Updates

March 25

I hope everyone is staying safe, (virtually) connecting with family and friends, and taking care of their physical and mental health.

Yesterday Dr. Etches, head of Ottawa Public Health suggested “the use of the term “physical distancing” instead of “social distancing.” This language is beginning to be used around the world and is clearer about what we are recommending to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  We want residents to keep a physical distance of at least 2 metres from others, but not to disconnect socially.  It is very important during this time, that we maintain social connections to support our mental health; however, these social connections with people outside your household should be done through phone calls and other technology as much as possible.”

Reminder: now is not the time for visiting friends, hosting dinner parties, or gathering in groups. I understand that these are trying times, but the sooner we flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the virus, the sooner we can return to our normal lives.

City of Ottawa State of Emergency

Mayor Jim Watson today declared a State of Emergency for the City of Ottawa due to the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa. This aligns with Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s announcement on Monday, March 23 that he is expanding Ontario’s state of emergency to shut down all non-essential services.

Declaring a state of emergency will help the City deploy its emergency operations and staff in a more nimble fashion. It will also enable a more flexible procurement process, which will help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders as it becomes available in the coming weeks.

Ottawa Public Health now has laboratory confirmation of the community spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa. We are also starting to see cases among health care workers who have not traveled or been a close contact of a confirmed case. Ottawa Public Health recommends all residents practise physical (social) distancing or self-isolate, if applicable, to help stop the spread of the virus. Information about laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 is available on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.

Following the declaration, the City formally requested the Province of Ontario to give the City flexibility to manage movement of staff, to redeploy resources, to support essential services and to be adaptable as this situation continues to evolve rapidly.

This declaration follows the Premier’s order to shut down all non-essential services, which took effect this morning.

To view the list of essential workplaces that are still open, click here

Expansion of the Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program

Over the past week, the Finance Services Department has heard from residents, business owners, and Members of Council regarding the proposed Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program. In response, the Finance Services Department will be expanding the proposed criteria to include businesses with an assessed property value of up to $7.5M that have been financially affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increased business assessed property value criteria will now cover 91% of all commercial properties in Ottawa, up from 76% at the $2.5M threshold.

To qualify, an account would need to have been paid up to date before the interim tax installment. The deferral application will be available online and would extend the interim (March 19) and final (June 18) tax due dates to October 30, 2020.

Water Utility Bill

Revenue Services is extending an interest free 30-day payment grace period for all unpaid water bills issued before April 1, 2020 and a 30-day due date extension, for all water bills issued between April 1, 2020 and October 30, 2020, providing residents with 47 days to pay their bill.

Pre-authorized debit payments for water bills issued before April 1, 2020 will be withdrawn on the regular due date and pre-authorized debit payments for water bills issued between April 1, 2020 and October 30, 2020 will be withdrawn on the extended due date.

Additionally, the City has extended the suspension of all water service disconnections until October 30, 2020.

The City has an established water utility bill deferral program to support low income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. More information on the program and how to apply can be found on ottawa.ca.

Outreach to Isolated Seniors

The Good Companions’ Seniors Centre Without Walls has expanded its services with a focus on outreach to vulnerable and isolated seniors and other populations. Emotional and practical support is provided via telephone. In addition, they have trained 20 agencies (32 staff) to do similar outreach calls through various programs.

Rural Ottawa Support Services is working with Good Companions to provide similar telephone outreach and practical supports to isolated seniors through their A Friendly Voice program, which does wellness calls connecting seniors to local services and programs.

Ottawa Community Housing has facilitated wellness check phone calls to approximately 2,700 residents, focusing on people identified on the Fire Evacuation List.

Food Security

Ottawa Food Bank is supporting the emergency food centres and are coordinating with other task force members to sort and deliver food where needed. Demand has increased by 30 per cent across community food banks. They are working with the Salvation Army to support distribution of food hampers offered by local restauranteurs. The City is providing facility space for safe storage of food hampers.

Meals on Wheels has been increasing offers of frozen food for seniors in the Ottawa area and connecting with Ottawa Food Bank to provide hamper supplies and deliveries. Since the COVID- 19 pandemic, they are delivering 100 fresh and 700 frozen meals daily. These services have ensured a supply of full dinners for those individuals in need.

Urgent Transportation

Working with other non-profit organizations, the Good Companions and Champlain Community Support Network are coordinating urgent transportation to medical appointments, assessment centres, and food centres/grocery stores for those with financial constraints, transportation difficulties, and/or health and mobility issues.

Services can be accessed by contacting Good Companions website or by telephone at 613-236- 0428.

Housing Supports for Vulnerable Residents

The Isolation Centre at the Routier Community Centre opened on Monday, March 23, 2020 to provide space for homeless single men and single women who need to self-isolate. The current capacity is 10 beds, with the ability to expand to 40 beds should the need arise. Supports for residents within the centre are being provided by Ottawa Inner City Health and Ottawa Public Health. Currently five residents have been referred to and are staying at the Centre.

Housing Services has secured a 29-room location to provide isolation space for families and youth, which is anticipated to open the week of April 1st.

Housing Services has also identified additional hotel rooms for families currently in the shelter and motel system to promote social distancing, and to increase access to cooking facilities.

Work is also underway with community partners to establish mechanisms to increase food security for families living in hotels/ motels that do not have adequate cooking facilities.

Rooming House Services is conducting visits to each licensed rooming house address, delivering resources from Ottawa Public Health on COVID-19. They are also working with the Parkdale Food Market to deliver 100 frozen meals and bread to rooming house tenants. Staff will continue to coordinate with restaurants and rooming house owners to address food insecurity.

Get the latest updates on COVID-19 from our Public Health Agencies: 

Updates from Ottawa Public Health on COVID-19

Updates from Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on COVID-19

Updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada

Other Resources 

Telehealth Ontario

For medical advice, you may contact Telehealth Ontario, a free, confidential service. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region

Situations like COVID-19 can affect your mental health. Please reach out and ask for help, the Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region is available 24/7 to talk. 

Telephone: 613-238-3311

Note about our Office

Following the lead of the Ottawa Public Health, our office will be working remotely until further notice. Our team will continue to serve you through our social media channels, phone line, and e-mail. We will continue to support resident inquiries and we will be exploring alternative ways of engaging with the community instead of public events. 

Here's how you can continue to contact and engage with us: 

Email is the preferred method of contact for the quickest response. 

March 24

Because most cases are mild and undetected, Ottawa Public Health is urging everyone to practice social distancing. More information on social distancing for you and your family can be found on the Ottawa Public Health website.

Our efforts are needed as a community. The actions you take will affect not only you but your loved ones and our most vulnerable. While we appreciate that people are thinking of their loved ones, now is not the time to visit them in person. Luckily, we have technology on our side which enables us to communicate in other creative ways like video chats and group phone calls.

Now is also not the time for non-essential excursions. We are working to provide greater clarity on what we consider non-essential vs essential businesses here in Ottawa. People should not visit non-essential businesses including but not limited to clothing retail stores, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, gym and fitness facilities, banquet halls and conference centres.

Information sheet (available in multiple languages)

The Ministry of Health has developed an information sheet about the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to inform Ontarians about the virus, how they can protect themselves and what to do if they think they have contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus. The information sheet is available in multiple languages. Visit this link to find information in your preferred language!

Grocery and Delivery Services

(Thank you to Rockcliffe Park Residents Association for providing this list!)

Grocery Stores

Metro offers on-line ordering and delivery through Inabuggy.

Farm Boy restocks shelves daily and has lots of food, but does not offer delivery or online shopping.

Loblaws offers on-line ordering with express pick-up, ideally for seniors or those in isolation. Go to https://www.loblaws.ca/pcexpress and sign in at the top of your screen with a PC ID (or create one). You then drive in to collect your bagged order for a small fee (from McArthur Ave location, 613 744-0705). Loblaws will also deliver your online order go to: https://www.loblaws.ca/delivery and sign up.

Epicuria is open with slightly reduced hours (closed Sunday and Monday). They take telephone orders (613) 745-7356, online orders, arrange for store-front pick-up and deliver. At the shop, they will serve you and no longer let us serve ourselves.

Jacobsons is open daily, 613 746-6002 and offer online shopping too.

Muckleston & Brockwell are open 11:30 am daily, but closed Mondays. They welcome orders and can deliver to your car: 613-745-2244 or andrew@mucklestonandbrockwell.com

Nature’s Buzz has slightly reduced its hours: Mon to Sat 9-6 and Sun 11-5, 613 842 0280

Byward Fruit & Vegetable Market and Saslove’s Meat Market have teamed together to offer telephone shopping and delivery. Call Byward (613.241.6542) or Saslove’s (241.9266) or email bfm1@on.aibn.com to place your order. They will put it together and phone you back for your payment by phone. Then, for a small fee, you get your order delivered.

Bread and Roses is open for take-out only and will close an hour earlier daily, 8 am – 6 pm. Online shopping is available.

Walmart offers online ordering and arranged free pick-up at its Train Yards location. Delivery costs $9.97 on a minimum $50 order, before taxes.

Ottawa Organics is an online-only service that provides organic fruit, vegetables and a lot more. Delivery to your home is on Fridays. Due to a high volume of orders, current order deadline is Monday, 9pm. This deadline is subject to change.

Online Delivery Services

Instacart – Delivery from Staples, Superstore, Walmart, Loblaws, Shopper’s Drug Mart and others.
Inabuggy – Delivery from Metro, Costco, Petsmart, Loblaws, M&M, Canadian Tire and others. Has an app too.

Seniors’-only shopping to reduce risk of exposure

Metro Beechwood, as of Sunday, March 22, offers Seniors’ Hour from 7 – 8 am daily (best to bring ID).

Loblaws (McArthur) offers Seniors’ (65+) Hour from 7 – 8 am daily (no ID required); also for disabled shoppers.

Hess’ Your Independent Grocer, 596 Montreal Rd. offers Seniors’ Hour 7 – 8am daily, with proof of ID being over 65.

Walmart (Trainyards) starting March 23, offers 7 – 8 am week-day shopping for seniors (65+), people with disabilities, and those with vulnerable health conditions.

Prescription deliveries

Guardian Drugs (Beechwood at Crichton) offers telephone prescription fulfillment (749.4444) and free delivery. Deliveries of store and over-the-counter items cost $5 for delivery on orders less than $20, unless you are also buying prescription drugs with the other items, in which case delivery is free. Wednesday is Seniors day (55+) offering a discount of 20% on store items.

The new Beechwood Whole Health Pharmacy at the Kavanaugh Building will fulfill prescriptions and deliver free: 613-842-7455 ask for Peter.

Costco Pharmacy Online takes prescription orders at Costcopharmacy.ca, 24 hours a day. Your order will be delivered free to your home via Canada Post Expedited Parcel, which takes three to five business days. To register for this service, go to https://www.costcopharmacy.ca/Login.aspx

Things to do!

Our friends from the Manor Park Community Association created a list of things to do to stay busy during social distancing, including podcasts and virtual museum tours, art projects and science experiments.

Visit this link for ideas: http://manorpark.ca/covid-19-resources

March 22

COVID-19 Guidance for Multi-Unit Dwellings

What is COVID-19?
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is known to cause infection in the respiratory system. Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms or may not know they have symptoms because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.

Current evidence shows that the COVID-19 virus spreads from person-to-person through direct contact or over short distances by droplets that fall quickly to the ground and do not stay suspended in the air. This includes when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and through prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands. Temporary contamination of surfaces can occur from these droplets or from contaminated hands. At this time, there is no evidence that transmission of COVID-19 through ventilation systems takes place.

It is important to recognize that the COVID-19 situation is evolving very quickly. Please refer to OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus to stay up-to-date on the latest information.

Reducing the Spread of COVID-19
We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recommends that everyone take the following actions:

Reduce the spread of germs including the flu and COVID-19:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands.
• Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand. Even if you do not have symptoms, it is recommended to self-isolate for 14 days if:

• You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).

  • You live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has:
  • Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada.

For more information, visit OPH Self-Isolation webpage.

Practice social distancing by maintaining 2 metres (6 feet) from those around you, to limit the number of people you come into close contact with; for example:

• Avoid groups of people or crowds.

• Take precautions to maintain distance in shared spaces; for example:

o Avoid crowded elevators (wait for an empty one if you can).

o Avoid using the mail room or laundry room at the same time as other residents (keep to a small number at a time to maintain distance).

• Avoid visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other congregate care settings unless absolutely essential.

Visit the OPH social distancing webpage for other suggestions.

To encourage these precautions, we encourage landlords and property managers to post the attached social distancing signage, as well as the signage found on OPH’s website in different languages that address topics such as handwashing and cough etiquette.

Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Encourage residents to check in with others by phone or other technology. Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage residents to reach out to the Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if needed.

Additional recommendations for multi-unit dwellings

OPH recommends the following additional actions in multi-unit dwellings:

• Suspend all non-urgent inspections and repair work, if possible.
• Close all onsite recreational amenities and gathering spaces (e.g. party rooms, fitness facilities, pools), if possible.
• Encourage limited use of public areas for necessary outings and take additional precautions in shared spaces (e.g. lobbies, hallways, mail rooms, laundry rooms).

Take extra precautions to clean and disinfect surfaces as often as possible:
• Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.

• Ensure an adequate supply of water, soap, paper towels for cleaning and disinfectant for sanitizing in spaces such as laundry rooms.

• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces often, at a minimum of twice a day (e.g. buzzer systems/kiosks, doorknobs, hand railing, light switches, elevator buttons, etc.) or as they become visibly soiled.

• Use an appropriate cleaner and disinfectant, as per manufacturer’s instructions.

• Remove items from shared spaces that may be hard to clean or disinfect (e.g. intricate lamps).

For additional cleaning information:
Please consult OPH’s cleaning and disinfection checklist and Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on cleaning and disinfection for public settings for more information.

Supporting each other and our community
We understand that this is a challenging time, but measures like this are needed to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 in our community is limited.


COVID-19 Guidance for Retail Stores – Including Grocery Stores and Pharmacies

What is COVID-19?

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is known to cause infection in the respiratory system. Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms or may not know they have symptoms because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia, and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19, visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.

COVID-19 is most commonly spread person-to-person, from an infected person through:

• Respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
• Close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
• Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands. There is evidence to suggest that, in the right conditions, COVID-19 could survive on surfaces for several days.

Reducing the spread:

To encourage these precautions, please put up the social distancing signage provided to you, as well as the signage found on OPH’s website in different languages that address the following topics:

• Handwashing
• Hand sanitizing
• Cough etiquette and other precautions
• Practising social distancing (ideally 2 metres)

Recommendations for Retail Stores – including Grocery Stores and Pharmacies
As cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is recommending that all stores that remain open should take the following actions:

Support and encourage behaviours to reduce the spread of germs
To reduce the spread of germs, OPH recommends that everyone:
• Wash their hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
• Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth unless they have just cleaned their hands
• Cover their cough and sneeze with a tissue or into their arm, not their hand
• Stay home if they are sick
• Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if they are sick
• Practice social distancing (2 metres or 6 feet apart)

Ensure Social Distancing
The practice of social distancing promotes everyone keeping a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from each other. In order to ensure social distancing, the following steps should be taken:

• Increase the space between employees and patrons at counters by using screens or barriers.
• Limit the number of occupants, including staff, in the store to allow for the maintenance of a 2 metre (6 foot) social distance.
o Ensure line management practices that requires 2 meters (6 feet) social distancing for any patrons waiting outside to enter the store.
• Consider placing markers on the floor at check-out aisles to ensure customers maintain a 2 metre (6 foot) distance from one another.
• Close any seated, dine-in area that may be in the store.
• No sampling product stations should be permitted.

Consider vulnerable populations
• Some businesses have begun a practice where they have dedicated the first hour of operation for customers from vulnerable populations, for customers over 65, or for those with a compromised immune system.
• Other practices for consideration include offering a pre-order/pick-up/delivery model to limit interactions. OPH has guidelines for these measures on our website.

Take extra precautions to clean and disinfect surfaces as often as possible
OPH recommends that grocery stores complete the following enhanced cleaning practices to support infection prevention and control, as COVID-19 is spread by droplets:

• Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.
• Consider disinfecting shopping carts as frequently as possible.
• Ensure an adequate supply of water, soap, paper towels for cleaning and disinfectants for sanitizing.
• Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8- digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces at a minimum of twice a day (doorknobs, hand railing, light switches, etc.) and/or as they become visibly soiled.
• Use an appropriate cleaner and disinfectant, as per manufacturer’s instructions.
• Remove items that are hard to clean and disinfect.

For more information on cleaning and disinfecting, please consult OPH’s cleaning and disinfection checklist as well as the Public Health Ontario guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting non-healthcare settings.

Provide patrons access to hand hygiene stations and supplies
• Ensure that patrons have easy access to handwashing stations, hand sanitizer and washrooms.
• Encourage patrons to wash their hands properly and frequently.

Transactions
• If possible, encourage patrons to pay by debit or credit card (tap if possible) and have staff wipe the machine and use hand sanitizer immediately after each interaction.
• Staff may choose to wear gloves. If they do so, they should practice proper glove use (see below).
• All cashiers should have hand sanitizer at their cashes, if possible.


Practice proper glove use
Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene, as they do not guarantee that food or surface are not contaminated. Gloves should always be worn when a staff member has a break in their skin or has a bandage that is covering a wound.
In the event you are wearing gloves, do so properly.

• Gloves must be used in combination with handwashing.
• Hands should always be washed and/or sanitized prior to putting on gloves and after taking gloves off.
• Change gloves whenever you change an activity, touch your face, or come into contact with an item that may have germs.
• Gloves should be thrown out and not used again once they have been taken off.

Supporting each other and our community
We understand that this is a challenging time, but measures like this are needed to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 in our community is limited. We thank you for the service that you provide to our community.

March 21

Community and Social Services staff are working hard to protect the most vulnerable within the community. As part of our mandate to provide essential services to residents, we are actively assessing the needs of the community during the COVID-19 outbreak and working in collaboration with our community and our partners.

A Human Needs Task Force has been struck as part of the City’s Emergency Management Plan and emergency response to COVID-19, ensuring we are responsive to the emerging needs of the community.

This task force consolidates partners from all sectors, including United Way Eastern Ontario, Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Housing, Ottawa Food Bank, The Good Companions, Canadian Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Ottawa Inner City Health, in addition to representatives from City departments, including Ottawa Public Health.

The scope of the task force is to:

-Plan for future scenarios, with considerations related to food security and vulnerable population needs, including housing, shelter and psychosocial supports.
- Coordinate service sector information related to services being provided, changes to services and emerging issues and needs.
- Raise issues, service gaps and community concerns to staff within Community and Social Services, other City departments and community partners for resolution.

Partner and Stakeholder Initiatives staff are reaching out to the City’s 81 funded community agencies to obtain service delivery updates, assess needs and identify concerns for escalation to the Human Needs Tasks Force.


• Food security
• Outreach to isolated seniors
• Transportation of vulnerable residents to COVID-19 assessment centers and medical appointments
• Volunteer management to support community effort during a pandemic

In terms of food security, the Ottawa Food Bank has confirmed 23 of the 26 food banks are operational. Although contingency plans are in place for two of the food banks that are closed, they anticipate that additional locations will close in the coming weeks due to the lack of volunteers. Mitigation strategies are being developed, including obtaining access to City facilities as pick up locations for hampers, establishing mobile locations and increasing the number of volunteers. Information about how to access Ottawa Food Bank services is updated regularly on their website. If you receive any messages about people interested in volunteering, please direct them to their Volunteer Hub.

Isolated seniors are an emerging priority within the community. We will be working on identifying further support required for seniors. As a result of COVID-19, The Good Companions is no longer open or using volunteers for services. Staff have been redirected to essential programming including telephone-based programs, providing check-in services and transportation services to isolated seniors. In addition, their program Senior Centres Without Walls is ramping up to respond to the emerging needs for transportation to emergency services, medical appointments and shopping, and for delivery of groceries, as well as Meals on Wheels. Please email them directly to access any services. Finally, a need has been identified by our Community Health and Resource Centres around transportation of vulnerable residents to COVID-19 assessment centres and medical appointments. As a result, they are currently working with Ottawa Public Health and other community partners to assess the transportation needs.

As we continue to respond to the needs of the community during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Human Needs Task Force will remain mobilized. They will support regular communication and stakeholder engagement with residents, Councillors, community agencies and City departments, and will escalate inquiries and concerns and make recommendations for increased supports, including service sector involvement.

In addition, through the delivery of City programs and services, staff within the Community and Social Services department are responding to the needs of residents as follows:

Employment and Social Services continues to deliver essential services. Financial assistance may be available to help people meet their basic living expenses. Where no other financial resources are available, emergency financial assistance may be provided during a crisis. It is generally for health-related items, such as:

• Medicine
• Personal care items
• Diabetic, surgical, incontinence and ostomy supplies
• Mobility devices
• Transportation
• Housing-related arrears

Individuals are asked to not visit any Employment and Social Service centre location in person. All requests are to be completed over the phone. Staff will assess which programs residents are eligible for.

Existing clients can also call or email their case workers. In addition, Ontario Works has a service available to clients called MyBenefits. It is an online tool that allows clients to report changes or get information about their Ontario Works case.

Individuals who have applied for Employment Insurance but are waiting for their first payment can apply for Ontario Works Assistance. Staff are currently awaiting direction with any process changes for individuals awaiting Employment Insurance.

Long-Term Care continues to provide services to vulnerable seniors in our four City homes. We are collaborating with Ottawa Public Health, the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care and AdvantAge Ontario to ensure all recommended best practices are in place to promote and support everyone’s safety. The health and safety of staff and residents continues to be the number one priority in all decision making. Only family members of residents at end of life or in palliative care will be permitted to enter the homes. Extensive screening continues for everyone. In addition, Adult Day Programs have been cancelled. Inventories of all personal protective equipment and infection control supplies have been completed and are being increased.

Children’s Services: On March 16, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, recommended the temporary closure of all licensed child care centres, licensed home childcare and Early ON Child and Family Centres in the province. On March 17, Ontario Premier Doug Ford ordered the immediate closure of licensed child care. As a result, all municipal child care centres are temporarily closed, effective March 18. All parents were notified. This order does not apply to home child care providers overseen by licensed agencies or unlicensed home child care providers. Children's Services has reached out to the Ministry of Education for clarity on whether there will be any exceptions to provide child care services for essential staff, supported by Ottawa Public Health.
Housing Services: Housing Services helps people who experience homelessness and those at risk of becoming homeless, through emergency shelters, support services and outreach. Extensive planning and support has been undertaken, including:

• All housing allowance and rent supplement benefits will be released to households one week ahead of normal to assist with household cash flow.

• Social housing providers have been directed that no evictions can occur during the COVID-19 period.

• While the Social Housing Registry is closed to the public, it continues to take phone calls from residents. Protocols are established to ensure Special Provincial Priority household applications for people fleeing domestic violence continue to be received and processed.

• All housing providers, emergency shelters, including off-site services (hotel and motels) and homelessness programs have been asked to submit business continuity plans to Housing Services.

• Housing providers have also been asked to establish phone check-in processes to support their vulnerable tenants, where possible.

• Residents at the City’s family shelter have been provided with Ottawa Public Health information related to COVID-19 and messaging around other precautionary measures. Visitation at the shelter is limited, except for specialized services like the Children’s Aid Society.

• City staff have reached out to hotels and motels that provide temporary emergency accommodation to provide Ottawa Public Health resources for hotel management, staff and clients. Staff are providing ongoing communications to clients at the hotels.

• Staff have connected with all shelter providers to discuss operations and business continuity plans. Providers have also been asked to identify any needs they may have and to track any extraordinary expenses related to COVID-19.

• Ottawa Inner City Health is taking an active role in the shelter system and has a mobile assessment van in operation to visit the shelters on rotation, in addition to having a nurse on call for evenings and weekends.

• The needs identified in the emergency and family shelter system for ongoing operations and potential isolation sites have been communicated to the federal government.

• A temporary isolation centre for individuals who must self-isolate for Covid-19 is required to mitigate the spread of the virus within the shelter environment. Housing Services is working with Ottawa Inner City Health, Ottawa Public Health and Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services to set up an isolation space for the singles shelter system for Monday, March 23 at Routhier Community Centre for those who do not require hospitalization. The City will be consulting with OPH to implement best practices for cleaning and maintaining the centre both as its use as an isolation centre and before it is returned to the City for community use.

• Options through the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, universities and colleges are being explored for families who may require self-isolation due to exposure, symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19.

• Housing Services continues to issue funding to homelessness programs. Some agencies are physically closed, but staff are available by phone for clients. Those that remain open have staggered and reduced staffing, as well as social distancing and strict hygiene procedures in place.

• Staff are supporting and responding to questions and concerns from homelessness service agencies, including the increased potential for partner violence, supply shortages at food banks and a shortage of resources to support clients. This information is relayed to the Human Needs Task Force for resolution.

• Residential services providers have limited visitation at their homes and staff have been providing them frequent communications and updates from Ottawa Public Health.

We recognize the generosity of those looking to volunteer. Currently, we are not seeking volunteers to help with the response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. However, this is a priority area for the City and we are looking at ways to provide opportunities for those who want to support their community. As Ottawa Public Health has suggested, residents can help by checking in with neighbours and friends who may be vulnerable, overwhelmed, lonely or in need of help.

2-1-1 is available for information on the full range of community, social, government and health services and programs available in Ottawa and how to access those services.


City of Ottawa – Children’s Services

Children’s Services understands that child care and early years service providers will continue to have many questions about funding as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 in Ottawa. We continue to review all funding related questions and the provincial guidelines to determine what supports can be provided to families, children and service providers. Should you have questions about this document, please contact us at childrensservices@ottawa.ca and include your Child Care Program Development Specialist on the email.

Child Care Service Providers and EarlyON Child and Family Centres:

1. Will Children’s Services continue to provide the quarterly funding allocations to service providers?
Yes, Children’s Service will continue to provide the quarterly funding allocation as per the contribution agreements for the following, as applicable to service providers:

• Child Care Funding (General Operating, Municipal Health and Safety)
• EarlyON Child and Family Centres Funding
• Provincial Wage Enhancement/Home Child Care Enhancement Funding
• Ontario Works Informal and Special Needs Resource Funding
• Planning and Data Analysis Funding

Children’s Services is seeking additional clarity from the Province on how the Ontario – 2020 Child Care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres Service Management and Funding Guideline can be clarified / adapted to help support families and providers. As more information becomes available, we will communicate directly with service providers by email.

2. Is Children’s Services considering additional financial supports for service providers?

Providers are strongly encouraged to contact their insurance provider to understand if they have coverage for either Business Interruption Insurance and/or Business Continuity under their policy to compensate for revenue lost during the closure period. All providers are encouraged to explore stimulus funding available through the Federal and Provincial Governments.
Additionally, Children's Services is in consultation with the Ministry of Education regarding additional financial supports / flexibility and as more information becomes available, we will communicate directly with service providers by email.

3. Will Children’s Services provide the quarterly funding allocations sooner?

Yes, Children’s Services will issue the second quarter funding payments in early April in an effort to help service providers manage their cashflow.

4. Is Children’s Services considering an extension to current City of Ottawa deadlines for Child Care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres?

Yes, all City of Ottawa deadlines for Child Care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres are being extended by Children’s Services. Service providers can continue to work toward the original deadlines, where possible. As more information becomes available, we will communicate directly with service providers by email.

5. What advice can Children’s Services provide service providers around termination notices, staffing, insurance and legal related matters?

The City of Ottawa as the Service System Manager is not in a position to advise you on how to proceed with staffing questions or questions related to insurance or legal matters. As an employer, you should consult with a lawyer if you are not certain what steps to take in terms of managing staff.

Children's Services is in consultation with the Ministry of Education regarding additional clarity on their guidelines in relation to costs incurred during the closure period and additional financial supports / flexibility. As more information becomes available, we will communicate directly with service providers by email.

6. Can child care service providers charge full fee paying families during the closure period?

The decision to charge families during the closure period is up to the individual service providers. The City of Ottawa, as the Service System Manager, does not have an ability to determine fees nor fee policy for child care programs. Providers are encouraged to communicate to parents their decisions and to support families during this difficult situation.

7. Can Children’s Services provide additional details about the Ministry of Education’s decision to allow home child care providers to continue offering services?

On March 17, 2020, Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency and ordered the closure of all licensed child care centres, and all facilities providing indoor recreational programs including EarlyON Child and Family Centres. The orders will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier. This order does not apply to child care providers overseen by licensed agencies or unlicensed home child care providers.
It is up to individual licensed home child care provider to decide as to whether they will continue to operate; and as independent contractors, home child care providers can decide if they will continue to provide services to families.

Ottawa Public Health is recommending that, where possible, a parent, guardian or caregiver stay at home with their children. Any home child care provider that remains open is asked to follow the guidance for child care settings that was previously provided by Ottawa Public Health.

EarlyON Child and Family Centres (Community-Based EarlyON Capital Funding):

8. Will the Ministry of Education’s deadline of March 31, 2020 for Community-Based EarlyON Capital Funding be extended?

Children's Services is in consultation with the Ministry of Education regarding an extension to the current Community-Based EarlyON Capital Funding provincial spending deadline of March 31, 2020. As more information becomes available , we will communicate directly with service provides by email.

9. Is Children’s Services considering an extension to the current City of Ottawa initiated Community-Based EarlyON Capital Funding attestation due date of April 30, 2020?

Yes, Children’s Services is considering an extension to the current City of Ottawa initiated Community-Based EarlyON Capital Program Funding attestation due date of April 30, 2020.

Child Care Fee Subsidy and Financial Service Unit:

10. Will payments for fee subsidy continue during the closure period?

Yes, service providers with a contribution agreement for fee subsidy will continue to receive their payments for the closure dates related to COVID-19 for March 2020, once attendance is completed. If the legislated closure period is extended beyond March 31st, Children’s Services will reassess this decision and communicate updated information to service providers. To ensure prudent use of tax dollars, Children’s Services will consider multiple factors (e.g., parent fees charged, staff payments, insurance, Provincial / Federal Supports, Provincial Guideline changes / direction etc.) during the closure period to inform decisions.
When submitting the March 2020 attendance, agencies should code the child’s scheduled calendar with “O” for all closure dates due to COVID-19.

11. Are licensed not-for-profit child care service providers required to provide attendance reporting for March 2020?

Yes, the City of Ottawa requires the attendance reporting to provide the March fee subsidy payments to child care service providers. To ensure payments can be made promptly, the attendance is due as per existing deadlines. For closure days due to COVID-19, indicate “O” for other.

12. Will absent days incurred by families in receipt of fee subsidy during the closure period count towards the maximum number of allowable Paid Days Away?

No, paid days away for families in receipt of fee subsidy will not be impacted as a result of the closures. By using the code “O” for the closure days, Paid Days Away will not be affected.

13. Are families expected to pay their parental contribution fees even if child care services are not available and will they be reimbursed?

As per provincial guidelines, families are responsible for the full fee cost of their child care service providers’ operational days, up to the maximum of their approved subsidy fee. Children’s Services is seeking additional clarity from the Province to see if any additional flexibility / support can be provided to families in receipt of a fee subsidy.

For example: If the daily full fee cost of care is $50 and the child care service provider provided child care services for 10 days in March, the total full fee costs is $500. Parental contributions first go towards offsetting the full cost of child care. If a parental monthly contribution is calculated at $600, an account credit of $100 would be issued.

The Financial Services Unit will be issuing account credits to eligible families as a result of services not being available. Families who have a credit balance on their account will be reimbursed using the same method of payment used to make the original payment. All reimbursements are being prioritized and will be completed as quickly as possible. In addition, pre-authorized bank and credit card payments for April 1, 2020 have been temporarily suspended to help support families and will be reassessed as this situation continues to evolve.

March 20

LATEST NEWS – MARCH 20, 2020

Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry

Today, the Prime Minister announced that the federal government is launching Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to Fight COVID-19 to ensure that we can quickly produce, here in Canada, the things we need to prevent the spread of the virus. This initiative will help companies that are already making equipment like masks, ventilators, and hand sanitizer massively scale up production. It will also provide support to those who want to retool their manufacturing facilities to contribute to this fight.

Canada is home to some of the best innovators in the world and with this new initiative, we will harness their talent and expertise to get through these challenging times.

Services for Canadians

The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly and we’re taking measures to ensure we can continue to deliver critical services to Canadians.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’ Client Service Unit will now be moving to email only. Phone services are expected to resume April 2, 2020.

Small businesses

The Business Development Bank of Canada is hosting a webinar on March 25, at 12:00PM. This webinar is for entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to manage their business through this difficult time.

Service Canada

Service Canada provides Canadians with a single point of access to a wide range of government services and benefits. They are committed to improving services for Canadians by working with partners to provide access to the full range of government services and benefits that Canadians want and need through the Internet, by telephone, in person or by mail.

To apply for Employment Insurance (EI), click here. Are you in quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19? You can inquire about your EI application by calling this Service Canada number: 1-833-381-2725.

To help Service Providers provide information regarding Employment Insurance (EI), actions required for maintaining benefits, earnings while on claim and other resources to support return to work endeavors Service Canada will be presenting a 1-hour (no cost) Service Canada webinar on March 24, 2020 at 11AM.  To register for Service Canada webinar, please use Service Canada’s general email address: on-eastern-sc-events-evenements-gd@servicecanada.gc.ca


 

CANADA’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, our government will keep taking necessary actions to prevent the spread, protect our economy, and support Canadians every step of the way. Over the past few weeks, we have been announcing a progressive series of measures responding to current challenges Canadians are facing, and preventing the escalation of economic and health-related problems for the coming days, weeks and months.

Supporting Canadians’ Health 

Our government has undertaken significant communications and public education efforts on COVID-19 to inform Canadians of our measures, in order to help them make informed decisions and to enable them to take action to protect their health and their communities. Canadians have access to information, updated daily, through:

  • The Canada.ca/coronavirus website, which includes information resources that Canadians are able to download concerning the novel coronavirus, as well how to be prepared and how to limit the spread of the virus. 

  • The Government of Canada’s coronavirus information line (1-833-784-4397), which is available from 7:00 a.m. to midnight (EST) seven days a week.

Economic and financial support

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We understand that many Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs are anxious about how to get help in these trying times. Here are a few good places to start:

  1. Visit our government’s website where all the resources you may be looking for are only one click away.

  2. Download the Canada Business App to find tailored supports to address specific needs of SMEs and questions about COVID-19.

  3. Consult the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help businesses prepare in the days and weeks to come. 

  4. Contact your financial institution. Canada’s banks have made a commitment to support businesses and individuals through these difficult times in a responsible, fair, and compassionate way. To help provide some stability for businesses through this time of uncertainty, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer requirement, releasing more than $300 billion of additional lending capacity for Canadian financial institutions.

Helping Canadians abroad 

To help Canadians abroad return home, our government is creating a special financial assistance program, the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. With this program, Canadian abroad who are directly impacted by COVID-19 will have the option of applying for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help secure their timely return to Canada, as well as temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return.

We encourage all Canadians abroad to register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to get the latest updates on the situation at their destination.

Eligible Canadians currently outside Canada who need financial assistance can contact Global Affairs Canada at CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca.

For Your Awareness: Travel Advisories

Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Our government will be denying entry to non-Canadians citizens and permanent residents. This will carve out some designated exceptions including for aircrews, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens.

Our government has also issued a pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice with travel health advice for Canadians.  

All travellers entering Canada are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry with exceptions for workers who are essential to the movement of goods and people. The continued global movement of goods and people and the ongoing delivery of essential services will be important for Canada’s response to COVID-19.

Updates: Province of Ontario and City of Ottawa

These are extraordinary times, and as this situation continues to evolve, one thing remains clear: it’s all hands on deck.

The Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa are also implementing different measures and sharing guidelines to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

For more information on the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health’s measures and recommendations, please visit their website with the latest on the current situation across the city.

The Province of Ontario has enacted a declaration of a state of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public. For more information on this and on the Province of Ontario’s latest measures, please visit their website with the latest on the current situation across the province.

If you are experiencing symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus:

Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, your local public health unit or your primary care provider.

Please do not visit an assessment centre unless you have been referred by a healthcare professional.

Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.

We know that these are stressful times. That’s why it’s important to take the right steps, like staying home and working remotely, to help flatten the curve. And as you do, know that your government is right there with you, every step of the way. We’re in this together.

 

 

March 19

  • On March 13, 2020 the City entered Activated Operations in response to the COVID-19 global
  • On March 17, 2020 the Province of Ontario declared a provincial state of emergency.
  • The City continues to work with Ottawa Public Health and local health partners to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in
  • We are monitoring the spread of the virus and will provide updates when they are
  • ca/Coronavirus is the best source of local information on COVID-19.
  • ca/covid19 is the best source of information for the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City services currently available

  • Property taxes:
    • You can pay online by credit or Visa debit or through your financial institution.
    • You can pay in person by cheque. Ensure that the amount on the cheque reflects the exact amount owing and includes the 19-digit tax roll number shown on your tax bill. Please drop the cheque off in the secure payment box outside the main entrances of:
      • Kanata Client Service Centre at 580 Terry Fox Drive
      • Orleans Client Service Centre at 255 Centrum Boulevard
    • Payments are processed on business days
  • Water bills:
    • Pay online with My ServiceOttawa or through your financial institution.
  • Provincial offences and parking tickets:
    • Call 3-1-1 and follow the
  • Other online services:
  • If you are unable to access City services online, please call 3-1-1 so we can assist

Changes to City facilities and services

  • We ask for your patience as we work through this unprecedented situation. There may be a delay in providing some regular City services. Business continues, but it may not be exactly business as
  • The main foyer at City Hall is open to the public, however only City employees have access to work
  • The Chief Licensing Inspector will extend the renewal dates for licenses expiring in March and
  • Only property standards complaints with immediate health and safety risks and vital services complaints will be
  • The Spay/Neuter Clinic will triage clients before their appointment. If you are sick, caring for someone who is sick or have recently travelled, please reschedule your

Closed City facilities and services

  • The following City facilities and services are closed to the public based on the Ministry of Health’s guidance to limit mass gatherings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
    • All counter services
    • All Ottawa Public Library branches
    • All City of Ottawa client service centres
    • All OC Transpo customer service centres
    • All municipal child care centres
    • Mary Pitt Centre at 100 Constellation Drive
    • Ben Franklin Place at 101 Centrepointe Drive
    • Trail Waste Facility
    • Building Code Services counters
    • Rooming house inspections
    • Taxi inspections
    • All hearings by the Animal Control Tribunal and the Property Standards and License Appeals Committee
    • Interior noise meter readings between 7 am and 11 pm
    • Child car seat inspections
    • CPR/First Aid training sessions
    • Palliative Care Program
    • The Provincial Offences Act All Provincial Offences Act matters scheduled from Monday, March 16, 2020 to Friday, April 3, 2020 will be adjourned and rescheduled. You will receive a notice of your new court date by mail at the address on file with the court.
    • All recreation and cultural facilities, including recreation complexes, community centers, arenas, swimming pools, theatres and
      • Rental fees will be refunded
      • All Active Ottawa fitness memberships will be extended automatically for the duration the facility is closed, beginning March 16,
    • City programs, including March break camps and fitness
      • Program fees will be refunded
    • Performances at the Shenkman and Meridian
    • In-person public consultations, including for the Ward Boundary Review and the Community Safety and Well-being

Public transit

  • OC Transpo is committed to keeping customers and staff
  • Do not use public transit if you have a fever, new cough or difficulty breathing, or if you have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.
  • OC Transpo has taken measures, such as rear-door boarding and exiting, to help protect residents and
  • To protect yourself and others while using public transit:
    • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve, not your
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and
    • When possible, consider social distancing (ideally two metres).
    • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and as soon as possible when you reach your

Parking restrictions

  • All overtime parking, signed or unsigned, will no longer be enforced on residential streets until further notice. This is to encourage and support residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • All other parking restrictions, including, no stopping, no parking, fire route, accessible parking, minimum distance from fire hydrants and no parking on sidewalks to maintain emergency access and traffic flow, remain in effect.
  • Complaints for unauthorized parking on private property now require new electronic procedures for proof of

Long-term care homes

  • Seniors are vulnerable to serious and life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
  • An extensive screening process has been instituted in our long-term care
  • Any visitors or staff who feel ill, have been in contact with someone not feeling well or have recently travelled outside Canada, should not visit to protect their loved ones and their fellow

International travel

  • The Government of Canada recommends avoiding all non-essential travel outside Canada. Upon return to Canada, residents should self- isolate for 14 days from their

Drinking water

  • Ottawa’s tap water is
  • Our water purification plants effectively handle all viruses, including COVID-19, by chlorine disinfection and other physical and chemical processes. We are continuously analyzing and monitoring the water disinfection

Property tax deferral

  • City staff will table an interim property tax payment grace period and new 2020 property tax deferral for Council approval on March 25, or at the earliest available
  • In response to the financial impact of the uncertainty of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, a new 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral program will assist affected small businesses with an assessed property value of up to $ 2.5 million, as well as
  • The program will extend the interim property and final property tax deadlines of March 19 and June 18, respectively, to Friday, October 30,
  • The City has also suspended all water disconnections due to non- payment until further
  • The City has existing property tax and water bill deferral programs for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Under these programs, eligible homeowners can apply for partial or full deferral of their annual property taxes and a deferral of their water utility
  • The City also has a Farm Grant Program that allows farm property owners to move the deadline of the final property tax payment to December 8,
  • For more information, residents can visit: ca/covid19.

March 18

UPDATE FROM CITY STAFF

City staff will be tabling an interim property tax payment grace period and new 2020 property tax deferral for Council approval on March 25, or at the earliest available opportunity, that will help small businesses and residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grace period for interim property tax payment

With the interim property taxes mailed out in mid-February, the City will grant property owners a grace period for payment – late payment penalty will not be applied during the current March 19 deadline to Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The interim property tax bill covers 50 per cent of the entire property tax bill.

Property owners who are enrolled in the pre-authorization debit plan are not affected by the grace period and requires no action on their part.

New 2020 Interim Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program

In response to the financial impact of the uncertainty of this evolving COVID-19 pandemic, a new 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral program is being developed to assist affected small businesses with an assessed property value of up to $ 2.5 million, as well as residents. The program will extend the interim property and final property tax deadlines of March 19 and June 18, respectively, to Friday, October 30, 2020.

To qualify, an account would need to have been paid up-to-date before the interim tax installment.

The application and more details on the program and other qualifying criteria will be available on ottawa.ca after it has been approved by Council – which convenes on March 25.

Water service disconnections suspended

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has suspended all water disconnections due to non-payment until further notice.

Existing deferral and grant programs

In addition to the COVID-19 program, the City has existing deferral and grant programs in place.

Deferral of property taxes and water bills for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities

The City has existing property tax and water bill deferral programs for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Under these programs, eligible homeowners can apply for partial or full deferral of their annual property taxes and a deferral of their water utility bills.

Applying for these programs can be done online via email. Details of the program and eligibility is available on ottawa.ca

Farm Grant Program

This relief program for hard working farmers allows eligible farm property owners to move the deadline of the final property tax payment to December 8, 2020. Details of eligibility and the program can be found on ottawa.ca.

Payment options

Residents have several payment options for property tax and water bills that can be done from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

  • My Service Ottawa portal
  • Telephone and online banking through their financial institution
  • Debit or credit payment online at ottawa.ca
  • Pre-authorized debit
  • Mail

UPDATE FROM OTTAWA PUBLIC HEALTH

“Dear residents of the City of Ottawa,

The past week has seen a very quick escalation from all levels of government in response to the COVID-19 situation. I want to publicly respond to a few common questions and concerns to help provide clarity on our approach at the local level.

As a reminder, please visit our website OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus for local information about COVID-19, including assessment and testing in Ottawa, self-isolation and social distancing. Due to high call volumes please try to not call unless you have read the website first.

Testing and Assessment

The present goals of testing for COVID-19 are to detect the virus in our community and also limit the spread of the virus.  Lab testing helps us estimate cases in the community. For each laboratory-confirmed case related to travel, there is a likelihood that at least an equal number of travel-related cases are undetected.  Based on current confirmed cases, whose onset of illness is in the past, there could potentially be anywhere between 200 to 1000 undetected causes in the community now. We do not yet have laboratory-confirmed community spread, though we do see cases giving rise to cases in close contacts.

With this information, I am communicating to all people in Ottawa that we need to act as if the virus is here, circulating in our community.

The testing isn’t able to track down each case in our community because the mild illness the majority of people experience is not distinguishable from common colds and we cannot test large numbers.  Having a COVID-19 test result or not does not change the actions that individuals in the community need to take – if ill with a respiratory illness, stay home – and for all of us, now is the time to limit our interactions with others as much as possible.

The current COVID-19 testing provides a pulse check and helps us make decisions about our next steps to control the spread of COVID-19. It also helps limit spread COVID-19 by the highest risk cases. Self-isolation and social distancing are effective strategies for slowing the spread at the community level.

Check our website to learn more about when to self-isolate and when to go for testing: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus. You do not need a referral from Ottawa Public Health to get tested for COVID-19. At a high level:

  • If you are a return traveler (including travel to the United States of America) OR have MILD symptoms – you MUST self-isolate. Most people with MILD symptoms will recover at home with no issues. You are helping limit the spread of the virus by staying at home.
  • For now (this may change), our priority is to test people with escalating symptoms AND travel history within 14 days OR close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • We are also prioritizing ruling out COVID-19 in workers, such as health-care workers or Long-Term Care Homes.

In the future, the goals of COVID-19 testing are likely to shift towards being used to limit outbreaks in settings of high risk.  The focus of testing would turn to health care and essential workers, hospitalized patients, long-term care homes, correctional facilities and other situations where the result is helpful to direct public health actions.

Social Distancing

Social distancing refers to creating physical distance between ourselves so that we can limit the spread of the virus. Social distancing by all is IMPERATIVE to limit transmission in the community, to protect vulnerable populations and outbreaks in institutions. We must “flatten the curve” so we don’t see spikes in cases. By this, I mean that we want to slow down transmission of the virus and lessen the number of cases in the community that happen at the same time, so that our health system continues to work properly. Having a sharp increase of cases in a small timeframe will overload our healthcare resources and have more severe impacts on our community. Social distancing is important for everyone at this time, but especially important for our older adult community (55+). Do NOT gather in groups of 10 or more. Practice social distancing.

Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Check in with others by phone or other technology. Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage you to reach out to Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if needed.

Case Management and Privacy

We have received many questions from people who feel they are at risk, including many people expressing concern about being in the same location as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have symptoms of COVID-19.

I would like to clarify a few points:

  • Given the transmission of COVID-19, we are all at risk. Social distancing, proper hand hygiene, not touching your face and self-isolation (when directed) are the best ways to reduce your personal risk at this time.
  • A close contact of a case of COVID-19, is someone who has lived with, provided care for, or spent longer periods of time with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.Case and contact management if a role of public health to help identify who may have been in close contact with a confirmed case. Ottawa Public Health will contact you directly if you have been identified as a close contact.
  • OPH works closely with each confirmed case of COVID-19 to create a list of close contacts that require follow-up. If you have been contacted by Ottawa Public Health, follow the advice provided to you by the nurse.
  • If you have not been contacted by Ottawa Public Health, please do not assume that you are a close contact. Continue to take social distancing and other precautions and,  if needed based on the guidance on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus, follow self-isolation or testing directions.

Regarding privacy, Ottawa Public Health will not comment about any specifics around an individual case of COVID-19. We encourage others to not pursue this information unless an individual issues their own statement to this effect. Ottawa Public Health will contact you directly if you are a close contact.

 The reportable information that we are required to share with the Ministry of Health:

  • Patient age and gender
  • Transmission (community, travel or close contact)
  • Status (self-isolating, hospitalized, etc.)

Fraud concerns

I have been made aware that certain residents have received a phone call asking for credit card information from Ottawa Public Health (OPH). OPH (or any health unit) will not ask you for credit card information. Do not give your credit card information out if you receive a call or message similar to this. Fraudulent activity during a situation like this is deplorable. I encourage you to report it to Ottawa Police Services.  

Gratitude

Thank you to all residents of the City of Ottawa for your ongoing patience and cooperation. We are all in this together, and we need everyone to do their part- whether providing an essential service or staying inside – to be able to slow the curve and protect our health system.

Dr. Vera Etches

Medical Officer of Health

Ottawa Public Health”

March 17

I hope this finds you all well as we continue to adapt to the exceptionally challenging circumstances that have come to Ward 13 and our City. The City's goal has been and continues to be to keep providing required services to residents while ensuring everyone's safety.  To achieve this, please practice social distancing and work from home over the next three weeks, if possible. Rest assured that your municipal, provincial and federal governments are all working together at this time to address the challenges created by the COVID-19 virus.  

Please ensure that the information you read and share online comes from credible sources like Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health or the Public Health Agency of Canada, as the spread of misinformation poses a significant risk to the health and safety of our community. During this time of uncertainty, it is important not to panic. We will get through this pandemic, by working together to flatten the curve, and supporting one another. 

Whether you are practicing social distancing, or self-isolation, please reach out to each other, to your family, friends, and neighbours. 

I want you to know that City staff, the community, along with staff in my office are working hard to support your needs. My office staff are working remotely but are available at rideaurockcliffeward@ottawa.ca and by phone at 613-580-2483 to address your concerns. 

WHAT THE CITY IS DOING 

Please note: in order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health is now recommending that all residents of Ottawa practice social distancing 

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 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) from those around you. 

The priority of the healthcare system is being able to test those who are most in need. Not everyone requires testing. People WITHOUT respiratory symptoms (such as fever or cough) will NOT be tested for COVID-19, regardless of potential exposures. 

On March 16, 2020, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Ministry of Health, has now advised cancelling events or gatherings over 50 people because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He also advised the following establishments should close temporarily (until further notice): 

  • Recreation programs 
  • Libraries 
  • Churches and other faith settings 
  • In person dine-in restaurants and bars - NOTE: except for food establishments that offer take out and/or delivery services 
  • All childcare centres, licensed home childcare and Early ON Child and Family centres 

Other establishments also strongly recommended by Ottawa Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, include: 

  • Nightclubs and after-hours bars 
  • Movie Theatres 
  • Concert and indoor live-entertainment venues 

WHAT WE ARE DOING  

Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 outbreak and following the most up to date advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Ottawa, all staff in the Councillor’s office are currently working from home. We are still actively monitoring calls and emails but may be slightly slower to respond. 

We will be constantly updating our website and social media channels to keep our residents informed as the situation continues to evolve. We also recommend checking the Ottawa Public Health website as all information will be posted there as soon as it becomes available. In addition, please share these resources with friends and neighbours who may not be receiving updates or reach out to our office if you have any concerns. 

For updates from our office: https://www.rideau-rockcliffe.ca/covid_19 

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING 

If you are in need of social services, please call 211. 

Check for national updates here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html 

If you are looking to support your community during this critical time, you can help by checking in with neighbours and friends who may be vulnerable, overwhelmed, lonely or in need of help. It is important to note that if you are volunteering, you could be exposed to the virus. 

Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa are NOT seeking volunteers to help at this time with the response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. We recognize the generosity of those looking to volunteer and thank you for your offer to help as the people of Ottawa deal with the spread of COVID-19. 

If you would like to express interest in being a volunteer, please fill out this form. Should the need arise, we will get in touch with you with more details.  

Phone: 613-580-2483
Address: 110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa, ON, K1P 1J1