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Algae alert

publisher Sep 7, 2020 - 4:13pm

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) would like to advise the public that potentially harmful algae blooms (cyanobacteria), also known as blue-green algae, have been reportedly found in local rivers and lakes recently. The EOHU advises people using surface water for recreation or drinking to become familiar with potentially harmful algae so they can make informed decisions on when to avoid contact with the water.

Blue-green algae occur naturally world-wide and thrive in warm, shallow, undisturbed water that receives a lot of sunlight and that is rich is phosphorus and nitrogen. Animal and human waste and fertilizers containing these chemicals can contaminate water, which amplifies the growth of blue-green algae.

Some species of cyanobacteria produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals. Toxins can irritate the skin and if ingested, can cause diarrhea and vomiting. At high enough levels, including from long-term exposure, the toxins may cause liver and nervous system damage.

The EOHU encourages people using lakes and rivers to watch for algae blooms. Dense blue-green algae blooms may make the water look like pea soup and can appear as shades of blue, blue-green, yellow, brown, or red. When a bloom is very large, algae may form solid-looking clumps. Fresh blooms often smell like newly mown grass; older blooms smell like rotting garbage.

If you live near where a bloom is suspected, detected, or where a bloom is visible, follow these safety measures:

  • Do not use the water for drinking, food preparation, bathing, or showering.
  • Do not allow children, pets, or livestock to swim in the water or drink the water.
  • If skin contact does occur, wash with soap and water or rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove the algae.
  • Do not boil the water. Boiling will not remove the toxins and may release more of the toxin into the water.
  • Do not cook with the water because food may absorb toxins from the water during cooking.
  • Do not rely on water jug filtration systems, as they do not protect against the toxins.
  • Do not treat the water with a disinfectant such as chlorine bleach. This may break open algae cells and release toxins into the water.
  • Avoid eating fish caught in affected water.
  • The liver, kidneys, or other organs of fish caught in affected water should not be consumed.

West Nile virus case

publisher Aug 20, 2020 - 9:52am

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is confirming the summer’s first human case of West Nile virus in the region. To date, there have been no pools of mosquitoes in the EOHU territory that have tested positive for the disease, however the positive human case indicates that it is present in the local mosquito population.
“This first human case of the summer shows that West Nile virus remains a concern in our area,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “Residents should be aware and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.”
West Nile virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. For most people, the risk of illness from West Nile virus is low. However, it can cause serious illness in others.

 

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2 fatal crashes

publisher Aug 17, 2020 - 2:23pm

Two people were killed in two early-morning single-vehicle accidents in Champlain Township on the weekend.
Joanne Gowan, 54, of Alfred-Plantagenet, was pronounced dead at the scene of an August 16 crash which occurred at about 3:30 a.m. August 16, on Ritchance Road, just east of Blue Corner Road.
The victim was alone in the vehicle when it left the roadway and entered the ditch, reports the Hawkesbury Ontario Provincial Police detachment.
In an August 15 accident, Fanny Dallaire, 21, of Vankleek Hill, was pronounced dead at the scene of a rollover which occurred shortly after 1 a.m on County Road 17, just east of County Road 4. She was also alone in the vehicle when it left the road and rolled over in a ditch.
Anyone who witnessed the collisions or has any information that may assist investigators is asked to contact the Hawkesbury OPP at 613-632-2729.

 

Pandemic money

publisher Aug 13, 2020 - 8:52am

Area municipalities will receive emergency assistance from the federal and Ontario governments to help them deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among those receiving aid are North Glengarry ($295,200), South Glengarry ($360,200), North Stormont ($176,700) and the United Counties of Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, $1,762,300.
In the fall, Ontario's 444 municipalities will receive $695 million in Phase 1 funding to help address municipal operating pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will be allocated on a per household basis and will be shared 50/50 between upper- and lower-tier municipalities. Up to $695 million in additional funding will be available through Phase 2 to eligible municipalities after municipalities have provided the province with information on their estimated COVID-19 related financial pressures.
“The success of Ontario's municipalities is vital to our province's economic recovery,” said Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell, who is also Parliamentary Assistant to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark.
“We've been working in partnership with municipalities from day one to understand the financial impacts of COVID-19, and this historic agreement will ensure they have the funding needed to address their most urgent local priorities.”

 

Farmers' information to be released

publisher Aug 11, 2020 - 3:05pm

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO) and the National Farmers Union have been forced to reveal the names of all Farm Business Registrants in response to the freedom-of-information (FOI) request.
“As an organization, we are disappointed in the decision of OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) to disclose the farm business names of FBR registrants in Ontario,” said Keith Currie, OFA President. “We are concerned about the safety and security of our farm businesses and the serious risk this poses to them.”
OMAFRA has advised all three general farm organizations in the province that it intends to release the business names of FBR registrants but withhold the FBR number portion of the record. The names will be released to the person who submitted the FOI request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
“Only 3% of farmers consulted by OMAFRA agreed to the release of their information,” said Don Ciparis, NFU-O President. “This is an unacceptably low consent rate on which to base an FOI decision.”
Although OMAFRA has chosen to withhold the FBR number information, they received expressed consent from 15 farm businesses to release both the farm business name and FBR number to the requester.
“Jointly, our farm organizations strongly oppose the release of this information as it has the potential to greatly impact the health, safety and security of our farm operations,” stated Mr. Currie.
That sentiment was echoed by a substantial number of Ontario farmers who voiced their input and concerns to OMAFRA’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Coordinator throughout the comment period. The overwhelming response from farmers was to oppose the requested disclosure of FBR information.
The process includes the right to appeal and all three general farm organizations expect to exercise that right. OFA, along with CFFO and NFU-O, intend to file their own formal appeal of the decision in an effort to protect the privacy and security of all Farm Business Registrants. These farm organizations will act on behalf of Ontario farm businesses in an attempt to prevent the exposure of this information.

Outbreak at Manor

publisher Jul 31, 2020 - 8:46am

A COVID-19 outbreak at Maxville Manor has been declared following a positive test among staff, says the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
All residents and staff are being tested, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, adding that there is no evidence the disease is spreading.
There are now 178 positive cases in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry and Prescott-Russell.
In May, an outbreak was declared at the Maxville long-term care facility when a resident tested positive. But that same person later tested negative.

 

Rabies alert

publisher Jul 31, 2020 - 8:38am

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is reporting that two bats in the region tested positive for rabies last week. While there have been no reports of rabies in a human, the EOHU is reminding residents of eastern Ontario to take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Rabies is a transmittable and deadly virus carried by infected bats and other mammals. It can be spread to humans and other animals through the saliva of an infected animal – primarily via bite wounds. It can also be spread when infected saliva comes into contact with a scratch, open wound or mucous membranes, such as those in the mouth, nose or eyes.

In order to protect the community, it’s required by law that all dogs and cats three months of age or older be vaccinated against rabies. Even indoor pets must get the rabies vaccine regularly because bats can enter any residence.

The EOHU also recommends the following measures to protect your family and pets from rabies:

  • Don’t let your pets roam free outdoors.
  • Attempt to keep bats from getting inside your home.
  • Teach children not to touch wild animals or pets they don’t know.
  • Avoid wild or domestic animals that are behaving strangely.
  • Keep a safe distance from wild animals, even if they look healthy.
  • Report all animal bites to the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120.

If you come across an injured animal when outdoors, do not touch it or bring it into your home to try to nurse it back to health. While it may be tempting to do so, it’s safer to call animal control and let them handle the situation.

If you or a loved one is bitten by an animal, contact your family physician or the emergency department as soon as possible and then report the bite to the EOHU. The EOHU will investigate and determine if rabies post-exposure treatment is necessary.

For more information on rabies, visit the EOHU’s website at www.EOHU.ca or call 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120.

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Livestock exchange employee killed

publisher Jul 30, 2020 - 11:16am

The Regional Coroner's Office and the Ministry of Labour are investigating the death of an employee at the Vankleek Hill Livestock Exchange who died after being struck by a bull Monday evening.

The 55-year-old man from Champlain Township succumbed to his injuries following the incident that occurred July 27 at around 5:30 p.m.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information that may assist investigators is asked to contact the Hawkesbury OPP at 613-632-2729.