help reduce the pressures on hospital emergency departments. At this time, assessment and testing centres have been set up at two of the hospitals in the Health Unit’s area, with work underway to expand the number and implement testing by paramedics for people unable to leave their homes.
  • Municipalities throughout the Health Unit’s area have declared emergencies, closed offices and facilities, and changed service delivery.
  • The Ministry of Health website is updated daily at 10:30 am and 5:30 pm, so please be sure to visit the website for additional updates.

HKPR Actions:

  • With the provincial emergency declaration, Dr. Noseworthy officially enacted the Health Unit’s emergency response plan in order to prompt local municipalities to set up their own Emergency Operation Centres. The Health Unit also amended its IMS structure to include additional liaison groups to communicate with municipalities and health care partners.
  • The Health Unit issued two media releases – one on the activation of the Health Unit’s emergency response plan and the other about changes to the organization’s operations and office closures (see attached).
  • The Health Unit has added a chart on its website that lists the confirmed cases in its area. This chart will be updated daily after lunch. The Health Unit has cancelled all programming except essential services. All staff have been redeployed to cover the call centre, develop communication materials for the public or work with local businesses and restaurants to ensure compliance with the new orders released by the Premier. The call centre is now receiving hundreds of calls each day, with many calls taking hours to resolve. A message has been added to the Health Unit’s website to alert people to the high call volume and request they leave a message so a call can be returned. Call centre staff are working into the evenings and weekends to return calls.
  • The Health Unit’s website is continuing to be updated daily with additional information, videos and resources.
  • Remember to stay up-to-date on the latest information by visiting these sites:
    The Ontario Ministry of Health website
    Public Health Agency of Canada website 
    Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit

Media Release: Updates from the Local Health Unit

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is continuing to support its communities of Haliburton County, City of Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland County through the COVID-19 response.

The Health Unit enacted its Incident Operations Centre (IOC) in January and has been working since then to move staff to the areas most needed to either provide essential inspection services, conduct case and contact follow-up with people, or respond to questions about testing. Health Unit staff have also been working with health system partners and providers regarding infection prevention and control practices, assessment centres, testing and pandemic preparedness. As well, inspectors are now working with local businesses and restaurants to ensure compliance with new orders released by the Premier.

Please note the following changes to Health Unit business:

  • A media release will be issued only for the first confirmed COVID-19 case in each county. Updates on the number of confirmed cases and county of residence of new cases can be found on the Health Unit website at hkpr.on.ca. The site will be updated regularly with new information.
  • • Effective Monday, March 23, all HKPR District Health Unit offices will be closed to the public except for lab pick up and delivery, needle exchanges and Naloxone.
  • Water bottle drop off will still be available at the Health Unit offices and most of the current community locations, but paperwork will not be checked by Health Unit staff. New water bottles will be located outside of the Health Unit doors. Please visit hkpr.on.ca for updates on community drop off locations.
  • All Health Unit classes, clinics or meetings have been cancelled whether these were to be held in the Health Unit office or in a community meeting space or school.
  • All Health Unit programming, except the COVID-19 response, and essential services, has been cancelled.
  • Healthy Babies Healthy Children family visits will be conducted by telephone or virtual meetings.
  • Public Health Inspectors are working with long-term care homes and retirement homes to ensure active screening, infection prevention and control practices, and pandemic preparedness measures are in place. Inspectors are also monitoring local businesses to ensure compliance with closure orders from the province with the declaration of the State of Emergency.
  • Staff are continuing to respond to the hundreds of calls received each day through the Health Unit’s call centre. Residents are asked to be patient and their call will be returned. Please do not leave multiple phone messages as this detracts from the time needed to respond to calls. If people have questions, they can also send an email to info@hkpr.on.ca.
  • Anyone who thinks they have COVID-19 symptoms or has been in close contact with someone who has it is asked to visit ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus to use a self-assessment tool to help determine if they need to seek further care.

The Health Unit encourages everyone to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 including:

  • Staying home if they are sick
  • Washing their hands thoroughly and frequently
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • Refraining from visiting anyone at a hospital, retirement or long-term care home
  • Practising social distancing
  • Remaining in self-isolation if they have returned from travel outside of Canada
  • Complying with the provincial order related to the Declaration of Emergency.

Media Release
Medical Officer of Health Declares Community Emergency with COVID-19

The local medical officer of health is echoing today’s announcement by the provincial government to declare an emergency related to COVID-19.

Due to this declaration, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health has activated the agency’s emergency response plan. This activation prompts local municipalities to set up their own emergency operation centres (EOCs) in order to move supports and resources in place for their communities.

“This is an unprecedented but warranted action for a very challenging time,” says Dr. Lynn Noseworthy. “We need to do everything we can to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of our residents.”

Due to the provincial declaration, the Health Unit is enforcing the actions put forward last night by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) for the province, including:

  • The closure of all facilities providing recreational programs;
  • The closure of public libraries;
  • The closure of private schools and licensed child care facilities;
  • The closure of all bars and restaurants, with the exception of restaurants that can shift to takeout/delivery mechanisms;
  • The closure of all churches and faith settings;
  • The closure of all theatres and concert venues

“The health and wellness of our community continues to be our top priority,” says Dr. Noseworthy, “and these steps are crucial to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Residents are encouraged to help protect their health by washing their hands thoroughly and frequently, covering their coughs and sneezes, staying home if they are ill, and practising social distancing when out in public by staying at least two metres away from others. As well, anyone returning from travel outside of Canada is required to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor themselves for symptoms unless they are an essential service worker, including health care workers.

If you think you have 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, visit the Ministry of Health’s website to use the self-assessment tool to help determine if you need to seek further care: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-self-assessment

The Health Unit is continuing to work with its health care partners and municipal partners in this response. Residents are encouraged to visit www.hkpr.on.ca for updated information.

A message from the Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit:

Dear parents and guardians:

Re: COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) School Closures

In response to the impact of COVID-19, the province of Ontario has issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March break. This means that Ontario schools are ordered to remain closed from March 14 through to April 5, 2020.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in Ontario has been increasing this past week, and the move to order schools closed is a public health effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. The next few weeks are critical in terms of slowing the spread of COVID-19, and the province’s decision is based on advice from Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the experts at Ontario’s COVID-19 Command Table.

This decision will have a significant impact on families, students, schools, as well as the broader community, but it is a precautionary measure designed to reduce the spread of the virus and keep people safe.

On March 13th Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams has strongly advised the people of Ontario to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. If you do decide to travel outside of Canada with children, please be advised that due to recent positive cases in young children, all returning children will be required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days upon return. The situation is changing rapidly therefore we recommend you visit travel.gc.ca for the latest travel advice. Please frequently consult the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada to understand recommendations for travelers returning home for affected areas.

Locally, one case of COVID-19 has been reported to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (yesterday, Thursday March 12). The individual is self-isolating and recovering at home. This is the first case of COVID-19 for our region, and given the spread of the virus around the world and within our province, it is likely that we may see more cases. Our focus now is to break the chain of transmission to limit the spread of infection.

We understand that these are worrisome times, however there are simple ways that you can protect yourself and your family over the coming weeks.

We want to remind parents that the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same as preventing the cold and flu. It is important to reassure your children about their personal safety and health. Telling children that it is okay to be concerned is comforting. Reassure them they are safe and there are many things they and the whole family can do to stay healthy, including:

  • Hand washing: wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough/sneeze etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home when sick: Students/children should tell parents if they are not feeling well, and together make a plan to stay home from community and sporting events and organizations your child may belong to, i.e. Girl Guides, hockey games etc.
  • Keep clean: Keep hands away from face and mouth unless you have just washed your hands.
  • Stay healthy: Stay healthy by avoiding contact with sick people, eating healthy foods, keeping physically active, and getting enough sleep.

If you have questions or concerns, please call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 ext. Health Connection’s hours are extended to 9 p.m. Friday night (March 13) and are also extended to Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 16th – 20th 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

This is an evolving situation and we continue to remind residents of the importance of using credible sources to stay informed. Please check the SMDHU website for the latest information and instructions.

Sincerely,
Dr. Charles Gardner, MOH

COVID-19 Update – TLDSB – March 12

The Ontario government stated this afternoon that all publicly funded schools in Ontario are ordered to remain closed from March 14 through to April 5. This means that Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) schools will be closed to staff and students for two additional weeks following the March Break, reopening Monday, April 6.

Important information about novel coronavirus COVID-19:

Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) continues to monitor the increasing number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario and around the world. As precautionary measures the following is taking place:

  • There is increased surface cleaning taking place in all schools. 
  • All international, out-of-province, and out-of-district school trips have been cancelled for the rest of the school year – individual schools are working with tour operators to determine rescheduling or refund options.
  • The Trillium Lakelands District Arts Camp (TLAC) has been cancelled for this year – families will receive refunds within the next couple of weeks.
  • Schools have been asked to consider temporarily cancelling the shared use of musical instruments.
  • Disinfectant wipes* have been made available in schools for wiping shared items including keyboard.
  • Hand sanitizer* has been made available to schools to be used by students under the direction of an adult.

*limited supplies of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer are available in schools due to the increased requests for the product across the province

TLDSB is in regular contact with local health units. Our health partners continue to remind us to take the usual measures to reduce the transmission of flu and respiratory illness including: 

  • Get a yearly influenza vaccination, available from clinics and pharmacies (for flu only).
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
  • Stay home if you are ill.
  • Consult your physician if you have any concerns.

March Break
Many of our families will be travelling over the March Break. The following information about things to do before you leave, while travelling, and when you return has been provided by our public health partners.

Before you leave
Our health units strongly encourage anyone travelling outside of Canada to check the Government of Canada website for travel advice and advisories related to COVID-19. These advisories are the Government of Canada’s official source of destination-specific travel information. They give you important advice to help you to make informed decisions and to travel safely while you are abroad. No matter where you plan to travel, make sure you check the Travel Advice and Advisories page for your destination twice: once when you are planning your trip, and again shortly before you leave. Safety and security conditions may change between the date you book your travel and your departure date.

Government of Canada novel coronavirus information line: 1-833-784-4397.

During your trip
Continue to follow the usual health precautions such as washing hands, avoiding contact with people who are sick, and covering your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing. Avoid spending time in large crowds or in crowded areas, avoid high risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals may be slaughtered, avoid contact with animals (alive or dead), avoid surfaces with animal droppings or secretions, avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products, be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice. If you become sick when you are travelling, avoid contact with others except to see a health care professional. If you feel sick during your flight to Canada or upon arrival, inform the flight attendant or a Canadian border services officer.

When you return
We ask that anyone who is travelling outside of Canada do the following when they return: Monitor your health and the health of your family for flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, and difficulty breathing) for 14 days upon return – regular routines may be followed at this time. If flu-like symptoms develop, contact your local health unit immediately.

Both the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit provide us with regular information about novel coronavirus.

A message from the Medical Officer of Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit:

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) is providing school families with an update on the COVID-19 situation. Although the risk of becoming ill from COVID-19 remains low in Ontario, the local Health Unit continues to work closely with provincial and federal governments and its community health partners (e.g. hospitals, health care providers, school boards) to ensure a coordinated response and to prepare should a case develop locally.

COVID-19 Plan – Just as families prepare a home safety plan for fire, being prepared for COVID-19 is no different. The Health Unit recommends families start creating a household plan in the event a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in the community. We all have a role in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses.

  • Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan – household members, relatives, and friends to determine the needs of each person.
  • Practise everyday prevention actions to reduce your risk of respiratory illnesses:
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose as much as possible;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands;
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm;
  • Stay home if you or a family member are ill;
  • Choose a room in the home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy
  • Regularly clean and disinfect (common disinfectant product) objects and high-touch surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, fridge/cabinet handles, countertops, light switches);
  • Get your flu shot to protect you from the flu;
  • If you are ill and must visit a healthcare provider, clinic, or hospital emergency department, call ahead or tell them right away when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness and wear a mask while waiting to be seen; and
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care homes if you are sick.
  • Plan ways to care for those family members who might be at greater risk for serious complications – consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring the health of family members (i.e. elderly, those who have weak immune system) for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.

A message from the Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit:

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. The health and well-being of our residents is our top priority and we continue to work with our community, provincial, and federal health partners in response to this new virus.

The risk of infection in Simcoe Muskoka remains low.

For those who have plans to travel out of country over the next few weeks we encourage people to review the Travel Advisories posted by the Government of Canada prior to travel.

For returning travellers, the situation for the area you are travelling to may change while you are away. Upon return to Canada please visit the SMDHU website for up-to-date instructions for returning travellers.

At this time, if you or your child, have travelled recently in Iran or Hubei Province, China, you are asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days after your last day at either of those areas. You are also asked to call SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada, and we will provide you with further instructions.

For individuals who have travelled in other affected areas such as Mainland China (excluding Taiwan and Macau), Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Singapore, please monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after leaving the affected area.

If after returning from the affected areas, you or your child, develop symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing), please call your family doctor, Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or SMDHU. For individuals who have travelled in an affected area, before you visit any health care provider, please call ahead to let them know about your travel history and symptoms. This will allow them to make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure they use proper infection control measures.

We want to remind school communities that the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same as preventing the cold and flu. It is important to reassure your children about their personal safety and health. Telling children that it is okay to be concerned is comforting. Reassure them they are safe and there are many things they and the whole family can do to stay healthy, including:

  • Hand washing: Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Cough/sneeze etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home when sick: Students/children should tell parents if they are not feeling well, and together make a plan to stay home from school.
  • Keep clean: Keep hands away from face and mouth unless you have just washed your hands.
  • Stay healthy: Stay healthy by avoiding contact with sick people, eating healthy foods, keeping physically active, and getting enough sleep.

As this is an evolving situation, we continue to remind residents of the importance of using credible sources to stay informed. Please check the SMDHU website for the latest information and instructions.

Sincerely, Dr. Charles Gardner
Medical Officer of Health

Download the letter (PDF)

There have been a lot of recent reports in the news about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We are in close contact with our two public health units and will continue to follow their guidance and recommendations regarding the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there are no confirmed or suspected cases in the Muskoka, Haliburton, or Kawartha Lakes area. The risk for COVID-19 remains low for the province of Ontario.

What steps can families take?

We want to remind our school community that the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same as preventing the cold and flu. It is important to reassure your children about their personal safety and health. Telling children that it is okay to be concerned is comforting. Reassure them they are safe and there are many things they can do to stay healthy, including:

  • Hand washing: Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Cough/sneeze etiquette: Cough and sneeze into arm or tissue.
  • Stay home when sick: Students/children should tell parents if they are not feeling well, and together, make a plan to stay home from school.
  • Keep clean: Keep hands away from face and mouth.
  • Stay healthy: Stay healthy by eating healthy foods, keeping physically active, and getting enough sleep.

How is our school preparing?

Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) is taking steps to be sure that we are prepared for any spread of COVID-19. Currently we are making sure that all surface areas in schools are cleaned daily. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are being delivered to schools. School staff will monitor the use of these products by students. There will be immediate replacement of custodial staff if a custodian must be absent. And our schools are reminding students of the preventative measures listed above.

March Break Travel

March Break is coming up and many families have travel plans in place both inside Canada and to other countries. Currently the risk associated with COVID-19 is low for Canada. The risk to Canadian travellers abroad is generally low but will vary depending on the destination. Please consult the Ontario travel section on their web page and on Canada travel.gc.ca for the latest travel advice.

Download the Letter to Families (PDF)

A message from the Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit:

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) continues to actively monitor the global outbreak of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19. We will continue to provide weekly updates as needed as a means to support your information needs, planning, communications and access to resources. Previous updates can be found at www.smdhu.org/coronavirus.

Dr. Charles Gardner

Medical Office of Health

Current Situation (as of 10:00 March 5, 2020)

World

  • There are more than 95,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide (in accordance with the case definition). The majority of these cases have been reported from China where more than 80,000 cases have been confirmed with 80 other countries now reporting cases of COVID-19.
  • The vast majority of new cases continue to be reported from countries outside of China.
  • COVID-19 has resulted in more than 3,200 deaths worldwide, reported in 13 countries (China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, USA, Japan, France, Australia, Philippines, San Marino, Spain, Taiwan, and Thailand) and on one cruise ship.
  • For up-to-date information on the countries affected by COVID-19 see the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website.

Canada

  • NEW – There have been 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada thus far, including 20 in Ontario, 12 in British Columbia and one in Quebec. Some of these cases are now resolved.
  • No deaths have occurred in Canada.
  • For up-to-date information on the situation in Canada see the Government of Canada (GOC) website.

Ontario

  • NEW – Two new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Ontario this week; one with travel history from Iran and the other from Egypt.
  • There have been a total 18 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, four of which have been resolved.
  • The total number of people tested in Ontario to date is 1,566, however these numbers continue to change and are updated daily.
  • There are currently 78 cases under investigation in Ontario.
  • For up-to-date information on the situation in Ontario see the Ontario Ministry of Health (OMOH) website.

Simcoe Muskoka

  • There are no presumptive or confirmed cases in our region at this time, however this could change quickly.
  • NEW – It is advised that communities, organizations, businesses and families prepare for potential disruption to normal life if the virus starts to infect people locally. General information and tips about how to prepare are now posted on the health unit’s website.

Risk Assessment

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) continues to assess the risk of spread of COVID-19 within Canada as low.
  • The risk to Canadian travellers abroad is generally low but varies depending on the destination. A number of travel advisories have been added for Canadian travellers. Check the Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories for a full list of travel advisories.
  • Given the increasing likelihood of a COVID-19 pandemic, it is advised that people be prepared for that possibility by ensuring at least a two week supply of food staples, medications, and essential household supplies. It is also wise to have a family care plan in the event family members fall ill or have to undergo home isolation due to public health measures, such as quarantine.

Public Health Planning and Response

International

  • Disruptions to the global supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) are leaving some countries ill-equipped to care for patients. The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with governments, industry and the Pandemic Supply Chain Network to boost production and secure supplies for critically affected and at-risk countries.
  • For more information see the WHO daily situation reports.

National

  • NEW – The case definition for COVID-19 has been updated with new recommendations for travellers coming to Canada from Iran. Recommendations are:

All travellers returning from Iran and Hubei province in China should:

  • Report to your local public health unit within 24 hours of arriving in Canada (in Simcoe Muskoka contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520);
  • stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in your home, for a total of 14 days from the date that you left the affected area; and
  • monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing and contact Telehealth (1-866-797-0000), your health care provider, or your local public health department by phone (in Simcoe Muskoka contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520), by phone if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Anyone who has been to an affected area* should:

  • monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing;
  • avoid places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill; and
  • contact Telehealth (1-866-797-0000), your health care provider, or your local public health department (in Simcoe Muskoka contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520), by phone if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

*Affected areas as of March 3, 2020 include: Mainland China (excluding Taiwan and Macau), Iran, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

  • NEW – The Public Health Agency of Canada has released guidance on COVID-19 for schools (K-12) and childcare programs, including recommendations for school administrators, considerations for remote and isolated communities, and psychological considerations.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers continue to follow usual health precautions such as washing their hands, avoiding contact with people who are sick, and covering your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing. They also advise Canadians to:
    – always tell health care providers about travel history if they become ill after returning to Canada
    – avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals may be slaughtered
    – avoid contact with animals (alive or dead);
    – avoid surfaces with animal droppings or secretions on them;
    – avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products; and
    – be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice.
  • The Government of Canada (GOC) continues to advise Canadians to:
    – avoid all non-essential travel to China; and
    – avoid all travel to Hubei Province in China and Iran.
    – leave China if their presence is not essential.
    – check the Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories for a full list of travel advisories.

Provincial

  • NEW – Fact sheets for: a) self-monitoring for symptoms, b) self-isolation, and c) guidance for caregivers, household members and close contacts are now available on the Public Health Ontario website.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Health (OMOH) continues to work with federal and local partners to support the remaining repatriated citizens under quarantine and those in self-isolation.
  • The OMOH is involved in future scenario planning amongst provincial partners and stakeholders.

SMDHU

  • NEW – With increasing community transmission in countries outside of China, SMDHU advises that individuals, communities, organizations, businesses and families prepare for potential disruption to normal life if the virus starts to infect people locally.
  • NEW – Information on how to prepare for a possible pandemic situation is now available on the SMDHU website in addition to information about COVID-19.
  • SMDHU continues to work with community partners and stakeholders to preparing for the possibility of a pandemic occurring provincially and locally in the upcoming weeks/months.
  • Updated screening signs for any sector/location are available in multiple languages.
  • Health sector partners continue to be updated as often as necessary with new information and/or updated guidance documents and resources through HealthFAXs and through easy access links on our health professional portal.
  • Partners and the public are updated through the SMDHU website, social media, press releases, media interviews and COVID-19 fact sheets (available in multiple languages)
  • The SMDHU Health Connection line continues to respond to calls about COVID-19 from public and health sector partners.
  • SMDHU continues to work with health sector partners as per our Infectious Disease Emergency Response Plan to ensure screening and infection prevention control measures are in place.
  • Simcoe Muskoka residents are to contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 if:
    – If they are returning from Hubei province in China or Iran; or
    – If they travelled to an *affected area in the last 14 days (within 24 hours of arriving in Canada) AND they develop symptoms of COVID-19.

* Affected areas as of March 3, 2020 include: Mainland China (excluding Taiwan and Macau), Iran, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

Other Available Resources

A message from the Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit:

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) continues to actively monitor the global outbreak of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19. We will continue to provide weekly updates as needed as a means to support your information needs, planning, communications and access to resources. Previous updates can be found at www.smdhu.org/coronavirus.

Dr. Charles Gardner

Medical Office of Health

Current Situation (as of 08:00 February 28, 2020)

World

  • There are more than 83,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide (in accordance with the case definitions). The vast majority of these cases have been reported from China where more than 78,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed.
  • NEW – For the first time since the first identified case of COVID-19, there have been more new cases reported from countries outside of China than from China.
  • COVID-19 has resulted in more than 2800 deaths worldwide, with 98% of the deaths occurring in China and other deaths occurring in eight countries and on one cruise ship.
  • For up-to-date information on the countries affected by COVID-19 see the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website.

Canada

  • NEW – There are 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada – six in Ontario and seven in British Columbia. Some of these cases are now resolved.
  • To date there have been zero cases of COVID-19 in repatriated Canadians.
  • No deaths have occurred in Canada.
  • For up-to-date information on the situation in Canada see the Government of Canada (GOC) website.

Ontario

  • NEW – There are two new confirmed positive cases and one new presumptive positive case of COVID-19. This brings the total number of cases in Ontario to six, three of which have resolved.
  • The total number of patients tested to date is 699, however these numbers continue to change and are updated daily on the Ministry of Health website.
  • For up-to-date information on the situation in Ontario see the Ontario Ministry of Health (OMOH) website.

Simcoe Muskoka

  • At this time, there are no presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Simcoe Muskoka.

Risk Assessment

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) continues to assess the risk of spread of COVID-19 within Canada continues to be low.
  • The risk to Canadian travellers abroad is generally low but varies depending on the destination. A number of travel advisories have been added for Canadian travellers. Check the Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories for a full list of travel advisories.
  • There is increasing evidence of community transmission in countries outside of China. The health unit is preparing for this possibility occurring locally in the upcoming weeks/months.
  • Given the increasing likelihood of a COVID-19 pandemic, we are now advising that people prepare for that possibility by ensuring at least a two week supply of food staples, medications, and essential household supplies, and have a family care plan in the event family members fall ill or have to undergo home isolation due to public health measures, such as quarantine.

Public Health Planning and Response

International

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a protocol for the investigation of early cases of COVID-19. The protocol is designed to gain an early understanding of the key clinical, epidemiological and virological characteristics of the first cases of COVID-19 infection detected in any country, to inform public health guidance to manage cases and reduce potential spread and impact of infection.
  • For more information see the WHO daily situation reports.

National

  • NEW – The case definition for COVID-19 has been updated with new regions of the world where community transmission is ongoing. Recommendations for travellers coming to Canada has been updated and expanded to include travel history from Mainland China (excluding Macau and Taiwan), Iran, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Recommendations are:

All travellers who are returning from Hubei province in China should:

  • Report to your local public health unit within 24 hours of arriving in Canada (in Simcoe Muskoka contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520);
  • Stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in your home, for a total of 14 days from the date that you left Hubei province; and
  • Monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing and contact Telehealth, your health care provider, or your local public health department (in Simcoe Muskoka contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520), by phone if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Anyone who has been to an affected area* should:

  • Monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing;
  • Avoid places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill; and
  • Contact Telehealth, your health care provider, or your local public health department (in Simcoe Muskoka contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520), by phone if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

* Affected areas as of February 27, 2020 include: Mainland China (excluding Taiwan and Macau), Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers continue to follow usual health precautions such as washing their hands, avoiding contact with people who are sick, and covering your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing. They also advise Canadians to:
    – Always tell health care providers about travel history if they become ill after returning to Canada
    – Avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals may be slaughtered
    – Avoid contact with animals (alive or dead);
    – Avoid surfaces with animal droppings or secretions on them;
    – Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products; and
    – Be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice.
  • The Government of Canada (GOC) continues to advise Canadians to:
    – Avoid all non-essential travel to China; and
    – Avoid all travel to Hubei Province in China.
    – Leave China if their presence is not essential.
    – Check the Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories for a full list of travel advisories.

Provincial

  • The Ontario Ministry of Health (OMOH) continues to work with federal and local partners to support the repatriated citizens under quarantine and those in self-isolation.
  • All individuals under quarantine in Trenton, Ontario have been released from quarantine.

SMDHU

  • Screening signs for any sector/location are available in multiple languages.
  • We continue to update our health sector partners as often as necessary with new information and/or updated guidance documents and resources through HealthFAXs and through easy access links on our health professional portal.
  • We continue to update our partners and the public through the SMDHU website, social media, press releases, media interviews and fact sheets (available in multiple languages).
  • Our Health Connection line continues to respond to calls about COVID-19 from public and health sector partners.
  • SMDHU continues to work with health sector partners as per our Infectious Disease Emergency Response Plan to ensure screening and infection prevention control measures are in place.
  • Simcoe Muskoka residents are to contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 if:
    – they travelled to an *affected area in the last 14 days (within 24 hours of arriving in Canada) AND they develop symptoms of COVID-19.

* Affected areas as of February 27, 2020 include: Mainland China (excluding Taiwan and Macau), Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

Other Available Resources

A message from the Medical Officer of Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit:

As part of the Health Unit’s commitment to providing ongoing communication regarding COVID-19, we are providing regular updates to our community partners in education, children’s services, and municipal government. Please visit our website at http://www.hkpr.on.ca/featured_posts/novel-coronavirus/ for more information including media releases issued by the Health Unit, accurate COVID-19 facts, and links to provincial and federal resources.

This week’s key message:

The risk to Ontario residents from COVID-19 continues to be low, but this is still peak flu season.

It’s not too late to protect yourself from the flu! If you know anyone who has not yet had their flu shot, encourage them to visit a pharmacy or their health care provider to get immunized. The flu shot, together with washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, practising cough and sneeze etiquette and staying home if you are ill are your best defense against illness this winter.

What’s New:

As of today, there are 14 persons under investigation in Ontario with lab results pending.

The third confirmed case in Ontario has fully recovered, and their case is considered resolved.

The Ministry of Health continues to work with federal and local partners to support repatriated citizens who arrived on the three flights to CFB Trenton.

The Government of Canada has chartered a plane to repatriate Canadians on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan. The aircraft will bring passengers from Japan to Canadian Forces Base Trenton, after which they will be assessed and transported to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall to undergo a further 14-day period of quarantine. Before boarding in Japan, passengers will be screened for symptoms. Those who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to board and will instead be transferred to the Japanese health system to receive appropriate care.

Case and contact management is underway for passengers who were aboard MS Westerdam and have returned to Canada via commercial routes.

The Ministry of Health website is updated daily at 10:30 am, so please be sure to visit the site for additional updates.

HKPR Actions:

Our Incident Operations Centre (IOC) continues to meet regularly to manage the Health Unit’s response.

Staff have received training on active screening of clients receiving services in person.

The call centre continues to operate and respond to questions and concerns.

We are continuing to participate in regular calls with the Ministry of Health for information updates.

A message from the Medical Officer of Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit:

As part of the Health Unit’s commitment to providing ongoing communication regarding 2019-nCoV (now called COVID-19), we are providing regular updates to our community partners in education, children’s services, and municipal government. Please visit our website at http://www.hkpr.on.ca/featured_posts/novel-coronavirus/ for more information including media releases issued by the Health Unit, accurate COVID-19 facts, and links to provincial and federal resources.

This Week’s Key Message:

The situation involving the COVID-19 is constantly evolving including the name of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease caused by the virus (COVID-19). In an effort to ensure all community partners stay up-to-date, here is this week’s synopsis of information. The risk to Ontario residents from COVID-19 continues to be low.

What’s New:

A new case definition, with expanded travel history, and home isolation recommendations have been released from the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health, post-secondary institutions, school boards and health units are preparing for the return of students and staff who may travel to China during upcoming reading break, spring breaks and March breaks.

All staff or students who have travelled to Hubei Province, China in the previous 14 days, on their return to Canada are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days and report by telephone to public health units to arrange for daily symptom monitoring.

All staff or students who have travelled to mainland China in the previous 14 days, on their return to Canada are being asked to self-monitor for 14 days and contact public health or their health care provider should they become symptomatic.

As of today, there are 8 persons under investigation in Ontario with lab results pending.

The third confirmed case in Ontario has fully recovered, and their case is considered resolved.

The Ministry of Health continues to work with federal and local partners to support repatriated citizens who arrived on the three flights to CFB Trenton.

Updated guidance documents for Acute Care, Paramedics, Primary Care, Home and Community Care and Long-Term Care settings have been added to the Ministry of Health website. Additional guidance documents will be uploaded as appropriate. The website is updated daily at 10:30 am, so please visit the site for additional updates.

HKPR Actions:

Our Incident Operations Centre (IOC) is meeting regularly to coordinate our response and ensure all Health Unit staff have the appropriate training for their roles.

Our call centre continues to operate to address community inquiries.

We are participating in regular calls with the Ministry of Health for information updates.

A message from your local health unit:

This is peak flu season and we are seeing influenza and respiratory viruses in the community. To help stop the spread of illness:

  • Wash your hands
  • Follow proper cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Stay home if you are ill

For more information about how to protect yourself from the flu, visit the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit or the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Get in touch
close slider
  • If you're inquiring about a transcript, you will need to contact the school you attended directly to obtain a copy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.