The Glengarry News
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Schools to remain closed after break

publisher Apr 12, 2021 - 8:43pm
 
The Ontario government has decided to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning following the April break. This move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions, the province says.
"We are seeing a rapidly deteriorating situation with a record number of COVID cases and hospital admissions threatening to overwhelm our health care system," said Premier Doug Ford. "As I have always said we will do whatever it takes to ensure everyone stays safe. By keeping kids home longer after spring break we will limit community transmission, take pressure off our hospitals and allow more time to rollout our COVID-19 vaccine plan."
With appropriate measures in place, schools have been safe places for learning throughout the pandemic, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health and have demonstrated low rates of in-school transmission. However, increasing rates of community spread pose a threat to the health and safety of school communities. As a result, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the April break on April 19, 2021. Private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15, 2021. This action is being taken in support of the Government's broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and health officials will be consulted to determine when it will be safe to resume in-person learning.
Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided. To protect the most vulnerable, boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.
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Half vaccinated by May?

publisher Apr 9, 2021 - 11:07am

About 40 to 50 per cent of the adult population in Eastern Ontario could be vaccinated against COVID-19 within four weeks, if all goes as planned.

That assessment comes from Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, who during a press briefing Thursday related that he expects 67,000 out of approximately 170,000 people to be vaccinated in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit jurisdiction will have received a first dose within a month.

Despite some "bugs" in the provincial booking system, "For the first time, I have been getting multiple positive remarks" from those who have attended area vaccination clinics, Dr. Roumeliotis remarked.

 

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Stay-at-home order; schools stay open

publisher Apr 7, 2021 - 3:55pm

Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the Ontario government is imposing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise or for work that cannot be done remotely.

However schools will remain open under the latest restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The province is:

  • Limiting the majority of non-essential retailers to only operate for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm, and other restrictions;
  • Restricting access to shopping malls to limited specified purposes, including access for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, with one single designated location inside the shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall, along with other restrictions;
  • Restricting discount and big box stores in-person retail sales to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only;
  • Permitting the following stores to operate for in-person retail by appointment only and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.:
    • Safety supply stores;
    • Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies;
    • Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
    • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
    • Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
    • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; and
    • Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support.
  • Permitting outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public, to operate with a 25 per cent capacity limit and a restriction on hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The government says that keeping schools and child care open is critical to the mental health and well-being of Ontario children and youth. Schools and child care will remain open for in-person care and learning in public health regions where it is permitted, with strict safety measures in place.

New economic development officer

publisher Apr 7, 2021 - 3:27pm

Natalie Charette will be joining the Township of North Glengarry as its new Economic Development and Communications Officer effective April 19, taking over from Tara Kirkpatrick who is now the Manager of Economic Development at the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. 

Ms. Charette graduated from Char-Lan District High School in Williamstown and went on to complete a BA with a Major in Communications from the University of Ottawa. Shortly after graduating she joined Carnival Cruise Lines where she was able to combine her love of travel, warm weather and sparkling beaches, with a fast paced work environment and meeting new people. 

On her return to dry land, Ms. Charette worked as a Program Coordinator for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, recruiting volunteers, organizing Jump Rope for Heart Days in schools, and building relationships with local businesses in order to support community fundraisers. 

Afterwards, she held positions with the Township of South Glengarry as Communications Officer for Administrative Services, as well as Program Facilitator and Program Coordinator for the Recreation Department.

60 and over vaccinations start April 7

publisher Apr 6, 2021 - 4:30pm

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has announce that starting April 7, residents 60 years of age and older can book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment using Ontario’s online booking system at www.Ontario.ca/bookvaccine

Individuals who require assistance with booking can call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488.

All remaining individuals listed within the province’s Phase 1 priority populations who have not yet been vaccinated or not yet booked an appointment are asked to pre-register using the EOHU online pre-registration tool at www.EOHU.ca/register. Pre-registration facilitates booking appointments quickly and easily as vaccine supply increases and more appointments become available.

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"Emergency brake"

publisher Apr 1, 2021 - 2:17pm

The Ontario government is imposing a provincewide "emergency brake" as a result of an alarming surge in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The new measures will be effective Saturday, April 3, at 12:01 a.m. and will be in place for at least four weeks.

Ontario's key indicators and latest modelling show that additional measures must be taken. From March 26 to 28, 2021, provincial case rates have increased by 7.7 per cent to 101.1 cases per 100,000 people. Current COVID-19 related ICU admissions are already over the peak of wave two and hospitals in regional hotspots will need to further ramp down scheduled surgeries. COVID-19 related ICU admissions are projected to exceed 650 beds in a few weeks. These increases are being driven by COVID-19 variants, which are transmitted easily and result in a higher risk of death and hospitalization, including in younger populations.

Measures include, but are not limited to:

Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.

Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures;

Prohibiting personal care services;

Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only;

Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions;

Requiring day camps to close; and,

Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

“With more than $1.6 billion invested to protect against COVID-19, schools remain safe for students and staff,” the province says. “Keeping schools open is critical to the mental health and well-being of Ontario youth. During the emergency shutdown, schools will remain open for in-person learning with strict safety measures in place. The spring break will continue as planned for the week of April 12. In order to support working families, child care will remain open during the shutdown. Child care settings will continue to adhere to stringent health and safety measures so that they remain safe places for children and staff."

 

 

 

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Vaccines at area drugstores

publisher Apr 1, 2021 - 11:40am

Pharmacies in Hawkesbury, Embrun and Winchester are among the 350 additional drugstores administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals aged 55 and over, with some offering the vaccine as early as April 3. Shots are available at the Jean Coutu store in Hawkesbury, the Remedy's Rx in Embrun and the Seaway Valley Pharmacy in Winchester. Appointments must be made in advance. For details visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations

One arrest as police investigate hospital deaths

publisher Mar 26, 2021 - 1:44pm

One person has been arrested as the Hawkesbury detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police investigates a number of suspicious deaths at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital.

The investigation, being carried out under the direction of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch, is in its initial stages. Members of the OPP Forensic Identification Services Unit are assisting with the case.

Currently there is no risk to public or patient safety and the routine activity at the hospital will not be affected by the investigation.

The OPP will release more information when it becomes available.

 

5 deaths at Hawkesbury General

publisher Mar 25, 2021 - 4:25pm

Five people have died due to COVID-19 at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital (HGH), where a second outbreak was declared today (March 25).

As of 11 a.m. today, there were 16 admitted patients and five staff who had tested positive for the virus.

“My heart goes out to the family of the deceased and everyone who has lost a loved one to COVID-19. We have learned a lot throughout this past year about managing this deadly virus. Our medical and nursing teams are working hard to manage this outbreak. As we see an increase of COVID-19 in the community, we must all do our part and use extreme caution to stop the spread of this virus,” said Chief of Staff Dr. Julie Maranda.

Chief Executive Officer, Marc LeBoutillier said: “We are saddened by this news. Delivering safe quality care is part of our mandate and commitment to the community. We continue to reinforce infection control practices to ensure the safety of our patients, our employees and physicians. Once again, I want to thank our staff, physicians and management team for their ongoing dedication as we manage the current situation.”

The first outbreak was declared March 17.

Red March 29

publisher Mar 24, 2021 - 3:50pm

With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit jurisdiction will

return to Red zone status March 29, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis has confirmed.

The move from Orange to Red is to be formally announced Friday.

Seeing 'Red'

publisher Mar 23, 2021 - 8:19am

As the number of COVID-19 cases and frustration levels rise, Eastern Ontario will likely move from “Orange” to “Red” next week under the Ontario response framework.

“It is worrying,” Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said Monday.

Meanwhile, health unit employees, like their colleagues across the province, are being subjected to verbal abuse.

“The civility is gone,” Dr. Roumeliotis said, pleading with the public to show respect for employees who are working seven days a week to ensure citizens remain safe. The verbal abuse has been so bad that some staff members have been reduced to tears. “They have been yelled at, screamed at,” he said.

When Dr. Roumeliotis contacted Premier Doug Ford about the abuse, the Premier agreed that it was “unacceptable.” Employees “are just doing their jobs,” stressed Dr. Roumeliotis.

The number of active cases in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Cornwall and the northern part of Akwesasne rose by 55 to a total of 227 between March 19 and 22. The percentage of variants of concern has increased to about 44 per cent, close to the provincial average. The infection rate for the region as of Monday was 63.7 per 100,000 population. A rate that consistently remains above 40 would prompt the province to move a region into the more restrictive red zone.

Maxville Fair cancelled

publisher Mar 22, 2021 - 1:02pm

Unfortunately, the 2021 Maxville Fair has been cancelled. "Due to the pandemic and the timing of vaccinations, it is not possible to hold our Fair in June," says the Kenyon Agricultural Society. The group adds, it "is closely monitoring the public health restrictions in the hopes that our Metcalfe Centre and facilities can open for public rentals once again in the near future."

"Excellent" progress

publisher Mar 19, 2021 - 10:52am

“Excellent” progress is being made in the early stages of the COVID-19 vaccination blitz in Eastern Ontario, says Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis.

All long-term care facility and retirement home residents in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, Prescott-Russell, Cornwall and the northern part of Akwesasne have received two doses of the vaccine, he said at a media briefing Thursday.

Currently, vaccines are being administered to people aged 80 and over. However, Dr. Roumeliotis expects phase 2, which will include those aged 60 to 79, high-risk people and those who cannot work from home, can begin in April.

The health unit has received 22,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and expects to get another 24,000 doses over the next five weeks.

A total of 37 clinics have been set up in the region with 4,985 seniors over 80 having booked appointments, as of Thursday.

Overall, about 18,000 doses have been administered.

The region remains an “Orange” zone. The number of cases dropped by 29 between March 17 and 18, dropping the total of active cases to 152. Of this number 21 patients are in hospital; three are in intensive care.