November 20, 2020 newsletter from Rawlson King, City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe.
Last week, OPH published a report looking at where the transmission of COVID-19 is occurring in Ottawa. To look more closely at the impact of Stage 3 reopening on the spread of the virus, OPH analyzed the data collected from Ottawa residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 to find sources of infection and chains of transmission in our community.
Common risk factors identified in the report include:
- Socializing outside of one’s own household where talking, eating and drinking was involved – whether that occurred in homes, bars and restaurants, patios or parks (indoors or outdoors).
- Close contact in small spaces during social and workplace settings– indoors at home and in sports venues, small poorly ventilated spaces such as locker rooms, cars, meeting rooms, and break rooms.
- Inadequate/inconsistent mask use when interacting with people outside of one’s own household in crowded environments and where physical distancing is not maintained – when socializing, coaching, teaching or caring for friends, family, students or clients.
These locally identified risk factors align with what the World Health Organization has identified as the ‘Three Cs’ where COVID-19 spreads more easily, particularly when all three overlap:
1) crowded places with many people nearby;
2) close contact setting with close-range conversations; and,
3) confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
The full report can be found here.
Seeking feedback from residents
OPH and the City of Ottawa are continuing to explore how best to support residents and businesses as provincial and local COVID-19 restrictions are modified, while aligning with the Province of Ontario’s Response Framework to Help Keep the Province Safe and Open.
This is the fourth phase of the public engagement strategy since the beginning of the pandemic. Reports and findings from the first three phases are linked below.
Update on the 2020 flu vaccination campaign
This year, Ottawa Public Health’s influenza (flu) vaccination campaign had to be modified from past years as a result of COVID-19. Ottawa Public Health’s fixed site clinics have been fully booked since opening in October, and within the first two weeks of being open the number of Ottawa residents vaccinated by OPH has surpassed the total number of residents who received the influenza vaccination last year. OPH has communicated to the province that we are aiming to vaccinate more people than in previous years and that the local demand for vaccine remains high.
As noted last week, OPH has distributed all the doses of the high-dose trivalent (HD-TIV) vaccine for those 65 years old and older that were allotted to OPH for the 2020-2021 Universal Influenza Immunization Program. The Ministry of Health has also informed OPH that Ontario has received 100% of its order for the high-dose trivalent inactivated vaccine for older adults and that all of the doses have been distributed by the Ontario Government Pharmaceutical and Medical Supply Service (OGPMSS). No additional doses of the high-dose trivalent vaccine are anticipated to be provided to OPH or other health units in Ontario at this time. Please note that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has stated that there is insufficient evidence to make a preferential recommendation between HD-TIV and QIV for people 65 years and older. Both vaccines are effective and recommended for seniors. The most important thing is for seniors to get the vaccine that is available in their location without delay.
For more information about influenza immunization, please refer towww.ottawapublichealth.ca/flu.
OPH has heard concerns and apprehension from many in the community about the upcoming winter months. There is no doubt that the coming months will be some of the most difficult of the pandemic as winter weather forces more of us inside and we are presented with less opportunities to socialize safely. With shorter days, longer nights and temperatures below 0, it is imperative that we look after our mental and physical health while being COVIDWise. Outdoor activities are good for both physical and mental health and usually carry a lower risk of COVID transmission than indoor activities. For this reason, OPH has developed a poster that can be printed or shared online highlighting a few ways residents can stay physically healthy and enjoy the outdoors during the winter months.
We ask all residents to please consider their own risk factors before participating in any outdoor group activity. For an older person or someone with chronic medical problems, the best decision may be to not participate in group activities at all and instead focus on individual activities, like walking. OPH recommends the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to all persons wishing to better understand their personal risks for COVID-19 infection.
Winters in Ottawa can be tough and OPH recognizes that not all residents have the same supports or access to winter activities or winter appropriate clothing. This year, OPH is strongly encouraging those in our community who have new or gently used winter clothing, boots and accessories to please consider donating to local non-profits to help ensure winter activities are available to as many residents as possible.
On Thursday, November 19 Ottawa’s COVID-19 Testing Taskforce, led by sector partners, opened a new COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre at the National Arts Centre (NAC). The drive-thru testing is available for those 14 years of age and older, by appointment only with a valid Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card. The new centre is open seven days a week, 10 am to 6 pm. Appointments can be booked online or by calling 613-737-8193. Please note the Drive-thru Assessment Centre at Coventry Road has been closed.
New Official Plan
The draft New Official Plan is now available for review on the New Official Plan website.
On the website, you will find the different sections of the draft, a series of one-pagers on key topics, as well as a series of feedback forms.
The feedback forms include quick poll questions and a short open-ended question on that particular topic.
You are welcome to select the topics that are of interest to you. Note, we recognize there are a lot to choose from, but you will have until February 17, 2021 to complete these. Feel free to take your time.
If you have additional comments, or you require some assistance in completing these, you are always welcome to email [email protected].
Update from our Roads Team
Residents often wonder what our Roads and Parking staff do when it is not snowing. Depending on the season, there are times when the snow, freezing rain and freeze thaw cycles keeps our teams in their vehicles - clearing snow and ice around the clock for weeks on end. During those times, our primary focus is on keeping roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network safe for residents.
When there is a lull in weather events, our staff do not stop - instead using the opportunity to be proactive in our operations. This week, with warmer weather on our side, staff have been:
- Equipping our vehicles with their winter equipment including plow blades, wings and snow edges;
- Doing minor repairs on vehicles and around our Yards so we start the season on the right foot (or tire!);
- Training our staff on new equipment or to use new tools that are unique to winter;
- Providing additional opportunities for staff to refresh their skills on winter equipment;
- Filling our salt and sand domes with material so we’re ready for ice, snow or a combination of both;
- Educating the public about our operations so they know what to expect in winter; and
- Filling potholes and doing roadway repairs ahead of winter.
These activities will continue throughout the winter though at varying levels as our first priority is always maintaining safe roads, sidewalks and cycling network.
Working During COVID-19
Like everyone, our team has had to adjust to a new way of doing business during a pandemic. We’re changing some of the ways we operate to ensure additional staff and resident safety. We’ve been working hard to prepare for a pandemic winter by:
- Supporting staff with new resources/cleaning tools to manage their work in a COVID-19 environment;
- Exploring additional locations for resident parking during a winter weather parking ban when so many people are working and learning from home;
- Reviewing our snow clearing and treatment practices to support residents who may be out walking more in their local communities during COVID-19; and
- Keeping our staff safe so they can continue to deliver the critical services residents rely on during the winter months.
These are challenging times for all. We know we are not alone in changing our work practices due to COVID-19 or adapting to changing seasons. What we do want you to know is that we are ready for winter, and we are committed to keeping residents as safe and as prepared as possible for winter driving, cycling and walking this year.
Winter Maintenance Quality Standards Review
223.5 cm (or just over 7 feet for those who still use imperial measurements)! That’s the normal snowfall for the season in Ottawa. When that 223.5 cm starts to fall and accumulate, the City’s winter maintenance quality standards (WMQS) dictate when staff and equipment are mobilized to begin clearing the streets and sidewalks to keep drivers, pedestrians and cyclists safe.
The City’s current WMQS were adopted in 2003 and a great deal has changed since then. City policies and plans have evolved, and we have many new and improved transportation options, from the LRT to cycle tracks and more sidewalks on local streets. The result is a shift away from single drivers in vehicles to increased use of public and active transportation (walking, biking, roller blading, etc.).
The WMQS Project Team is also reviewing how the City can progressively plan the winter maintenance quality standards to accommodate for climate change; according to a recent study commissioned by the City and the National Capital Commission, winters could be four weeks shorter by the 2030s with far more freeze-thaw cycles between December and February, and fewer "deep freeze” events. This would have an impact on ice build-up, particularly on residential roadways, sidewalks and bike lanes. Accessibility, diversity, sustainability, safety and healthy living will also be reviewed as these weren’t considered when the current standards were drafted.
Between now and early 2021, the WMQS Project Team will be reviewing and developing new options for winter maintenance and they want to hear from you! For more information on the WMQS Review Project and ways to get involved please visit engage.ottawa.ca/wmqs
Crime Prevention Ottawa is Recruiting for BOTH our Board of Directorsand our Community Forum
What is the Board of Directors?
Crime Prevention Ottawa is governed and guided by a Board of Directors which is responsible for setting strategic direction, assuring sound financial management and hiring an Executive Director. The Board of Directors includes up to 20 members. It is a mix of community and institutional representatives. We seek to be reflective of the community of Ottawa.
What is the Community Forum?
Ottawa residents can make a difference in their community by becoming a volunteer member of Crime Prevention Ottawa’s Community Forum. The Community Forum is an advisory body. It gives feedback to the Board of Directors with regard to planning and operations and advises with regard to emerging issues in the community, priorities and successes.
Who is eligible?
Residents of the City of Ottawa who are 18 years of age or older are eligible for appointment. Individuals who reside outside of the city may be eligible if they have made a significant contribution to the Ottawa community.
How do I apply?
Please submit a one-page letter of application outlining your qualifications, specific skills, interests and background. You may apply to both the Community Forum and the Board of Directors, though we ask that you please indicate which stream you’re interested in. Applications may be submitted by electronic mail. Please submit your application by December 31, 2020 to: [email protected]
True Sport Community Grant Application
The Ottawa Sport Council is pleased to announce the Ottawa Sport Council Foundation: 2020 True Sport Community Grant. The Ottawa Sport Council Foundation is a Charitable Endowment fund established in partnership with the Ottawa Community Foundation and the True Sport Foundation with the goal of providing support to Ottawa Community Sporting Organizations.
The focus of the 2020 Fund will be to assist in COVID-19 recovery efforts to ensure an Ottawa community sport organization can continue to support inclusivity for underrepresented populations in their existing programs and to promote the seven True Sport Principles within their organization. (Go For It, Play Fair, Respect Others, Have Fun, Stay Healthy, Include Everyone, Give Back).
Who Can Apply?
Incorporated not-for-profit organizations that offer sport programs in Ottawa and have operated and been incorporated for at least one year in Ontario.
All applications must be submitted no later than Friday November 27, 2020 at 17:00.
Application details are available at 2020 Ottawa Sport Council Foundation Fund
- Highway 174 – The following closures will be in place for Stage 2 LRT roadwork:
- The westbound on-ramp from westbound Montreal Road will be closed until Monday, November 23 at 5 am.
- The westbound off-ramp at Montreal Road will be closed from Thursday, November 19 at 8 pm until 5 am on Monday, November 23.
- Westbound Highway 174 will be closed between Jeanne d’Arc Boulevard and Montreal Road from Friday, November 20 at 8 pm to 5 am on Monday, November 23.
- On Sunday, November 22 Line 1 will be partially closed, with trains operating between Tunney’s Pasture and Hurdman Stations, and frequent R1 replacement bus service operating between Hurdman and Blair Stations, with full service resuming on Monday November 23; and,
- On Sunday, November 29 Line 1 will be completely closed and R1 bus service will be operating frequently along the entire alignment. Light rail service will resume at all Line 1 stations Monday, November 30.