The Glengarry News
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Face coverings recommended in tight spots

publisher May 20, 2020 - 2:33pm

As the Ontario government gradually reopens the province, those taking public transit, returning to work or going out shopping are being urged to continue to adhere to public health advice as the best line of defence against COVID-19.
To assist the public, the Ministry of Health today released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible.

Officials are now recommending that individuals wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible, such as on public transit or in a small grocery store or pharmacy.


Wear your face covering safely and snugly to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps. Ensure your face covering is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material and can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape;

Medical masks, such as surgical and N95 masks, should be reserved for use by health care workers, those providing direct care, first responders and individuals who are ill and must leave their home for essential reasons such as seeking medical care, picking up medication or groceries.

Face coverings should not be placed on or used by children under the age of two, anyone who has trouble breathing and anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.

Workers and employers may also consider using face coverings as an additional public health measure in addition to mandatory occupational health and safety measures.

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Schools closed for remainder of year

publisher May 19, 2020 - 2:01pm

Stressing the need to guarantee the safety of students during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario government has confirmed that schools will remain closed for the rest of this school year.

At the same time, the government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

All students who were on track to graduate from secondary school before the initial school closure order was made in March will be able to graduate, and all students will receive report cards.

Later this summer, the government will announce a plan to strengthen learning and safety protocols to enable students and staff to return to in-class instruction for the 2020-21 school year. That plan will be bolstered by an enhanced province-wide virtual learning program that will allow all students to learn, regardless of the challenges that may transpire in the coming months.

Wind farm cancellation quashed

publisher May 14, 2020 - 10:58am

The province's cancellation of the Nation Rise Wind Farm in North Stormont has been quashed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, EDP Renewables Canada Ltd. (EDPR) has announced.

At the same time, the court has reinstated the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) for the 29-wind turbine, 100-megawatt wind energy project.

In its reasons, the Court stated that “this is a case where the Minister’s decision is not reasonable and does not deserve deference. The decision does not meet requirements of transparency, justification, and intelligibility, as the Minister has failed to adequately explain his decision.” The Court concluded, “This is a rare case in which the Minister’s decision should be quashed and the decision of the ERT should be reinstated.”

Given the Court’s decision, EDPR is eager to recommence construction of the Nation Rise Wind Farm.

This delay has resulted in unnecessary expenditures to-date, at a time when governments and businesses should be focused on reducing costs and restarting the economy, the company says.

“EDP Renewables stands behind the benefits of the project and its commitments to the local community,” said Miguel Prado, EDP Renewables North America CEO. “We look forward to the Nation Rise Wind Farm stimulating the local economy in the Township of North Stormont, United Counties of SD&G and the Ottawa region.”

UCDSB postpones graduation ceremonies

publisher May 14, 2020 - 9:14am

The Upper Canada District School Board has postponed graduation ceremonies at all of its secondary schools and at its TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education until June 2021.

Moving the ceremonies to June 2021 will not impact the ability of students to graduate from high school if they have met the diploma program requirements.

"In light of this decision, many of our secondary schools are already exploring a wide range of alternative and suitable ways to celebrate and send off our graduating class of 2020 this spring," says the board.

7 deaths at Plantagenet home

publisher May 11, 2020 - 10:10am

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 at the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Plantagenet has increased to seven as the number of confirmed cases in the region served by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has increased to 130. As of May 10, there were 26 confirmed cases at the Plantagenet home. To date, 3,107 people have been tested at assessment centres.

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12 times slower

publisher May 8, 2020 - 11:37am

This is no shock for rural residents, but new data released by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) show significant differences in the internet speeds experienced by rural and urban Canadians.

The data demonstrate the massive gap in actual, measured internet speeds experienced by Canadian households in rural and urban areas. For example, in April, rural download speeds were nearly 12 times slower than those enjoyed by urban Canadians. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, internet speeds have fallen for rural users, and increased for urban users, effectively widening Canada’s digital divide.

The data was generated by CIRA’s Internet Performance Test and was submitted yesterday into the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) consultation on barriers to rural broadband deployment. Today’s release comes on the heels of a promise by Rural Economic Development Minister Maryam Monsef to speed up rural broadband funding distribution.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of high-quality internet access for all Canadians. Despite this, access to broadband internet remains out of reach for too many Canadians - especially those in underserved regions. It's clear that rural Canadians are facing serious connectivity challenges right now, and are counting on all industry stakeholders to take action to achieve the CRTC's 50/10 objective. The data we released shows a massive gap between the speeds that rural and urban Canadians are receiving - a gap that feels even larger in light of widespread social distancing and working from home. We applaud the government's commitment to helping narrow the broadband gap, and are eager to assist Minister Monsef and her colleagues in getting all Canadians connected as soon as possible," said Dave Chiswell, vice president of product development, CIRA.

Business limits relaxed

publisher May 6, 2020 - 2:12pm

The Ontario government is allowing all retail stores with a street entrance to provide curbside pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores.

As of Friday, May 8 at 12:01 a.m., garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies. Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 9. On Monday, May 11 at 12:01 a.m., retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health's Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements.

Businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines, such as promoting physical distancing and frequent handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contactless payment options to stop the spread of COVID-19.

 

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More businesses opening Monday

publisher May 1, 2020 - 1:48pm

The Ontario government is allowing more businesses to open as of Monday, May 4.

The list includes:

Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only;

Lawn care and landscaping;

Additional essential construction projects that include:

Automatic and self-serve car washes.

Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public.

Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

The province is permitting certain businesses and workplaces to reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We are allowing certain businesses to reopen under strict guidelines because we are confident they can operate safely and adapt to the current environment," said Premier Doug Ford. "While further reductions in the spread are needed before we can begin reopening the province, we have the right framework and the right workplace guidelines in place to do so gradually and safely."

 

Gradual relaunch

publisher Apr 27, 2020 - 2:57pm

The loosening of COVID-19 emergency measures in Ontario will be phased in, while maintaining safety and restarting the economy, the government says.

The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.

Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.

To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including:

A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

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Please, be patient

publisher Apr 24, 2020 - 12:52pm

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is reminding the public that in order to continue slowing the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to keep practising physical distancing, and to stay at home as much as possible. With COVID-19 circulating within the community, it also means self-isolating for anyone feeling unwell.

“After more than a month of physical distancing and staying home, it’s not unusual to be experiencing some restlessness,” acknowledges Dr. Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “I understand that it’s difficult on everyone – kids, adults, businesses and communities. But physical distancing and staying at home are working. The spread of COVID-19 is finally beginning to slow.”

Because most Ontarians have been following public health advice, the province is starting to see the benefits of the closures and restrictions that have been in place. There are signs the curve of COVID-19 infection in Ontario may be flattening. This is true in the EOHU region as well. But to continue the trend and avoid a surge in new infections, it is critical to continue following public health advice.

“We’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. But what we do today will impact how long we have to keep public health measures in place, including staying at home, event cancellations, and closures of schools, facilities and businesses,” says Dr. Roumeliotis. “Every day that we follow these measures gets us closer to being able to relax restrictions.” He warns that lifting restrictions too soon will likely result in an increase in COVID-19 spread and a return to strict measures to bring it back under control.

He made the comments after the first case of the virus was confirmed in an area nursing home.

An employee at the Pinecrest facility in Plantagenet is now self-isolating.

The Prescott-Russell Emergency Services tested 114 patients and staff April 23.
 
“All the residents and staff tested were asymptomatic, meaning that they did not demonstrate or produce any symptoms of COVID-19,” explained Marc-André Périard, director of the services. “These tests were performed by our community paramedics, who were able to complete this task within a three-hour period.”
 
The results of these tests are currently pending results. Should any of the tests reveal positive cases, the UCPR community paramedics will be able to support the treating physicians and help ease symptoms if they were to occur.

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Nursing home employee tests positive

publisher Apr 24, 2020 - 7:58am

An employee at the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Plantagenet has tested positive for COVID-19, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis has confirmed.

The employee is now in self-isolation.

So far, none of the residents has tested positive for the coronavirus.

As of April 23, there were 75 confirmed cases in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, Prescott-Russell and Cornwall.

There were no deaths, four patients were hospitalized, two were in intensive care, 36 cases had been resolved and 1,489 people had been tested at assessment centres.

Of the total, 45 patients are from Prescott-Russell, 16 from SDG and 14 from Cornwall.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is reminding the public that in order to continue slowing the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to keep practising physical distancing, and to stay at home as much as possible. With COVID-19 circulating within the community, it also means self-isolating for anyone feeling unwell.
“After more than a month of physical distancing and staying home, it’s not unusual to be experiencing some restlessness,” acknowledges Dr. Roumeliotis. “I understand that it’s difficult on everyone – kids, adults, businesses and communities. But physical distancing and staying at home are working. The spread of COVID-19 is finally beginning to slow.”

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Prescott-Russell to build slaughterhouse

publisher Apr 23, 2020 - 12:26pm

Construction is scheduled to begin next year on an “innovative food hub” to be established by the United Counties of Prescott-Russell in partnership with the private sector.
The UCPR will build a federal slaughterhouse, with food processing and distribution capacities, in order to meet the needs of regional and national markets.
A call for tenders to find private sector partners will be issued shortly. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2021 and the opening is planned for the fall of 2022.
The  location of the $36 million project, which will create 65 jobs, will be unveiled shortly.
“It is time for municipalities to launch innovative projects that will generate new revenue streams that will help cover municipal expenses with funds other than government subsidies and property taxes. Furthermore, the UCPR will be the majority shareholder of this agri-food company,” stated UCPR Warden Pierre Leroux.
 This business model, unique in Canada and perhaps worldwide, is modelled in part on American food hubs where producers send their cattle to slaughter, after which they are packaged and distributed in a predetermined market. This project is unique here because all types of meats and vegetables will be processed.
Research has also confirmed that retailers and consumers are increasingly interested in buying quality and traceable local products. The food hub will therefore take the lead in the recovery and revival of agri-food in the region, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic.
 “We have learned from the current pandemic situation,” added Stéphane Sarrazin, Chair of the UCPR Economic Development and Tourism Committee. “Due to the increasing uncertainty across international markets, food self-sufficiency has become more important in terms of availability, freshness and traceability.”
The UCPR’s Food Hub will further the success of existing local food counters in retail stores. It will meet the needs of red and white meat producers as well as vegetable growers, who will overcome the challenges of production and processing and ensure the growth of their businesses. The food hub will eliminate the uncertainty of sales, reduce food waste, and will favour the creation of new products during the processing stage, the counties say.
 
 

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