Le ministère de la Santé a reçu un avis de la province indiquant que l'expédition retardée du vaccin Pfizer devrait désormais être reçue plus tard dans la journée. Ce retard a affecté l'approvisionnement en vaccin Pfizer dans les cliniques de vaccination de masse de la région de Durham, ce qui a conduit le ministère de la Santé à administrer le vaccin Moderna dans les cliniques de la région pour les rendez-vous réservés aux personnes de 18 ans et plus. Cet envoi permet au ministère de la Santé de reprendre la fourniture du vaccin Pfizer dans les cliniques de vaccination de masse de la région situées au Audley Recreation Centre, Ajax, Ontario Tech Campus Ice Centre, Oshawa et au Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex, Bowmanville, le 24 juin. Cliniques dans le nord Durham and McKinney Centre, Whitby, restera inchangé et continuera d'administrer le vaccin Moderna.
Le ministère de la Santé a également reçu un approvisionnement supplémentaire de vaccin Moderna, ce qui a permis d'augmenter les rendez-vous quotidiens à 1 550 par rapport aux 940 rendez-vous actuels au complexe de loisirs Chestnut Hill Developments, Pickering, qui n'offrira désormais que le vaccin Moderna. Comme la région de Durham a récemment été identifiée comme un point chaud de Delta, il est crucial de faire vacciner autant de résidents complètement que possible le plus rapidement possible pour assurer un niveau de protection optimal et pour aider à ralentir le taux de transmission au sein de notre communauté. Le Comité consultatif national de la vaccination a indiqué que les deux vaccins à ARNm (Pfizer et Moderna) offrent une protection éprouvée contre COVID-19 et sont sûrs et efficaces pour être utilisés de manière interchangeable. Les deux vaccins sont autorisés au Canada, fonctionnent de la même manière et sont très efficaces.
Les personnes de 12 à 17 ans continueront d'être vaccinées avec le vaccin Pfizer, car Pfizer est le seul vaccin approuvé au Canada pour ce groupe d'âge. Les jeunes qui avaient pris rendez-vous sur le site de la clinique du complexe récréatif Chestnut Hill Developments seront contactés par le personnel du service de santé pour discuter des options de réservation dans d'autres cliniques où Pfizer est offert.
N'oubliez pas que le personnel du dispensaire n'a aucun contrôle sur l'approvisionnement en vaccins disponibles dans les dispensaires de la région, mais il est disponible pour répondre aux questions et aider les clients à se sentir à l'aise avant de recevoir le vaccin. Les rendez-vous sont disponibles pour réservation à www.durham.ca/vaccineappointment ou en contactant le centre d'appels au 1-888-444-5113.
22 juin 2021
Au cours du week-end, le ministère de la Santé de l'Ontario a informé le ministère de la Santé de l'Ontario d'un retard dans son expédition de vaccin Pfizer, affectant l'approvisionnement des cliniques de vaccination de masse locales. En raison de ce retard, toutes les cliniques de la région de Durham proposeront le vaccin Moderna aux adultes de 18 ans et plus jusqu'à ce que le vaccin Pfizer supplémentaire soit reçu. L'approvisionnement en vaccins Pfizer restant du ministère de la Santé est limité et sera actuellement utilisé pour vacciner les jeunes de 12 à 17 ans, car Pfizer est le seul vaccin approuvé au Canada pour ce groupe d'âge.
Le mélange des vaccins est sûr, efficace et permet aux résidents de recevoir leur deuxième dose plus tôt. Le Comité consultatif national de l'immunisation (CCNI) est un comité d'experts qui conseille le gouvernement du Canada sur l'utilisation des vaccins depuis 1964. Le CCNI recommande que :
- Les personnes qui ont reçu une première dose du vaccin AstraZeneca peuvent recevoir soit AstraZeneca, soit un vaccin à ARNm (Pfizer ou Moderna) pour leur deuxième dose ; et
- Les personnes qui ont reçu un vaccin à ARNm (Pfizer ou Moderna) pour leur première dose devraient se voir proposer un autre vaccin à ARNm pour leur deuxième dose afin de compléter la série de vaccins si le même vaccin à ARNm n'est pas facilement disponible
Les vaccins Moderna et Pfizer utilisent tous deux une technologie d'ARNm similaire et peuvent être mélangés en toute sécurité. Les résidents seront considérés comme complètement immunisés deux semaines après avoir reçu une deuxième dose de ces vaccins approuvés par Santé Canada, même si leur première dose était différente de la deuxième. Pour plus d'informations, veuillez consulter la fiche d'information du ministère de la Santé : Une deuxième dose sûre et efficace ou les recommandations du CCNI sur l'utilisation des vaccins contre la COVID-19.
La région de Durham a été déclarée point chaud de Delta par la province le 17 juin et nous constatons une augmentation du nombre de cas confirmés pour la variante Delta (veuillez vous référer au Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker). Être complètement vacciné est la meilleure protection contre le COVID-19 et ses variantes, y compris la variante Delta. La variante Delta se propageant localement, il est important que les résidents de la région terminent leur série de vaccins avec une deuxième dose du vaccin COVID-19 le plus facilement disponible pour une protection optimale.
Veuillez noter que le personnel du dispensaire n'a aucun contrôle sur l'approvisionnement en vaccins disponibles dans les dispensaires de la région, mais il est disponible pour répondre aux questions et aider les clients à se sentir à l'aise avant de recevoir le vaccin.
16 juin 2021
Je suis heureux de partager que plus de 500 000 doses de vaccin COVID-19 ont été administrées dans la région, près de 450 000 résidents ont reçu au moins une dose de vaccin et plus de 85 000 résidents ont été entièrement vaccinés. Être complètement vacciné est la meilleure protection contre le COVID-19. Merci aux résidents qui attendent patiemment un rendez-vous pour leur deuxième dose. Les rendez-vous seront disponibles lorsque l'approvisionnement en vaccins sera confirmé.
Les résidents ont maintenant plus d'options disponibles pour leur deuxième dose de vaccin COVID-19. Le Comité consultatif national de l'immunisation (CCNI) a fourni des directives mises à jour et a indiqué que les vaccins COVID-19 autorisés peuvent être échangés ou mélangés. Il est recommandé que les résidents qui ont reçu une première dose de Pfizer ou de Moderna (les deux vaccins à ARNm) reçoivent une deuxième dose du même vaccin. Cependant, si le même vaccin n'est pas facilement disponible, les résidents peuvent recevoir une deuxième dose de l'un ou l'autre des vaccins à ARNm.
Les résidents qui ont reçu une première dose d'AstraZeneca peuvent choisir de recevoir AstraZeneca ou un vaccin à ARNm (Pfizer ou Moderna) huit à 12 semaines après leur première dose. Les résidents peuvent se rendre chez un fournisseur de soins de santé ou une pharmacie offrant ces vaccins ou ils peuvent attendre que des rendez-vous soient disponibles dans les cliniques de vaccination de masse du ministère de la Santé. Veuillez visiter www.durham.ca/covidvaccines pour plus d'informations sur la façon de prendre rendez-vous pour votre deuxième dose.
Le ministère de la Santé a reçu plusieurs questions sur les raisons pour lesquelles les rendez-vous pour les deuxièmes doses ne sont pas encore disponibles pour toute personne ayant reçu une première dose au plus tard le 9 mai, comme cela a été annoncé dans d'autres régions. La province a annoncé que les personnes qui vivent dans les points chauds du Delta sont éligibles pour recevoir une deuxième dose si elles ont reçu leur première dose au plus tard le 9 mai. Un point chaud du Delta est une région où la prévalence de la variante B.1.617 est élevée, telle qu'identifiée. par la Province. Heureusement, il y a eu peu de cas de la variante Delta localement et la province n'a pas identifié la région de Durham comme un point chaud du Delta pour le moment. Le personnel du ministère de la Santé s'efforce de mettre à jour les informations sur les variantes préoccupantes sur le suivi des données COVID-19 afin d'afficher le nombre de cas confirmés pour la variante Delta dans la région de Durham.
Notre objectif est d'ouvrir l'éligibilité aux deuxièmes doses à davantage de résidents dès que nous le pourrons en fonction de l'approvisionnement en vaccins et de la disponibilité des rendez-vous. Veuillez rester à l'écoute pour d'autres mises à jour dans les prochains jours. Alors que nous continuons à travailler pour immuniser davantage de résidents et que l'Ontario est passé à l'étape 1 de la feuille de route de la province pour la réouverture, veuillez rester vigilant, rester informé, vous assurer de reprendre vos activités autorisées en toute sécurité et de suivre toutes les mesures de santé publique.
9 juin 2021
La province continue de surveiller le taux de vaccination à l'échelle de la province et les principaux indicateurs de santé publique et du système de santé pour déterminer quand les mesures de santé publique peuvent être levées. Sur la base du déploiement du vaccin et des améliorations des tendances en matière de santé publique, la province passera à l'étape 1 de sa feuille de route pour la réouverture à 00 h 01 le 11 juin.
Les résidents de la région seront heureux de savoir que les tendances se sont également améliorées localement; le nombre de cas quotidiens a diminué et près de 70 % des résidents de la région de Durham âgés de 18 ans et plus ont reçu au moins une dose de vaccin COVID-19. Veuillez visiter le Covid-19 Data Tracker et durham.ca/vaccinetracker pour les derniers numéros de cas locaux et les informations sur la couverture vaccinale. Merci pour le soutien et la coopération continus des résidents de la région, des entreprises locales et des partenaires communautaires; nos actions collectives font une différence.
Le passage à l'étape 1 signifie que certaines entreprises locales peuvent rouvrir avec des restrictions et des limites de capacité en place et que les résidents peuvent profiter de plus d'activités de plein air en toute sécurité. Certaines des activités qui peuvent reprendre à l'étape 1 comprennent : des rassemblements en plein air pouvant accueillir jusqu'à 10 personnes ; repas en plein air pouvant accueillir jusqu'à quatre personnes par table; les commerces de détail essentiels peuvent fonctionner à 25 pour cent de leur capacité et les magasins à grande surface et discount sont autorisés à vendre tous les articles ; les commerces de détail non essentiels peuvent fonctionner à 15 % de leur capacité pour les achats en personne; et les rassemblements à l'intérieur aux fins d'un mariage, d'un service funéraire ou religieux, d'un rite ou d'une cérémonie sont autorisés jusqu'à 15 % de la capacité d'une pièce particulière. Veuillez visiter le site Web de la feuille de route pour la réouverture pour une liste des activités supplémentaires autorisées à l'étape 1 et du Règl. 82/20 : Règles pour les zones dans la zone d'arrêt et à l'étape 1 pour plus de détails.
Bien que ce soit une bonne nouvelle et que tout le monde ait hâte de reprendre ses activités normales, il est important de rester vigilant et de continuer à suivre les mesures de santé publique. Pour nous assurer que nous continuons de voir une tendance à la baisse du nombre de nouveaux cas de COVID-19, veuillez continuer à pratiquer la distanciation physique, porter un couvre-visage à l'intérieur et lorsque la distanciation physique est un défi, pratiquer une bonne hygiène des mains et se faire vacciner dès que possible comme vous êtes éligible.
2 juin 2021
L'admissibilité au vaccin a été élargie la semaine dernière aux personnes de 12 ans et plus et les rendez-vous sont devenus disponibles le 31 mai. L'été est le moment idéal pour s'assurer que les jeunes admissibles sont complètement vaccinés avant le début de la nouvelle année scolaire en septembre. J'encourage tous les jeunes de la région à recevoir leur première dose le plus tôt possible afin qu'ils puissent recevoir leur deuxième dose avant la fin août. Si les résidents ont eu la COVID-19, il est toujours important de se faire vacciner. Le vaccin aidera à vous protéger contre les rechutes et aidera également à vous prémunir contre les nouvelles variantes de COVID-19.
Santé Canada a approuvé l'utilisation du vaccin Pfizer-BioNTech pour les jeunes de 12 à 17 ans; cela signifie que Santé Canada a déterminé que le vaccin est sûr et efficace pour cette population. Pfizer-BioNTech est actuellement le seul vaccin qui sera offert aux jeunes dans les cliniques de vaccination de la région de Durham.
La pandémie a eu un impact considérable sur les élèves, les familles et les éducateurs au cours des 15 derniers mois avec des fermetures d'écoles, des épidémies et des exigences d'auto-isolement. La vaccination des jeunes éligibles est le meilleur moyen de protéger les élèves contre la COVID-19. Être complètement vacciné aidera les jeunes de la région à reprendre leurs activités normales et favorisera une année scolaire 2021/2022 plus sûre, agréable et productive.
fondées sur des données scientifiques et mises à jour régulièrement.
Veuillez visiter www.durham.ca/vaccineappointment ou appelez le 1-888-444-5113 pour prendre rendez-vous, et n'oubliez pas de suivre toutes les directives de santé publique – portez un couvre-visage, pratiquez la distanciation physique et respectez les restrictions locales et provinciales, et continuer à le faire même après que vous et les membres de votre famille avez été vaccinés.
26 mai 2021
Tout au long de la pandémie, les ambulanciers paramédicaux ont non seulement continué à sauver des vies et à fournir des soins de santé d'urgence aux résidents confrontés à de graves problèmes de santé, mais ils ont fait partie intégrante des efforts de réponse du ministère de la Santé au COVID-19. Ils ont assumé des responsabilités supplémentaires en fournissant des cliniques mobiles de dépistage et de vaccination. Les ambulanciers paramédicaux ont obtenu plus de 21 000 écouvillonnages nasaux auprès des résidents de la région, du personnel scolaire et des étudiants, des clients et du personnel des garderies, des maisons de soins de longue durée et des maisons de retraite, des refuges et d'autres lieux de vie collective. Ils ont également joué un rôle déterminant dans la planification et la mise en œuvre de cliniques de vaccination mobiles dans toute la région et ont administré 8 664 doses de vaccin COVID-19 via des cliniques mobiles. Le SRPD a continué d'exploiter son programme d'approche en soins primaires en collaboration avec les services sociaux pour fournir des services d'approche en soins primaires et sociaux aux populations prioritaires. En 2021, le RDPS a mis en œuvre une initiative pilote de soins paramédicaux communautaires pour soutenir le programme High Intensity Supports at Home (HISH) afin d'aider les patients ayant des besoins élevés en soins à passer de l'hôpital à leur domicile ou à leur milieu communautaire.
Pendant la pandémie, en tant que travailleurs de première ligne, nos ambulanciers paramédicaux de soins primaires et nos ambulanciers paramédicaux de soins avancés se mettent chaque jour en danger pour fournir des soins de la plus haute qualité aux autres. Merci au personnel du RDPS pour son engagement continu à répondre aux besoins urgents en soins de santé et à maintenir les membres de la communauté en bonne santé et en sécurité pendant la pandémie.
Je suis également heureux de partager en ce moment que le ministère de la Santé a étendu l'admissibilité au vaccin COVID-19 aux personnes de 12 ans et plus. Les rendez-vous sont disponibles à partir du 31 mai et les réservations de rendez-vous sont devenues disponibles le 25 mai à 21 h. Pour prendre rendez-vous, visitez le www.durham.ca/vaccineappointment ou composez le 1-888-444-5113. Pour plus d'informations et les emplacements des cliniques, veuillez visiter www.durham.ca/covidvaccines.
21 mai 2021
Au cours des deux dernières semaines, le ministère de la Santé a surveillé l'augmentation des cas de COVID-19 dans les Highlands Apartments (complexe d'appartements White Oaks) à Whitby. Depuis le 1er mai, environ 143 cas ont été identifiés dans ce complexe d'appartements, qui comprend 47 nouveaux cas confirmés à la suite d'un événement de test sur place du ministère de la Santé organisé le 20 mai pour les résidents des quatre immeubles d'appartements de la région. Les services paramédicaux de la région de Durham (RDPS), en collaboration avec le personnel de la santé publique de la région de Durham (DRPH), ont effectué des tests via l'unité mobile du RDPS pour aider à identifier tout cas supplémentaire dans les bâtiments dans le but de minimiser la propagation de COVID-19. Les tests étaient disponibles pour tous les résidents âgés de deux ans et plus. Comme des inquiétudes ont été identifiées quant au potentiel de propagation de la maladie dans ces bâtiments, le ministère de la Santé organisera une clinique de vaccination COVID-19 pour les résidents des Highlands Apartments (complexe d'appartements White Oaks) le 25 mai – cette clinique sera menée par paramédicaux par l'intermédiaire de l'unité mobile du RDPS qui sera située à Jeffery Street Park. La clinique est ouverte à tous les résidents admissibles de 12 ans et plus qui vivent dans les quatre immeubles d'habitation de la région. Les résidents seront avisés et encouragés à se présenter pour recevoir une première dose s'ils ne l'ont pas encore fait.
Tout au long de la pandémie, le personnel du ministère de la Santé a continué de surveiller divers lieux de travail de la région, les lieux de vie de rassemblement et les logements à plusieurs unités pour aider à identifier tout cas potentiel de COVID-19, dans le but de contenir et de réduire la propagation à la fois dans ces milieux et dans tout le monde. la communauté au sens large. DRPH, en collaboration avec RDPS, continuera d'offrir des services sur place à ces milieux, selon les besoins, et fournira aux résidents de la région le soutien nécessaire pour aider à assurer des environnements de vie et de travail sûrs. Alors que les vaccins continuent d'être déployés dans l'ensemble de la communauté, nous continuons de rappeler à tous les résidents de la région de Durham de suivre toutes les directives de santé publique – limitez les déplacements non essentiels à l'extérieur de votre domicile, portez un couvre-visage, pratiquez la distanciation physique et respectez les restrictions locales et provinciales. et continuez de le faire même après avoir été vacciné.
19 mai 2021
Le personnel du service de santé et nos partenaires communautaires continuent de travailler dur pour vacciner les résidents de la région conformément au plan de vaccination de la province. Je suis heureux de partager que plus de 331 000 doses de vaccin COVID-19 ont été administrées dans toute la région dans les cliniques communautaires et hospitalières, les cliniques pop-up hot spot, les cliniques mobiles hot spot, par le biais des soins primaires et dans les pharmacies.
Les données d'administration des vaccins, qui peuvent être filtrées par tranche d'âge, sont disponibles concernant la première et la deuxième dose, la marque du vaccin et le site d'administration. Les informations sur la couverture vaccinale comprennent des données par groupe d'âge, sexe et municipalité. Ces informations mettent en évidence les succès et les progrès réalisés à ce jour et aident également à identifier les domaines où des efforts et une concentration supplémentaires en matière de vaccination peuvent être nécessaires. Au 17 mai, près de 20 500 résidents locaux ont reçu leurs première et deuxième doses de vaccin COVID-19 grâce au personnel du ministère de la Santé, aux services paramédicaux de la région de Durham, à nos partenaires régionaux et à nos partenaires communautaires, notamment Lakeridge Health, les fournisseurs de soins primaires locaux et pharmacies.
Le 17 mai, tous les résidents de 18 ans et plus, ou ceux qui auront 18 ans cette année, pouvaient prendre rendez-vous pour un vaccin dans n'importe quelle clinique communautaire de vaccination de masse de la région de Durham. Veuillez visiter www.durham.ca/vaccineappointment ou appelez le 1-888-444-5113 pour prendre rendez-vous. La disponibilité des rendez-vous dépend de l'approvisionnement en vaccins. Bien que nous encourageons tous les résidents éligibles à prendre rendez-vous dès que possible, nous vous demandons de continuer à patienter si un rendez-vous n'est pas disponible immédiatement. Les rendez-vous pour les vaccins seront disponibles dès que l'approvisionnement en vaccins sera confirmé.
N'oubliez pas de suivre toutes les mesures de santé publique, de limiter les déplacements non essentiels à l'extérieur de votre domicile, de porter un couvre-visage, de pratiquer la distanciation physique et de respecter les restrictions locales et provinciales même après avoir été vacciné. La province surveille de près la couverture vaccinale, la propagation de la maladie et les risques pour la santé publique pour aider à informer quand les restrictions peuvent être levées.
12 mai 2021
Du 10 au 16 mai est la Semaine nationale des soins infirmiers, qui offre l'occasion d'accroître la sensibilisation au rôle important que jouent les infirmières dans le soutien de la santé et du bien-être des résidents de la région. Tout au long de la pandémie, les infirmières du ministère de la Santé ont été impliquées dans tous les aspects de la réponse COVID-19 et de la vaccination COVID-19, de la planification à la mise en œuvre. Je reconnais le dévouement, les soins, la compassion et l'expertise dont les infirmières qui travaillent en santé publique continuent de faire preuve chaque jour. Les infirmières du ministère de la Santé ont également continué à offrir des programmes essentiels tels que : fournir des conseils de soutien, de l'éducation et de l'aiguillage vers d'autres services dans la communauté; répondre aux questions sur les vaccinations ; enquêter sur de nombreuses maladies infectieuses pour s'assurer que les personnes touchées disposent des informations dont elles ont besoin ; et ils ont veillé à ce que les services cliniques tels que l'allaitement et la santé sexuelle restent ouverts aussi longtemps que possible.
Depuis le début de la pandémie, les infirmières du ministère de la Santé ont effectué 175 856 interactions téléphoniques COVID-19 avec les résidents et les partenaires communautaires, suivi 32 603 cas et contacts COVID-19 et effectué 66 663 évaluations infirmières pour déterminer si une intervention médicale supplémentaire est nécessaire. Ils continuent de travailler sans relâche pour mettre en œuvre l'orientation provinciale concernant la vaccination contre la COVID-19 et travaillent très fort pour assurer le fonctionnement efficace de nos cliniques de vaccination de masse à l'échelle communautaire afin que le plus grand nombre possible de résidents puissent être vaccinés. Avec le soutien de toutes nos infirmières, j'ai le plaisir d'annoncer que plus de 250 000 doses de vaccin ont été administrées localement jusqu'à présent.
Je sais que les collègues du ministère de la Santé, de la région, ainsi que nos partenaires communautaires, dépendent des infirmières hautement qualifiées et bien informées qui travaillent en santé publique; chaque jour, nos infirmières fournissent des commentaires et des conseils sur des initiatives de collaboration qui visent à tenir les résidents informés et à protéger ceux qui risquent de tomber malades. En tant que membres clés de l'équipe du Département de la santé, nos infirmières ont joué un rôle fondamental dans notre réponse à la pandémie de COVID-19 et nous continuons de compter sur elles alors que nous travaillons ensemble pour réduire la propagation de la maladie dans notre communauté. Merci à toutes nos infirmières qui travaillent en santé publique. #weanswerthecall #
5 mai 2021
La semaine dernière, la province a annoncé que des populations supplémentaires seraient éligibles pour recevoir des vaccins dans toute la province tout au long du mois de mai. Cette semaine, tous les résidents de la région de Durham qui ont 50 ans et plus, ou ceux qui auront 50 ans cette année, et les travailleurs essentiels qui ne peuvent pas travailler à domicile (groupe 1) sont éligibles pour prendre un rendez-vous pour un vaccin dans l'une des cliniques de vaccination de masse à travers la région. Certains des résidents admissibles du groupe 1 comprennent : les travailleurs des écoles élémentaires/secondaires qui travaillent généralement en personne; les travailleurs répondant à des événements critiques, tels que la police ; les travailleurs des sociétés d'aide à l'enfance; les travailleurs de l'inspection et de la mise en application; et ceux qui travaillent dans la fabrication et la distribution d'aliments. Pour une liste complète des travailleurs essentiels éligibles, veuillez visiter www.durham.ca/covidvaccines.
Il existe également désormais des emplacements supplémentaires pour les vaccins disponibles pour les résidents vivant dans des points chauds identifiés. Les résidents de 18 ans et plus qui vivent dans les codes postaux des points chauds d'Ajax et de Pickering, L1S, L1T, L1V, L1X et L1Z, peuvent prendre rendez-vous pour le vaccin COVID-19 dans les cliniques de vaccination de masse situées à Ajax (Audley Recreation Centre), Pickering ( Chestnut Hill Developments Complex Arena) et Whitby (Centre McKinney). Les résidents vivant dans les zones sensibles peuvent également continuer à prendre des rendez-vous dans les cliniques pop-up des zones sensibles. Veuillez visiter www.durham.ca/vaccineappointment ou appelez le 1-888-444-5113 pour prendre rendez-vous. Pour être admissible au vaccin, tous les résidents doivent être âgés d'au moins 18 ans le jour de leur rendez-vous de vaccination.
En plus des cliniques ci-dessus, les résidents des points chauds peuvent également accéder à des cliniques mobiles sans rendez-vous spécifiques au code postal, ainsi qu'à la clinique pop-up de points chauds à site fixe située au Centre communautaire d'Ajax; Cependant, veuillez noter que les réservations sont actuellement complètes pour la clinique pop-up du centre communautaire Ajax.
Veuillez visiter www.durham.ca/covidvaccines souvent ; le site Web est mis à jour fréquemment avec de nouvelles informations. Les informations concernant l'emplacement des cliniques mobiles sont affichées dès qu'elles sont disponibles.
ontario. ca/vaccin-emplacements. Le programme de pharmacie des vaccins d'AstraZeneca est supervisé par la province.
Alors que l'admissibilité continue de s'étendre, nous demandons aux résidents de continuer à être patients car les rendez-vous pour les vaccins sont basés sur la disponibilité des vaccins. Si les rendez-vous pour les vaccins ne sont pas disponibles lorsque vous essayez de prendre rendez-vous, veuillez réessayer plus tard. D'autres rendez-vous seront disponibles lorsque le vaccin supplémentaire sera confirmé.
Je reconnais que les résidents sont impatients de se faire vacciner et que de nombreux résidents se sentent frustrés parce qu'ils ne sont pas en mesure d'obtenir un rendez-vous immédiatement ou qu'ils ont été refusés à une clinique mobile sans rendez-vous. Les mesures de santé publique en cours et l'ordre de rester à domicile ont également un impact sur les résidents de nombreuses manières. Malgré les défis continus de cette pandémie, je demande aux résidents d'être respectueux et de travailler ensemble pour se protéger les uns les autres. Malheureusement, nous continuons d'avoir des cas où des résidents transfèrent leurs frustrations sur notre personnel. N'oubliez pas que c'est le rôle du ministère de la Santé de protéger la santé du public et de fournir aux résidents les informations dont ils ont besoin pour aider à arrêter la propagation de COVID-19 dans notre communauté. Dans le cadre de notre travail, nous ne tolérerons pas les membres de la communauté qui utilisent un langage profane, agressif, abusif, sexiste, raciste ou homophobe. La santé et la sécurité des résidents de la région de Durham continuent d'être nos principales priorités. Nous vous demandons votre coopération et votre soutien continus pour assurer la sécurité de tous.
28 avril 2021
La province continue d'étendre l'admissibilité au vaccin COVID-19 dans le cadre de son approche ciblée axée sur les communautés de points chauds et les travailleurs essentiels les plus touchés par COVID-19.
Les résidents de la région de Durham qui ont 45 ans et plus, ou ceux qui auront 45 ans en 2021 et qui vivent dans les codes postaux des points chauds L1S, L1T, L1V, L1X et L1Z sont désormais éligibles pour recevoir un vaccin COVID-19 lors d'une vaccination de masse communautaire désignée cliniques à Ajax, Pickering et Whitby ou dans des cliniques éphémères. Tous les travailleurs de la garde d'enfants de la région de Durham dans les services de garde agréés sont également désormais admissibles à prendre leurs rendez-vous pour la vaccination contre la COVID-19 dans n'importe quelle clinique communautaire de vaccination de masse. Les travailleurs en garderie auront besoin d'une lettre de leur employeur confirmant leur admissibilité. Les rendez-vous pour ces nouveaux groupes d'admissibilité sont maintenant disponibles pour réservation à www.durham.ca/vaccineappointment ou en appelant au 1-888-444-5113.
Les résidents d'Ajax et de Pickering de 18 ans et plus vivant dans les codes postaux des points chauds L1S, L1T, L1V, L1X et L1Z sont éligibles pour recevoir le vaccin à la clinique contextuelle fixe du centre communautaire Ajax ou à l'un des points chauds tournants. des cliniques qui seront disponibles dans les zones sensibles d'Ajax et de Pickering. Des informations sur ces cliniques éphémères tournantes et sur la façon de prendre rendez-vous sont disponibles sur www.durham.ca/covidvaccines.
Dans notre stratégie visant à atteindre autant de résidents que possible vivant dans des communautés de points chauds, nous continuerons d'exploiter des cliniques mobiles sans rendez-vous où les rendez-vous ne sont pas requis. L'emplacement des cliniques mobiles hot spot sera affiché sur le site www.durham.ca/covidvaccines peu de temps avant que chaque clinique ne soit prévue dans une communauté spécifique. Les résidents doivent présenter une preuve d'âge et d'adresse lorsqu'ils arrivent à toutes les cliniques mobiles hot spot.
ontario.ca/vaccine-locations. Le programme de pharmacie des vaccins d'AstraZeneca est supervisé par la province.
N'oubliez pas non plus que tous les résidents de la région âgés de 60 ans et plus ou ceux qui auront 60 ans cette année peuvent prendre rendez-vous dans l'une des cliniques de vaccination de masse de la région.
Veuillez visiter www.durham.ca/covidvaccines pour vérifier si vous ou les membres de votre famille êtes éligibles pour recevoir un vaccin COVID-19 et vous faire vacciner dès que c'est votre tour. Bien que la disponibilité des rendez-vous dépende de l'approvisionnement en vaccins et que l'admissibilité soit déterminée par la province, le ministère de la Santé reste déterminé à vacciner les résidents le plus rapidement possible pour aider à protéger la communauté contre une nouvelle propagation de COVID-19.
21 avril 2021
Le ministère de la Santé travaille actuellement à immuniser les populations identifiées dans la phase 2 du plan de vaccination de la province. Dans le cadre de la phase 2, la province a identifié des communautés de « points chauds » où COVID-19 a eu un impact disproportionné sur certains quartiers. Dans la région de Durham, la province a identifié les collectivités dont les codes postaux commencent par L1S, L1T, L1V, L1X et L1Z comme « points chauds ». Notre stratégie pour atteindre les résidents qui vivent dans ces communautés consiste à conseiller à ceux qui ont 50 ans et plus ou à ceux qui auront 50 ans cette année de s'inscrire à une clinique de vaccination de masse, à établir des cliniques pop-up pour les 18 ans et plus vivant dans ces communautés durement touchées, et fournir des cliniques mobiles hot spot pour atteindre davantage ces populations cibles. À partir du 22 avril, il y aura une clinique de vaccination pop-up au centre communautaire Ajax, 75 Centennial Road, Ajax, pour les résidents de 18 ans et plus, ou qui auront 18 ans en 2021, qui vivent dans les points chauds d'Ajax et de Pickering (L1S, L1T, L1V, L1X et L1Z). Les résidents qui vivent dans ces communautés peuvent prendre rendez-vous à la clinique du point chaud en visitant covidvaccine.lh.ca ou en composant le 905-721-4828. Veuillez noter que les résidents doivent avoir un rendez-vous pour se faire vacciner à la clinique éphémère; les rendez-vous ne seront pas acceptés. Le ministère de la Santé communiquera des cliniques pop-up supplémentaires et des emplacements mobiles de points chauds dans les prochains jours, au fur et à mesure de leur mise en place.
Nous sommes reconnaissants aux partenaires communautaires locaux qui soutiennent les efforts de vaccination locaux, y compris les pharmacies participantes qui fournissent le vaccin AstraZeneca aux résidents de 40 ans et plus, ou à ceux qui auront 40 ans en 2021. Les résidents peuvent visiter https://covid-19.ontario. ca/vaccine-locations pour obtenir des renseignements sur les pharmacies participantes de la région de Durham.
J'exhorte tous les résidents éligibles à se faire vacciner dès que ce sera votre tour. Le COVID-19 se propage à un rythme alarmant et nous devons tous continuer à travailler ensemble dans la lutte contre ce virus. Veuillez suivre toutes les mesures de santé publique, respecter les restrictions locales et provinciales, rester à la maison autant que possible et vous faire vacciner lorsque vous êtes admissible.
14 avril 2021
Au cours de la semaine dernière, nous avons malheureusement enregistré le plus grand nombre de nouveaux cas quotidiens de COVID-19 depuis le début de la pandémie. La gestion des cas et des contacts continue d'être les principales activités de réponse au COVID-19 du ministère de la Santé pour aider à contrôler la propagation de la maladie dans la région. La gestion des cas commence par la notification des cas positifs et la collecte d'informations importantes auprès des personnes infectées par COVID-19 afin de déterminer le risque potentiel pour la communauté.
Due to the significant increase in cases, the Health Department has implemented the "virtual assistant" to help with notifying positive cases and collecting some preliminary information prior to the initial phone call from public health. Residents who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a text message from Durham Region Health Department with a secure link to complete a personal assessment survey, which will collect information about their health status, close contacts and potential exposures to COVID-19. The information collected is kept confidential and is protected by Ontario’s privacy laws. All positive cases will continue to receive a call from public health; the virtual assistant helps prepare clients for further contact from Health Department staff and helps to focus the conversations on the follow-up, clarifications and instructions required thereafter. Completing the survey is optional and clients can opt out of receiving texts from the virtual assistant at any time. Please be aware that in some cases, residents that test positive may not receive a text message, such as when they haven’t provided a mobile phone number at the time of testing.
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the region, please continue to follow public health measures, stay at home as much as possible, avoid social gatherings and any non-essential travel and, where possible, work remotely.
April 9, 2021
In response to the surge in COVID-19 cases across Ontario, the provincial government has declared a third provincial emergency and issued a provincewide Stay at Home Order, effective Thursday, April 8, to be in place for at least 28 days. Locally, we have also seen an alarming increase in cases. The Stay at Home Order requires everyone to remain home except for essential purposes such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health services, going outdoors for exercise, going to school or for work that cannot be done remotely. Maximum public health measures, closures of certain businesses, and additional restrictions for businesses that can remain open are in effect. The majority of non-essential retailers can operate for curbside pick-up or delivery only, big box stores are limited to sales of essential items, and those responsible for businesses or organizations that remain open are asked to ensure, where possible, staff members conduct their work remotely. Indoor social gatherings with anyone outside of your household are not permitted at this time (if you live alone, you can have close contact with only one other household) and outdoor social gatherings are limited to five people. For further details, please refer to the Stay-at-Home Order and Provincewide Shutdown Advice from Durham Region Health Department, the Q&A document and O. Reg. 82/20.
While the Stay at Home Order has been implemented to decrease illness spread, getting vaccinated will also help to bring case numbers down in our community. All residents who are 60 years and older, or those who will be turning 60 this year, residents 50 years and older living in “hotspots” in Ajax and Pickering (within postal codes L1S, L1T, L1V, L1X and L1Z), as well as individuals in the Highest-Risk and High-Risk health conditions group are encouraged to register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Residents may have heard that vaccinations in “hotspots” are available to those 18 years and older. Please note that the provincial announcement included the 18-plus targeted initiative for individuals in Peel and Toronto public health regions only. In Durham Region, we are identifying eligible groups as quickly as possible, based on provincial direction and vaccine supply. Please visit durham.ca/vaccineappointment to book an appointment if you are eligible at this time and visit durham.ca/covidvaccines often for the latest information on current priority groups eligible to receive a vaccine in our region.
I encourage all members of our community to get vaccinated as soon as they’re eligible, as this vaccine is a crucial step in helping to curb the spread of COVID-19.
31 mars 2021
Residents who are 70 years and older, or those who will be turning 70 this year, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible residents are encouraged to book an appointment at any of the available clinics in Ajax, Clarington, Pickering, Whitby and in north Durham in Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge by visiting durham.ca/VaccineAppointment. Residents who need assistance to book an appointment can call 1-888-444-5113. Appointments are also available at the Oshawa site located at Durham College/Ontario Tech University Campus Ice Centre. Residents can book an appointment at the Oshawa location at covidvaccine.lh.ca or 905-721-4828.
While vaccine supply is still limited and we are not able to offer vaccines to additional populations yet, all eligible residents are urged to book an appointment and get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. Cases of COVID-19 across the region are increasing rapidly. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you; some can have serious, life-threatening complications and unfortunately, some individuals may die. Vaccines are a crucial tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The combination of getting vaccinated and continuing with public health measures such as wearing a mask, physical distancing and hand hygiene will provide the best protection to residents during the ongoing pandemic. We will continue to offer vaccines to more populations as vaccine becomes available. Please visit durham.ca/CovidVaccines for the latest information on current priority groups, local clinics, vaccine safety and frequently asked questions.
Please have a safe holiday weekend and enjoy the holiday with members of your own household or with others virtually, avoid social gatherings, stay at home as much as possible and avoid any non-essential travel.
March 24, 2021
The Health Department continues to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to priority groups in accordance with the province’s vaccine implementation plan. Residents 75 years and older, or those who will be turning 75 this year can now book appointments at any of the eight COVID-19 vaccination clinics operating across the region. Mobile clinics have been vaccinating certain priority groups and individuals who may have difficulty accessing larger clinics. Please visit www.durham.ca/covidvaccines for the most up to date information about COVID-19 vaccine, priority groups, vaccine clinic locations and information on how to book an appointment.
A new Vaccinations tab has been added to the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker which shows the total doses administered in community, hospital and mobile clinics. Data reflect totals from the previous day and include doses administered by the Health Department and Lakeridge Health to people who live or work in Durham Region. The total includes both first and second doses. Work is ongoing to determine how the Data Tracker can be further enhanced to provide additional information.
The recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the region is concerning. While we are pleased that almost 70,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to those living and working in Durham Region, we must remain vigilant and continue to follow public health measures to help prevent a further increase in COVID-19 cases. Please continue to stay informed about the status of COVID-19 in our community by visiting the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker, follow public health measures, stay at home as much as possible, avoid social gatherings and, where possible, work remotely. Any non-essential travel should be avoided, even between public health measure zones, as it will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread.
March 17, 2021
As the pandemic continues, it is understandable that everyone is feeling frustrated, exhausted and anxious for life to return to normal. Sadly, some of the public health restrictions intended to keep the public safe from COVID-19 have also impacted community members in very serious ways, in some instances leading to financial hardship, job loss, loneliness and isolation. The past year has been very challenging for so many, especially for those that have lost a loved one to COVID-19. While we know the past year has been difficult, I ask all residents to continue to be respectful, support each other and work together to prevent illness spread in our community.
Incidents of abusive and threatening language against my staff have been escalating recently. Staff is also having to manage increasing numbers of residents who refuse to comply and cooperate with public health direction and residents who are angry with provincial public health measures and direction. Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, it is the Health Department’s duty to protect the public from health hazards in our community and risks of communicable diseases. My staff has the authority to enforce provincial laws, Medical Officer of Health orders and public health direction to keep people safe. It is important to remember that the Health Department’s role to protect the health of the public has not changed, but the risks to our community have changed significantly. My staff continues to work very hard to address these risks and provide all residents with the information they need to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
While we are now working on vaccinating residents in accordance with the province’s vaccine implementation plan, we continue to manage cases of COVID-19 and their high-risk contacts, respond to outbreaks, and conduct inspections to ensure businesses and workplaces are complying with public health measures. As we do this work, we have zero tolerance for community members who engage in the use of profane, aggressive, abusive, sexist, racist or homophobic language. We know that most members of our community are willing to do what’s right to protect all of us. However, I assure you, those who are not willing to comply with public health instructions and continue to subject Health Department staff to abuse and harm will be referred to the appropriate authority for follow-up. This is not something that I take lightly and will ensure the protection of my staff remains a high priority.
The health and safety of Durham Region residents continues to be our main focus. The ongoing cooperation and support of area residents will help keep everyone safe.
March 10, 2021
Beginning this week, residents who are 80 and older, or those who are turning 80 this year, are able to book an appointment at one of three local vaccination clinics located at: the Durham College/Ontario Tech University Campus Ice Centre in Oshawa, operated by Lakeridge Health; Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex in Clarington; or Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex in Pickering. Additional vaccination clinics will be opening next week. As of Tuesday, we had already booked a total of 3,555 appointments for this population at the Pickering and Clarington clinic sites and are very pleased that we have started vaccinating seniors in our community.
Each day, we are seeing appointments book-up quickly, with no appointments being available within just a few minutes. Appointment availability depends on vaccine supply. While we are expecting additional vaccine from the province in the coming days, vaccine is in short supply at this time. Eligible seniors or those assisting them to book an appointment can visit durham.ca/vaccineappointment or call 1-888-444-5113. The Durham College/Ontario Tech University site in Oshawa is currently fully booked until March 17 and is closed for new bookings as Lakeridge Health reviews vaccine allocations and delivery schedules, but residents can visit covidvaccine.lh.ca or call 905-721-4828 for updates. Please note that vaccination clinics are by appointment only and those without an appointment will be turned away.
In the coming weeks, we will provide information about mobile clinics for individuals who may have difficulty accessing larger clinics, as well as information about the next priority groups eligible for receiving vaccines. Please visit www.durham.ca/covidvaccines for the most up to date information about COVID-19 vaccine, priority groups and vaccine clinic locations.
Unfortunately, we continue to see new cases of COVID-19 daily across the region and the Health Department’s COVID-19 response efforts related to case and contact management are still ongoing. As we are now managing vaccine administration in addition to other COVID-19 response efforts, the Health Department is receiving assistance from the Provincial Workforce for case and contact management. Residents who test positive for COVID-19 may receive follow-up calls from the Provincial Workforce, as well as a text message asking them to complete a voluntary assessment form. Completing this form helps the Health Department with the important work of contact tracing. All information collected is kept confidential and protected by Ontario’s strict privacy laws and will only be used for public health purposes. Thank you for your cooperation with public health staff as you are helping to prevent others from getting ill.
Please continue to follow public health measures to help stop the spread of illness in our community, stay at home as much as possible, avoid social gatherings and, where possible, work remotely. Any non-essential travel should be avoided, even between public health measure zones, as it will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread and undo all the progress we have made.
March 3, 2021
Variants are viruses that have changed or mutated, which is common in coronaviruses. VOCs can be more transmissible, may result in more severe illness or can impact vaccine effectiveness. The VOCs currently identified globally and in Ontario include : B.1.1.7 (first identified in the UK), B1.351 or 501Y.V2 (first identified in South Africa) and P.1 (first identified in Brazil). Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be notified by Health Department staff if they screen positive for a mutation or if their specimen is confirmed as a VOC. It is very important that residents contacted by the Health Department follow all recommendations to protect family members, co-workers and other contacts from getting ill.
A new section has been added to the Case Status tab on the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker which shows the number of cases confirmed for VOCs and screened positive for VOCs. VOC case information is also available by municipality. In Durham Region, there has been a total of 183 VOC cases (confirmed or screened positive) to date. Residents and community partners who are interested in reviewing the provincial status of VOCs may refer to Public Health Ontario’s Daily Epidemiologic Summary report.
Please continue to follow public health measures, stay at home as much as possible, avoid social gatherings and, where possible, work remotely. Any non-essential travel should be avoided, even between public health measure zones, as it will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread and undo all the progress we have made.
February 26, 2021
Many local businesses have reopened following the provincial decision to move Durham Region to the Red-Control zone of the COVID-19 Response Framework. It is important that businesses reopen safely and comply with the restrictions in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thank you to business owners and operators for your support and efforts to ensure customers and staff remain safe during the ongoing pandemic.
Currently across the region, provincial offences officers, public health inspectors, tobacco enforcement officers and local by-law officers are visiting businesses as part of an education campaign to carry out inspections and ensure compliance with the Reopening Ontario Act. Inspectors will be checking for compliance with various requirements including adhering to capacity limits, appropriately screening workers and customers, enforcing masking requirements, and having appropriate safety plans in place. Businesses such as hair and nail salons, tattoo studios, dance studios and full-service restaurants may be inspected over the next few days as part of this campaign.
Health Department staff continues to conduct public health inspections and investigations on an ongoing basis to help keep community members safe. Recent enhancements to the Health Department’s Check&Go ! disclosure program now allow users to view inspection results and legal activities related to COVID-19 response. COVID-19 inspection results and legal activities for other facilities not routinely inspected by the Health Department are also included (e.g. fitness facilities and various retail stores).
Please continue to support local businesses and follow the public health measures that they have implemented to help keep us all healthy and safe, and remember to stay local. Any non-essential travel should be avoided, even between public health measure zones. Travel between regions should be avoided as it will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread and undo all the progress we have made.
February 24, 2021
The Health Department continues to receive numerous inquiries from residents about the availability of COVID-19 vaccine. We are very pleased that area residents are expressing an interest in getting vaccinated as soon as possible, as vaccination of the broader community will reduce the risks of COVID-19 across the region. While we understand that many are anxiously awaiting their turn, at this time we are working to ensure that immediate priority groups are vaccinated in accordance with the province’s three-phased vaccine distribution implementation plan.
In partnership with Lakeridge Health, the Health Department will begin operating COVID-19 vaccination clinics for the following Phase 1 priority groups:
- Staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and residents of these homes that have not been vaccinated
- Alternate level of care patients in hospitals who have confirmed admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home
- Highest Priority health care workers, followed by Very High Priority health care workers, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 : Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination; and,
- Indigenous adults in northern remote and higher risk communities (including on-reserve and urban communities)
Currently, vaccination clinics are not open to the public and we are not taking bookings or reservations from residents. When all immediate priority groups have been vaccinated, vaccination of other remaining Phase 1 population groups will begin. We will communicate to community members and local health care providers when appointments can be booked for this population. Timelines for vaccinating Phase 2 priority groups will depend on vaccine availability and completion of vaccination of Phase 1 priority groups.
The Health Department continues to prepare for immunization of the broader community. With the support of local area municipalities, future clinic locations have been secured in all Durham Region municipalities, which will provide access to residents in the communities where they live. Please visit durham.ca/covidvaccines for the most up to date information about COVID-19 vaccine, priority groups and vaccine clinic locations.
We are pleased that we will be vaccinating immediate priority groups next and ask for everyone’s continued patience as we follow provincial direction and work through each phase of the vaccine distribution implementation plan. Please continue to follow public health measures, stay at home as much as possible, avoid social gatherings, and where possible, work remotely. Any non-essential travel should be avoided, even between public health measure zones. Travel between regions should be avoided as it will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread and undo all the progress we have made.
February 16, 2021
Durham Region has now moved to the Red-Control level of the provincial government’s COVID-19 Response Framework. This means that stringent measures and restrictions are in place across multiple sectors to control transmission of COVID-19. While many businesses, facilities and establishments can open, they must follow the restrictions and rules specified for the Red Zone. Some of the main restrictions in the Red-Control level include : businesses, places, facilities or establishments that are open must prepare and make available a safety plan; indoor dining is limited to 10 people in an establishment with a limit of four people seated together; gathering limits of five people indoors and 25 people outdoors for all organized public events and social gatherings; capacity limits for sports and recreational fitness facilities of 10 members of the public indoors and 25 members of the public outdoors, ensuring physical distancing requirements; capacity limits of 75 per cent for supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies and 50 per cent for all other retail; active screening at all mall entrances; no personal care services requiring removal of a mask or face covering are permitted at this time; and, cinemas remain closed. A detailed list of rules and restrictions is available in the Control – Red Zone (Stringent Measures) guidance document.
Please refer to the Community Reopening Toolkit which provides:
- Sector specific guidance
- Special instructions and Section 22 orders for employers, workplaces and retail establishments
- Responses to Frequently Asked Questions to help residents and local business owners and operators further understand requirements in the Red-Control level
Public health inspectors and tobacco enforcement officers continue to be out in the community working to educate owners and operators about COVID-19 health and safety requirements, and they have the authority to enforce applicable laws to keep employers, staff and the public safe. We depend on the cooperation of local businesses and the public to prevent COVID-19 transmission in our community.
Please continue to stay at home as much as possible and leave your home only for essential reasons, avoid social gatherings, and where possible, work remotely. Any non-essential travel should be avoided, even between public health measure zones. Travel between regions should be avoided as it will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread and undo all the progress we have made. Thank you for doing your part to help keep each other safe.
February 11, 2021
Earlier this week, the provincial government announced that it will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework. For Durham Region, the Stay-at-Home order will remain in effect until Feb. 16. we recommend businesses have a plan for each zone. We will provide further information as soon as it is available. Residents and businesses may also refer to the COVID-19 public health measures and advice provincial webpage for further information.
Local businesses are reminded that current restrictions remain in place and area residents are reminded to continue to stay home as much as possible. Leave only for essential reasons such as grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy, getting fresh air and exercise, going to school, etc. Please avoid all social gatherings and non-essential travel throughout the Family Day holiday weekend. Travel between regions should be avoided as it will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread and undo all the progress we have made.
Thank you for your commitment and patience as we work together to decrease COVID-19 transmission in our community. Please visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus often to remain informed about local public health advice, measures and restrictions.
February 10, 2021
Durham Region area schools have reopened for in-person learning, as classes resumed this past Monday, Feb. 8. We understand the important role that schools play in supporting the mental health and well-being, physical health, developmental health and learning for our children and youth. We also recognize how important it is to balance the health risks of COVID-19 and infection rates, and children’s health and well-being. To help in addressing these concerns, provincially-mandated enhanced public health measures have been established for all school communities which include :
- All students in grades one to 12 are required to wear a mask. This applies in classrooms and in hallways, before and after school programs, and on student transportation. Kindergarten students are strongly encouraged to wear masks
- All students in grades one to 12 and school staff are required to wear a mask outdoors when physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained
- Effective Feb. 10, secondary students are required to provide daily confirmation/proof that they have self screened and must wear a mask while on school premises
- School staff and essential visitors are required to provide daily confirmation/proof of having completed the daily screening prior to arrival
- All essential visitors to the school are required to wear a mask
- Students, parents and staff are not to congregate in, or around school property
Throughout this week, school public health nurses (PHNs) have been visiting schools to review the recommended infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures and provide support to school communities in the implementation of school boards’ COVID-19 health and safety plans. School PHNs are a school’s key public health contact for IPAC support, guidance, surveillance, screening and management of COVID-19 cases or outbreak within schools; this includes facilitating COVID-19 testing, as required. School PHNs also support communication with families and the broader school community regarding COVID-19 protocols, and can support mental health and well-being of school communities by providing resources and connecting staff and students with community supports.
It is important that parents continue to remain vigilant to stop the spread of COVID-19. Parents are responsible for screening their children for symptoms of illness every day using the provincial COVID-19 school and childcare screening tool. Parents are also required to have children stay at home if children are not feeling well. Together we can keep school communities healthy and safe. For more information about COVID-19 and the reopening of schools visit durham.ca/schoolsreopening.
February 3, 2021
The health and safety of Durham Region residents remain the Health Department’s main priority. Staff have been actively involved in COVID-19 response for a year and continue to focus on preventing illness spread in our community every single day. Each one of my dedicated staff members have a role to play in COVID-19 response; they use their specialized knowledge, skills and expertise to minimize risks of illness. The #PublicHealthProtects infographic highlights some of the Health Department’s COVID-19 response activities and achievements to date. Thank you to all area residents and community partners for continuing to support us in the fight against COVID-19.
Unfortunately, some Health Department staff have encountered negative comments, non-compliance and, in some cases, abusive language and behaviour, as they are doing their job working to keep everyone safe. I acknowledge that the pandemic has been exhausting and has had a significant impact on daily life. However, the pandemic is not over, and my staff continue to focus on mitigating the risks of COVID-19. Whether it is a public health nurse on the phone answering questions or working closely with a resident who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to help identify potential risk for others, or a public health inspector who is responding to an outbreak or conducting an inspection to ensure public health measures are followed, please remember that their advice, direction or instruction is intended to prevent illness spread and deaths in our community.
While we continue to strive to provide exceptional customer service, we have zero tolerance for community members who engage in the use of profane, aggressive, abusive, sexist, racist or homophobic language. Where necessary, individuals who engage in such behaviour will be referred to the appropriate authority for follow-up. Please be respectful and continue to work together to protect each other.
January 27, 2021
The Health Department continues to enhance the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker to keep area residents and local partners informed of the status of COVID-19 across the region. The newest tab provides information on the number of workplace and community event outbreaks that are either ongoing or have concluded. A workplace outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in a workplace with evidence that transmission occurred in the workplace within a 14-day period, where at least two cases could have reasonably acquired their infection in the workplace. A community event (e.g. wedding) outbreak is defined as three or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases occurring in the community from at least two different households, with evidence of transmission within a 14-day period, where at least two of the cases could have reasonably acquired their infection in the community setting.
In addition to the workplace and community events outbreaks enhancements, residents who are interested in the data for their own neighbourhood can now access a new time period filter which has been added to the Neighbourhoods Map tab. This new feature allows users to view cumulative case data for specific time periods.
If you have reviewed the information on the Data Tracker recently, you would have noticed there has been a decrease in the number of new cases over the past few days. While this may indicate that things are moving in a positive direction, we must all be aware that we are still seeing daily fluctuation in case numbers and there continues to be a high risk of illness spread in our community.
Monday, Jan. 25, marked the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case reported in Ontario. In Durham Region, the first case was reported approximately one month later, Feb. 28, 2020. Over the past year, everyone has had to adapt to different ways of doing everyday things such as working, learning, shopping, staying active and socializing. While the fight against COVID-19 has been exhausting, we all need to continue following public health advice as we wait for the availability of vaccine for the broader population. Please continue to only go out for essential purposes, stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19, wear a non-medical mask or face covering in public places, and remember to practise physical distancing and frequent hand hygiene.
January 20, 2021
Over the weekend, Jan. 16 and 17, Health Department public health inspectors visited area big box and grocery stores to ensure compliance with COVID-19 public health measures as part of a provincial enforcement blitz. Public health inspectors were joined by provincial inspectors, as well as local bylaw and police officers, in this initiative to help protect workers and customers in response to rising COVID-19 cases. Inspections focused on ensuring that workers and patrons were wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and following all public health and safety measures.
A total of 53 big box and grocery stores were inspected as part of the campaign, with the Health Department completing inspections at 21 of these stores. The Health Department issued six warning letters and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development issued three tickets and three occupational health and safety orders. Warnings, orders or tickets were issued for non-compliance with various public health measures such as: having a safety plan, active staff screening, proper use of masks or face coverings, and proper cleaning and disinfection.
Throughout the pandemic, public health inspectors and tobacco enforcement officers have been working to ensure compliance with public health measures that will help keep everyone safe. They continue to respond to complaints, conduct inspections and educate business owners, operators and staff on the actions that are required to comply with regulations, instructions and public health advice. Since the beginning of the pandemic’s second wave last September, public health inspectors have responded to over 4,700 inquiries and complaints related to lack of compliance with COVID-19 public health measures. Staying informed will help ensure compliance and continues to be of utmost importance as we all work together to fight COVID-19. Please visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus often for new and updated information. Sector-specific resources for business owners and operators are available at durham.ca/reopeningtoolkit.
Inspections of big box and grocery stores will be ongoing, as compliance with public health measures can help prevent further illness spread in our community. Thank you to all local businesses, employees and residents for remaining committed to following public health advice and working hard everyday to keep everyone safe.
January 13, 2021
The province of Ontario declared a second provincial emergency, effective Jan. 12, 2021 and issued a stay-at-home order which goes into effect at 12 :01 a.m. Jan. 14, 2021. The announcement follows the alarming provincial projections shared by the Science Table, which is a group of scientific experts and health system leaders that is informing Ontario’s response to COVID-19. The stay-at-home order requires everyone to remain at home unless they are going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, going outside for exercise or going to work where the work cannot be done remotely. All businesses are required to ensure that all workers who can work remotely do work from home. These public health restrictions aim to limit mobility and reduce the number of contacts that people have with individuals outside their household. The provincial emergency provides authority to all provincial offences officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police services, public health inspectors, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals, employees and corporations in retail settings and businesses who do not comply with an order. The enhanced measures also provide them with the authority to disperse crowds indoors and outdoors, and closed premises.
In Durham Region, we have seen a very concerning increasing trend in the number of new daily cases since December and we continue to respond to outbreaks that are affecting our most vulnerable residents in long-term care homes and retirement homes. I urge all residents to follow public health measures and requirements, only go out for essentials, stay home if you have any symptoms, and please protect yourselves and others when you must go out by wearing a face covering, practicing physical distancing and practicing frequent hand hygiene.
January 6, 2021
Everyone has been anticipating the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine and is anxious for more information. Durham Region Health Department remains committed to sharing information as soon as it becomes available. The decisions regarding how the vaccine will be distributed across Ontario and who will be vaccinated first are under the control of the provincial government. The province has developed a three-phase plan for vaccinating Ontarians which is available on its COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario web page. The plan focuses first on vulnerable populations who are at greatest risk of COVID-19. At this time, the Health Department has not received any vaccine and we are awaiting further information from the province regarding timelines.
Under the provincial plan, Lakeridge Health is one of 17 Ontario hospitals that received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to support vaccination of designated essential caregivers. Currently, individuals who are being vaccinated in Durham Region include health care workers and essential caregivers who work in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings caring for seniors. The Health Department continues to be engaged with our local hospital partners and we are providing support as needed. In the coming weeks, vaccines will be available to residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes, as well as First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Metis and Inuit adults. Later this winter, it is anticipated that area residents 70 and older will be able to be vaccinated. We are working with our provincial partners to ensure that the Health Department is prepared to receive, distribute and administer vaccines when they are available to us. We understand that area residents have many questions about how and when the broader public will be vaccinated. Please visit www.durham.ca/covidvaccines often for updates regarding COVID-19 vaccines.
Presently, the two vaccines approved for use in Canada are the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Both are mRNA vaccines which means that the vaccines tell the cells in our body to make a protein that is found specifically on the virus that causes COVID-19. These “spike proteins” trigger our body to start making antibodies which will protect us from becoming ill if we are exposed to the virus. Both vaccines require two doses; following the second dose, it may take another one to two weeks to achieve maximum protection against COVID-19. Since we don’t have information on long-term protection yet, it will be important for those that have been vaccinated to continue with public health measures such as physical distancing, wearing a mask and staying home when sick. At this time, the use of the Moderna vaccine is approved for people who are at least 18-years old and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for individuals who are at least 16-years old. The safety and effectiveness of these vaccines in children has not yet been established, however, we do expect that vaccines will be available for younger populations in the future.
2020 Medical Officer of Health messages
December 23, 2020
The Provincewide Shutdown is a provincial decision to help control the spread of illness in Durham Region and across the province. On Saturday, Dec. 26, Durham Region will be placed into the Provincewide Shutdown to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. This Provincewide Shutdown will be in effect until Jan. 23, 2021; all of southern Ontario, including Durham Region, will be affected by this shutdown. Maximum public health measures, widespread closures, and additional restrictions for businesses will be in effect for at least the following 28 days. People are strongly encouraged to stay home during the shutdown, except to obtain essential items such as groceries and for medical concerns. Details about the shutdown are available in the Provincewide Shutdown guidance document issued by the province. During the Provincewide Shutdown, Ontario’s colour-coded COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused. This means that measures in the Red-Control Zone that Durham Region Health Department had been in, will be replaced by the Provincewide Shutdown restrictions effective Dec. 26.
Some of the data that informed this decision is available on the new Ontario Framework tab on the COVID-19 Data Tracker; you can access the tab directly at durham.ca/covidframework. Area residents can review local data on : the weekly incidence rate of COVID-19 per 100,000; test per cent positivity; effective reproduction number, which estimates the average number of people one case can infect; number of ongoing outbreaks; level of community transmission; health system capacity; and public health capacity.
I acknowledge that this shutdown will have a significant impact on our business community. Please continue to support our local business owners and operators by complying with public health guidelines and requirements; ordering take-out, if possible; picking up items curbside; and shopping on-line wherever possible.
Please have a safe holiday by having in-person celebrations only with those you live with and reach out virtually to other family and friends.
December 16, 2020
While there’s still a lot of information to come about the role that public health units (PHUs) will have, we do know that the provincial government has developed a vaccine distribution implementation plan which indicates that PHUs will receive vaccine supply in early 2021. Whatever our responsibility, Durham Region Health Department will be ready. The Health Department has expertise in vaccine distribution and administration that spans many years. Each school year, the Health Department works with area school boards through our School Immunization Program to ensure that all students receive the appropriate vaccines at the correct time as outlined in the provincial immunization schedule. Health Department staff spend many hours tracking thousands of students across Durham Region to confirm that all vaccines are up to date, and any missing vaccines are identified so they can be administered to ensure that students are protected from a wide-variety of vaccine preventable diseases. Health Department staff also manage a number of Department immunization clinics geared toward students who may have missed a school vaccination clinic, or members of vulnerable populations who may be challenged in accessing a health care provider. For almost 20 years, we have overseen and managed the province’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program in Durham Region, working with countless health care offices, pharmacies and other providers to deliver influenza vaccine to members of our community. Whatever role we will play in the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, we will be ready – we look forward to working with the province and other partners, including Region of Durham Paramedic Services, Durham Emergency Management and Lakeridge Health, as more information is received regarding the availability of COVID-19 vaccine in Durham Region.
December 9, 2020
While this is a time of year when many of us usually look forward to spending the holidays with family and friends, sharing meals and having large gatherings, COVID-19 continues to spread across our region and we must remain committed to our fight against illness. We know that social gatherings increase the risk of illness for all attendees and we ask that area residents celebrate differently this year. The provincial government has provided guidelines for gatherings and winter holiday celebrations to identify the safest way to participate in holiday activities. Please avoid in-person social gatherings at work and at home; virtual celebrations are the safest way to enjoy the holidays with loved ones outside of your household. Leave home only for essential reasons and if possible, use alternate methods to do your holiday shopping, such as on-line shopping or curbside pick-up. Avoid travelling as much as possible, including going to regions that are in the green, yellow or orange levels of the provincial COVID-19 Response Framework. Students who are returning home for the holidays should self-quarantine or drastically reduce contact with others, as much as possible, for 10 to 14 days before returning home. To protect yourself and the ones you care about, please continue to follow public health measures: practice physical distancing; frequently and thoroughly wash your hands; wear a non-medical mask or face covering in all indoor public spaces and when physical distancing is challenging; avoid touching your face; clean high-touch surfaces often; and, if you are experiencing any symptoms, even mild symptoms, stay home. Despite the restrictions currently in place across our region, I hope that you can find creative ways to celebrate this year and I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.
December 2, 2020
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout our community, I have recently issued class orders to owners and operators of retail stores and owners or occupiers of workplaces, under the authority of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
The class order issued for retail stores strengthens the Health Department’s ability to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the community. While most retail stores are compliant with public health guidelines, there are retailers that have not followed instructions and recommendations, which significantly increases the risk of illness to all employees and patrons. The class order is a legal tool to help ensure that retail stores follow requirements and implement measures to protect their patrons, staff and visitors. The class order issued for workplaces will strengthen the Health Department’s ability to address workplaces that do not cooperate during workplace investigations and/or outbreaks, and will help ensure that all workplaces follow public health guidelines and instructions to protect the health of employees. Please visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus to read the details of these class orders and learn how they impact you.
While the class orders were issued to owners and operators, we ask all employees and patrons to follow the instructions provided by your workplaces and local businesses and do your part to help prevent the spread of illness. Please continue to work together and support each other through these challenging times.
November 23, 2020
Today, Durham Region has moved to the Red-Control level of the provincial government’s Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. Significant changes in the Red-Control level include : gathering limit changes for all organized public events and social gatherings, including private dwellings; changes to most indoor capacity limits; closure of cinemas and indoor dining in food courts; performing arts facilities are closed to spectators; and, real estate open houses are not permitted. A key change that applies to all residents is that no more than five people are permitted in any gathering indoors (more than five people living in the same household is not considered a gathering). A detailed list of all changes is available in the Control – Red Zone (Stringent Measures) Requirements guidance document. The Health Department has also prepared responses to Frequently Asked Questions to help residents and local business owners and operators further understand requirements in the Red-Control level. The move to the Red-Control level also means that restrictions in O. Reg. 263/20 : Rules for Areas in Stage 2 are now in place again.
Durham Region has moved very quickly from Yellow to Red and new restrictions have not always been easy to understand. Public health inspectors continue to be out in the community working to educate owners and operators about COVID-19 health and safety requirements and they have the authority to enforce applicable laws to keep employers, staff and the public safe. Our public health inspectors also have the knowledge and expertise to provide support, explain complex requirements and help business owners and operators understand how they can implement changes to ensure compliance with public health guidelines and requirements. It is the role of our public health inspectors to review COVID-19 public health measures with operators including physical distancing plans, cleaning and disinfecting practices and safety plans. We are depending on the cooperation of both local businesses and the public to help change the direction of the rising trend of COVID-19 cases across our Region.
We all need to continue to work together and do our part to make a difference. To help control the rapid spread of illness, new information continues to be shared as it becomes available. Staying informed and continuing to follow all public health guidelines will benefit the entire community.
November 18, 2020
On Nov. 6, the provincial government released the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework which categorizes public health regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control and Lockdown. As of Nov. 16, Durham Region was moved to the Orange-Restrict level. Significant changes in the Orange-Restrict level include changes to indoor capacity limits, operating hours of certain establishments, guidelines for the sale of liquor, and active screening requirements of patrons. A detailed list of all changes is available in the Restrict Phase (Intermediate Measures) Orange Zone Requirements guidance document. The Health Department has also prepared responses to Frequently Asked Questions to help residents and local business owners/operators further understand requirements in the Orange-Restrict level.
Please continue to follow public health guidance and adhere to guidelines and requirements to minimize community spread of COVID-19. The spread of illness in our community will inform decisions to move Durham Region to another one of the five levels. You can stay informed of the status of COVID-19 across the region by visiting the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker often. Please stay informed and continue working together to protect each other and help keep everyone safe.
November 12, 2020
On Nov. 6, the provincial government released the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework which categorizes public health regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control and Lockdown. As of Nov. 7, Durham Region was moved to the Yellow-Protect level. The new provincial framework includes some additional public health measures for business owners/operators and the public. The Health Department has developed further guidance in the Protect Classification (Strengthened Measures) Requirements document to help residents and local business owners/operators understand new and existing requirements in the Yellow-Protect level, with added focus provided on the new requirements. Public health measures are listed for : gatherings; workplaces; restaurants, bars and food or drink establishments; sports and recreational fitness facilities; meeting and event spaces; retail; personal care services; casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments; cinemas; and, performing arts facilities.
Following public health guidance and adhering to guidelines and requirements will help to minimize community spread of COVID-19. We are depending on everyone’s cooperation to follow the latest public health measures and continue to take protective public health measures including the use of non-medical masks or face coverings, physical distancing, hand and cough hygiene, and staying home when sick. Please continue to visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus regularly to stay informed and stay safe.
November 5, 2020
The Health Department continues to identify opportunities to help residents stay informed and take actions to protect themselves and others. The most recent enhancements to the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker allow users to view data in various ways, using filters to see the data of greatest interest. A date range filter has been added to the age and gender section, as well as the Exposure Source tab. Using the date range filters, you can see how the illness has affected age groups and populations differently during the first wave as compared to the second wave, and you can see how the main sources of exposure to COVID-19 have changed over time. Users can also now easily filter for active outbreaks and type of facility/institution on the Institutional Outbreaks, and School and Child Care Centre Outbreaks tabs.
Building on the positive feedback received from community partners on the COVID-19 Data Tracker, the Health Department has now launched the Flu Tracker which provides a comprehensive weekly summary of local seasonal influenza activity. This new dashboard includes: the number of laboratory confirmed influenza cases; information on respiratory outbreaks in long-term care homes, retirement homes and hospitals; and, absenteeism as reported by child care centres and school boards. The Flu Tracker is updated every Wednesday from October to April.
Please continue to visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus regularly for the latest information on illness in our community, and follow public health preventive measures to help keep yourself and others healthy.
October 30, 2020
Many residents normally enjoy celebrating Halloween in various ways, including having social gatherings with friends and family. As I noted previously, Halloween festivities will certainly be much different than in previous years. As we try to control the spread of COVID-19 across Durham Region, it is strongly encouraged to limit Halloween gatherings. Social gatherings increase risks of illness spread for all attendees. This year, it is safest to celebrate Halloween with members of your household and enjoy virtual celebrations with others. If you do plan to proceed with a Halloween gathering, please ensure that you adhere to the gathering limits currently in place across the province. there is a limit of 25 people at outdoor gatherings, and physical distancing must always be maintained. These limits cannot be combined; residents cannot have 35 people at their event. Guests should all wear non-medical masks or face coverings at any time when maintaining two metres (six feet) distance from other guests is challenging. A costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering and should not be worn over a face covering as it may make it difficult to breathe.
If you plan on taking the family trick or treating door-to-door, please allow at least two metres (six feet) physical distance between household groups and do not gather or linger at doorsteps.
Visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus for more safety tips to help you enjoy Halloween 2020. Please enjoy Halloween in the safest way possible – follow all public health measures, be respectful of families that are not participating in festivities this year and most importantly, if you have symptoms or feel unwell, please stay home and do not pass out treats; just enjoy some candy by yourself from the comfort of home. Have a safe and fun Halloween !
October 26, 2020
Over the course of the pandemic, the Health Department has communicated preventive measures that residents can take to minimize risks of COVID-19. No single measure is enough to prevent the spread of illness, but rather, we all must use the many measures in combination for them to be as effective as possible. Hand hygiene, physical distancing and other infection prevention and control measures are critical to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
As part of these measures, it is also important that residents use a mask properly. The science has shown that virus transmission can occur from : symptomatic individuals; prior to the onset of symptoms; and from those that do not ever develop any symptoms but can still shed the virus. Non-medical masks or face coverings can protect others from exposure to respiratory droplets of the individual wearing the mask. Community members will only benefit from using non-medical masks in public spaces when people are wearing masks appropriately. This means that masks must be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping. Wearing a mask below your nose is not an effective way to use a mask and puts others at risk, as respiratory droplets are also released through your nose while breathing. It is important to recognize that COVID-19 can be spread anywhere in the community – you could be at the bank, at the grocery store, at the mall, at a place of worship, at an indoor or outdoor household gathering (even if adhering to provincial gathering limits), the risk of exposure can occur anywhere in the community. This is why the proper use of non-medical masks or face coverings when at least two metres of physical distance cannot be maintained is crucial to help us all protect each other.
Residents must also remember to adhere to gathering limits currently in place across the province. and physical distancing must be maintained at all times. Local businesses and places of worship must adhere to gathering limits and physical distancing requirements as set out by the provincial government. Helpful links from a variety of industry agencies and numerous guidance documents for sector-specific businesses and services are available in the Community Reopening Toolkit.
Following public health guidance and adhering to guidelines and requirements will help to minimize community spread of COVID-19. We have seen a range of outcomes in individuals that have had COVID-19. While it is true that many will be lucky enough to have very mild symptoms that will resolve quickly, unfortunately, some will need hospitalization, some will suffer serious long-term effects and sadly, some will die. We must all remain committed, continue to work together and do everything in our power to minimize the impacts this illness can have in our community.
October 21, 2020
We have seen over the past few weeks greater restrictions implemented in our neighbouring jurisdictions, Toronto and York, to help address the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. In Durham Region, we have also seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, but we have not yet been required to implement modified Stage 2 pandemic restrictions. It is important to note that locally, most cases were exposed to COVID-19 in the community, which means that the source of infection is unknown and assumed to be acquired somewhere in the public space. We have an opportunity to take immediate actions to help prevent the re-introduction of stricter measures in our community. By working together and taking preventive steps, we can limit the spread of illness and avoid a worse scenario. This is why I am recommending that you :
- Minimize, as much as possible, close contact with people outside of your own household
- Limit non-essential activities
- Continue to practise physical distancing
- Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands
- Wear a non-medical mask or face covering in all indoor (enclosed) public spaces and when physical distancing is challenging
- Remain home and self-isolate if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms
I also ask that residents use good judgment and make safe choices when participating in regular activities such as dining at restaurants or exercising at a local gym. It is safest to dine at restaurants with people in your household and use public facilities at times when they are less busy and it is easier to practise physical distancing. Visit the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker often to keep informed about the status of COVID-19 across the Region. Please continue to stay informed and stay safe.
October 16, 2020
We recognize how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic has been on daily life, especially on the regular activities of children. Unfortunately, Halloween will also feel the impact. As we all continue to work together to control the spread of COVID-19, Halloween festivities will certainly be much different than in previous years. While celebrating this year, it is strongly encouraged to continue following all public health measures to ensure everyone remains safe. Frequent and thorough handwashing, wearing a non-medical mask or face covering, and physical distancing remain very important public health messages if you choose to participate in Halloween.
To help keep the festivities as safe as possible, the Health Department recommends a variety of alternative activities that residents can plan, while still enjoying the spookiest night of the year, such as:
- Making your own treats at home with your family instead of going out
- Decorating your house, or even have a contest with your neighbours. Remember to physically distance if you’re not part of the same household and wear a non-medical mask or face covering if you can’t keep two meters (six feet) apart
- Hosting a virtual Halloween celebration for family and friends, and those who are feeling unwell
- Planning a fun outdoor activity such as a scavenger hunt with those in your household
If you do plan to go door-to-door trick or treating remember to :
- Stay home if you are sick or if you have symptoms – even if you have mild symptoms
- Only go out with members of your direct household, remain within your community, and stay two metres (six feet) apart
- Only trick or treat outside
- Wear a non-medical mask or face covering. Remember, a costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering and should not be worn over a face covering as it may make it hard to breathe
- Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps. Line up two metres (six feet) apart if waiting
- Be respectful of households that are not handing out treats this year
Visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus for more safety tips to help you enjoy Halloween 2020. Whatever your plans, we can’t stress enough the importance of following all public health guidelines. We all need to continue working together to protect each other and help keep everyone safe.
October 8, 2020
As we aim to control the spread of COVID-19 in our community, it is important that we all continue to do our part and take public health preventive measures during the holiday season. While many of us usually gather with our loved ones over the upcoming holiday weekend, the safest way to celebrate with family and friends outside of your household this year is to gather virtually. Social gatherings increase the risk of illness for all attendees and those they have close contact with. If you choose to host or attend an in-person gathering, please remember that gatherings are currently limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors across the province. These limits cannot be combined; gatherings of 35 people are not permitted. Residents that host or attend social gatherings are asked to follow the public health advice on COVID-19 and social gatherings. Keep your party or gathering as small as possible and use outdoor spaces whenever you can; if indoors, determine how many people can easily maintain two metres (six feet) physical distance in your space. Remind guests of public health advice to follow during the event, including physical distancing and wearing a non-medical mask or face covering indoors, and wearing one outdoors if physical distancing is not possible. If you are experiencing any symptoms, even mild symptoms, protect the ones you care about and stay home. Please remember that limiting your close contacts to those in your household (i.e. the people you live with) will help to limit the spread of COVID-19.
October 2, 2020
For the past seven months, Health Department staff in collaboration with our Regional, municipal and community partners have worked tirelessly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. This week we released the report COVID-19 in Durham Region, Epi Summary 2 – Flattening the Curve, which provides a snapshot of how COVID-19 has changed over time in Durham Region. So far, the pandemic has had three noticeable phases: growth, flattening and recovery. As we are now entering the second wave and work to continue fighting greater illness spread, I take this opportunity to thank my dedicated team and our partners for all their ongoing efforts. Our strong local partnerships have helped us to coordinate activities to keep residents safe and informed. These are truly unprecedented times and my team has had to take extraordinary measures to help fight the spread of COVID-19. I recognize that all my staff and our partners have had to change regular activities, operations and schedules, and respond very rapidly. The Health Department’s response has benefited from the specialized skills of a diverse team of administrative and professional staff. These individuals have been pulled from their regular activities and quickly learned new skills to provide support and help keep the community informed and protected. It is everyone’s collective and individual resilience that will help us to get through the second wave of this pandemic. Everyone’s collaborative efforts helped us to flatten the curve in the first wave, and I am confident that we will continue to work together once again to flatten the growing curve in the second wave.
September 30, 2020
As we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 spread in our community, I have issued updated instructions for all enclosed (indoor) public spaces and common areas of apartment buildings and condominiums regarding the use of non-medical masks and face coverings. The instructions were issued under the authority of Ontario Regulation 364/20 – Rules for Areas in Stage 3 of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. The instructions, which came into effect on Sept. 28, require all persons responsible for a business or organization permitted to open during Stage 3 and all persons responsible for an apartment building or condominium to :
- Ensure public health measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Implement screening practices for employees and members of the public
- Have a policy in place to ensure that no person is allowed to enter an enclosed public space, including a common area of an apartment building or condominium accessed by residents and/or visitors, unless they are wearing a face covering at all times
The use of non-medical masks or face coverings in enclosed public spaces and common areas of apartment buildings and condominiums, along with physical distancing, hand and cough hygiene, and staying home when sick, prevents the spread of COVID-19 within the community. Best efforts should be taken to encourage compliance which include reminding customers, visitors and residents verbally to wear a face covering. Business operators and those responsible for apartment buildings or condominiums are reminded that some individuals are unable to wear face coverings and no person is required to show proof of exemption. These individuals should not be denied service or access. Owners and operators of businesses or organizations are encouraged to identify alternatives for individuals exempt from wearing a mask to still be able to receive access and/or service. The Health Department will be taking a progressive enforcement approach to ensure compliance, with a focus on education. Please refer to the instructions and related Fact Sheet, and also the guidelines, for further details and information of how these instructions impact you.
September 28, 2020
The Ontario government has amended order O. Reg 364/20 : Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, to tighten public health measures in response to the recent rise in cases of COVID-19. Provincial data show that an increase in illness is partly related to private social gatherings, along with outbreak clusters in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including strip clubs, with most cases in the 20 to 39 age group. The amended order, which came into effect on Sept. 26, will :
- Apply additional measures and restrictions to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) by :
- Prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m. and prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the premises after 12 a.m. until 9 a.m. (including employees); et
- Requiring establishments to close by 12 a.m. and remain closed until 5 a.m. except for takeout or delivery
- Close all strip clubs across the province; et
- Require businesses or organizations to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19, including screening individuals who wish to enter their premises
In addition, the province announced that it will work with municipalities and other partners to encourage increased enforcement of existing businesses, facilities, workplaces, etc. to comply with all public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in the Stage 3 regulation. Locally, we must all continue to work together to fight the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Please stay informed, follow public health instructions and continue to take public health preventive measures to keep yourselves and others safe.
September 25, 2020
As we continue to see increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases across Ontario, the provincial government has adapted its approach to testing and has released updated testing guidelines to prioritize those who are at the greatest risk, while shifting away from untargeted asymptomatic testing. This means that local area residents should only seek testing if they :
- Are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by the Health Department or the COVID Alert app
- Are a resident or staff member of a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified by the Health Department; et
- Are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care
Residents can read the provincial statement for further information. Locally, we must ensure that those individuals at greatest risk of illness and those who have been exposed to COVID-19 can get tested in a timely way. Residents who meet the above criteria can make an appointment for testing by completing the Lakeridge Health online assessment form at covidswab.lh.ca. I would also like to remind residents that a test will only provide a point-in-time result. Residents who receive negative test results must remain vigilant to avoid risk of illness. The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community is to continue to follow public health preventive measures. We ask all residents to continue to practise physical distancing, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, wear a non-medical mask or face covering in all indoor (enclosed) public spaces and when physical distancing is challenging, and remain home and self-isolate if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms.
September 23, 2020
This week, Sept. 21-26, is Environmental Public Health Week and I would like to highlight the hard work and dedication of our public health inspectors. The theme of Environmental Public Health Week this year is “public health is a collective effort”, which reflects how Health Department staff works collaboratively, and draws on the expertise and experience of various public health professionals to protect the health of area residents. Our public health inspectors have had a critical role in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to support the following activities:
- Enforcement of relevant provincial legislation and orders issued by the Medical Officer of Health
- Supporting compliance with provincial and Health Department guidance, and the Medical Officer of Health special instructions
- Providing outbreak support, guidance, surveillance testing support and infection prevention and control advice for long-term care homes, retirement homes, child care centres, post-secondary institutions, workplaces and congregate living settings such as group homes, shelters and migrant farms
- Providing support and guidance to businesses, stakeholders such as school boards, agencies, recreational facilities, sports teams and workplaces regarding preventive measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the community
- Developing educational resources for stakeholders and residents
- Leading a coordination and information sharing table for enforcement agencies, including local area municipalities and Durham Regional Police Service
- Conducting enhanced inspections of establishments routinely inspected by the Health Department such as restaurants, child care centres, personal service settings, recreational water facilities, etc. to ensure compliance with public health preventive measures; et
- Responding to complaints and inquiries from residents regarding non-compliance with public health preventive measures
As key members of the Health Department’s COVID-19 response team, public health inspectors play an invaluable role in our “collective effort” to mitigate risks and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and I thank them for their ongoing commitment.
September 22, 2020
On Monday, Sept. 21, Durham Region Health Department received information about an error made at the laboratory at SickKids Hospital where COVID-19 tests were completed for some residents of Durham Region. The Health Department was advised that the results were entered incorrectly as positive when they were in fact negative, impacting the results for 34 individuals. This error impacted cases reported at two Durham District School Board schools, a local child care centre, and the balance of the cases were from the community.
As soon as notification was received, Health Department staff immediately began contacting individuals, parents, schools and child care operators to let them know what had occurred. This error also impacted our ability to update case numbers on the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker for Sept. 21 and messaging was posted on the Data Tracker in this regard. Health Department staff have worked tirelessly for many months managing the positive cases of COVID-19 and their contacts within the community. Staff is very skilled in this risk assessment work and provide expert guidance to schools and child care centres in line with current Ontario Ministry of Health guidance.
Durham Region Health Department shares the concerns of our community regarding this error which occurred at the SickKids laboratory. We have received information regarding how this error occurred and the corrective steps that will be taken to rectify this situation. The SickKids laboratory has indicated that this error was identified as a result of a reporting mechanism whereby the positive result was selected in error. All results affected by this error came from tests completed at the Lakeridge Health COVID-19 Assessment Centres. All individuals impacted by this error have been contacted by the Health Department.
September 21, 2020
We continue to see increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases across the province. Over the weekend, the provincial government announced that informal gathering limits are reduced to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors throughout Ontario for at least the next 28 days. These restrictions apply to gatherings such as parties, dinners, BBQs and wedding receptions or events held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas. Residents should also be aware that that legislative amendments, if passed, would establish a minimum fine of $10,000 for organizers of gatherings that do not comply with these limits. We are depending on everyone’s cooperation to reduce the spread of illness in our community.
Today, I have updated the Section 22 order which was originally issued in April. Current updates to the order indicate that residents who are : diagnosed with COVID-19; have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting test results; have reasonable grounds to believe they have symptoms of COVID-19; or are a close contact of a person with COVID-19, must cooperate with Health Department staff.
The Health Department continues to identify ways to keep residents informed about the status of COVID-19 in our community. A new feature on the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker provides information about outbreaks in local schools and child care centres. An outbreak in a school is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff (or other visitors), where at least one case could have reasonably acquired the infection in the school (including while on a school bus and before/after school care programs). Individual cases in school students or staff that are not outbreak-related are not reported on this page; information about these individual cases is captured in the overall case numbers in the Data Tracker. Residents can also visit the provincial COVID-19 cases in schools and child care centres webpage for information on cases in schools and child care centres.
The Data Tracker has also been updated to now include more detail on exposure source of local cases. Residents can view statistics on cases that were exposed to COVID-19 through a household contact, workplace contact or other close contact, which provides more information on how COVID-19 is spreading in our community. In addition to these enhancements, starting Sept. 26, the Health Department will resume weekend updates of the Data Tracker, providing updated information seven days a week. It’s important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and cases are on the rise; we ask that residents continue to stay informed about restrictions, public health instructions and preventive measures, and the status of COVID-19 spread in our Region.
September 16, 2020
For many months, residents and local community partners have worked together to stay informed, implement public health measures and take precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Everyone’s collective efforts helped to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the region over the summer months. Over the past few days, we have seen an increase in new cases both in Ontario and in Durham Region. On Sept. 14, the Health Department was notified of 17 new cases, which is the largest number of new cases reported in one day since June. This is why we are asking everyone to remain committed to the fight against COVID-19. Now that children are back in school, it is very important that we continue to work together to prevent the spread of illness in our community which will help keep it from reaching our schools. The preventive measures that residents can take to keep themselves and others safe remain the same. Please continue to practise physical distancing, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, wear a non-medical mask or face covering in all indoor (enclosed) public spaces and when physical distancing is challenging, and remain home and self-isolate if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms. Students must also screen for COVID-19 symptoms everyday before going to school and can refer to the provincial COVID-19 school screening tool. Residents can keep informed about the status of COVID-19 across the region by visiting the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker. The Health Department remains focused on case and contact management, supporting schools, outbreak assessment and management, and surveillance and communication to help keep residents healthy and safe.
September 9, 2020
As schools across Durham Region reopen their doors to students, the Health Department has developed a Schools Reopening Toolkit, providing teachers and parents with access to resources to support a safe reopening and respond to concerns related to COVID-19 in schools. The toolkit includes a letter to parents, detailed frequently asked questions, informative fact sheets, a number of links to provincial guidance documents, credible resources including infection prevention and control guidance, and downloadable resources and signage that can be used in the school setting. Resources are also available for parents to use at home to help prepare their children for school. All schools will be equipped with enhanced health and safety protocols as guided by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Multiple protection strategies will be implemented not only to protect students, teachers, and the school community, but to also protect the broader community outside of the school. Strategies such as self-screening, masking, hand hygiene, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection, cohorting and adapted school environments are to be implemented to create an environment that is safe, healthy, and optimal for learning and development. Health Department public health nurses will work collaboratively with school communities to support the implementation of these strategies to help protect the health and safety of students and staff.
and will work closely with schools to ensure these outbreak processes are understood within individual schools at the local level. We encourage our area school boards and schools to bookmark and refer to the Schools Reopening Toolkit often to keep up to date on the latest resources and guidance.
September 4, 2020
As the provincial government has lifted numerous restrictions under Stage 3 and more businesses and facilities continue to reopen, the potential for community exposure to COVID-19 has increased. Information from across the province indicates that community transmission is now occurring more among individuals under 30-years old. That’s why we’re encouraging young people in our community to download the COVID Alert App, a tool that notifies you of your potential exposure to COVID-19. Through our case and contact management, and surveillance processes, the Health Department found that one-quarter of Durham Region’s currently active cases are between 20 and 29-years old. While case numbers in all age groups have been decreasing since the peak of the pandemic in April and May, currently young people under 30 are increasingly making up a higher proportion of cases, accounting for 35 per cent of cases in August compared to only 11 per cent in April. During the month of August, Health Department statistics indicated that:
- almost all cases under 20-years old acquired COVID-19 through a household contact
- half of the cases between 20 and 29-years old acquired COVID-19 somewhere in the community with the source of infection unknown; et
- thirty per cent of reported cases in Clarington were 20 to 29-years old – the highest proportion of all Durham Region municipalities
We’ve seen the COVID Alert App effectively being used locally, as we’ve been told by individuals in our community that they made the decision to get tested after receiving an alert through the app and subsequently tested positive. We encourage everyone to download the COVID Alert App to your smartphone today. The COVID Alert app is just one part of the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Everyone is still encouraged to follow all public health guidelines and recommendations, continue to stay informed, practise physical distancing, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wear a non-medical mask or face covering in all indoor, enclosed public spaces.
September 2, 2020
The Health Department’s latest enhancement to the Data Tracker is a list of frequently asked questions, which was developed based on community feedback. Questions such as “What is a confirmed case?”, “How are the data collected?”, “Why are probable cases not reported?”, plus many others, are answered in detail to provide you with a better understanding of the work that is being undertaken by the Health Department. We value and welcome your feedback – if you have a question that isn’t listed, please let us know. as necessary, to ensure the information we share meets the needs of Durham Region residents.
August 26, 2020
Last week the Ontario government eased restrictions for meeting and event facilities, lessened contact information requirements for bars and restaurants, and provided updated advice for religious services, rites or ceremonies. As of August 21, facilities can have up to 50 guests for each indoor meeting room or event space within a facility, including convention centres, hotels, motels, resorts, banquet halls and conference centres. Facilities are required to adhere to a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health at the Ontario Ministry of Health. Outdoor meeting and event facilities are still limited to 100 guests for the entire outdoor area. Residents and business operators can refer to the provincial guidance for professional meeting and event facilities during COVID-19 for more information. Regulatory amendments with respect to bars and restaurants require businesses to collect contact information for only one person in a party entering indoor or outdoor dining areas, with exceptions. For updated guidance regarding the operation of places of worship, residents can refer to the province’s updated COVID-19 Advice : Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies. The updated advice includes recommendations for adapting or suspending activities that increase the risk of disease transmission including : singing and playing of brass and wind instruments; hosting social gatherings before/after in-person services that adhere to public gathering limits and with physical distancing in place; and, sharing of objects or materials. Please note that while the province has eased some restrictions, requirements for public health preventive measures such as physical distancing between individuals at events, wearing a non-medical mask or face covering, hand hygiene and enhanced cleaning, remain in place. Following public health advice will help to prevent the spread of illness in our community as the province eases restrictions. Please continue to stay informed by visiting the province’s COVID-19 web page and durham.ca/novelcoronavirus regularly.
August 19, 2020
The Health Department has received notification from the Ontario Ministry of Health for approval to recruit up to 26 nurses to be assigned to school-focused COVID-19 activities, as part of the provincial government’s Plan for Safe Reopening of Schools. These nurses will include both experienced and newly hired nurses who will provide education and training for staff, parents and students on infection prevention and control. The nurses will also provide rapid-response support to schools and boards in facilitating public health and preventive measures including screening, testing, tracing and mitigation strategies. Plans are currently underway for a recruitment campaign. The Health Department is also reviewing all information provided by the Ministry to further understand our role, and we will be working with our local schools and school boards to develop and implement processes for responding to COVID-19 concerns. The Ministry has indicated that the role of these school nurses will be to :
- Provide support to school boards and schools in the production and administration of COVID-19 health and safety plans
- Provide sector specific support for :
- Infection prevention and control
- Surveillance, screening and testing
- Outbreak management; et
- Case and contact management
- Support communication and engagement with parents and local communities, as well as the broader health care sector.
While the priority for these nurses will focus on COVID-19 response, with an emphasis on outbreak and case and contact management, these additional nurses may also provide support to improve the health of school-aged children, as well as support child care centres, home child care premises and other priority settings, as needed. The Health Department is committed to working with our local school boards and community partners to help ensure the continued safety of all students and staff, and encourages everyone to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
August 17, 2020
As schools across Durham Region prepare to reopen in September, the Health Department is actively working with local school boards to implement public health measures to support a safe return to school for staff and students. Health Department staff is working to ensure that the current provincial direction on public health measures such as physical distancing, masking, hand hygiene and enhanced cleaning are reflected in local school board plans and implemented within schools. Timing of release of local plans and protocols for schools will be determined by each individual school board. We understand that further meetings are being held between the school boards and the province on all measures related to school reopening, including issues around transportation.
Schools are in the process of determining how many students will be physically present in classrooms and will adjust local plans accordingly. While our current focus is to support the implementation of precautionary public health measures in schools. and will engage in outbreak management with local schools based on forthcoming provincial guidance. There have been ongoing discussions between the Health Department, school boards and the province to ensure that the course we are taking continues to decrease the risk of COVID-19 for staff and students.
As schools reopen across the Region, it will be very important for residents to continue to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the community. Keeping cases of COVID-19 as low as possible in the community is an important way to keep COVID-19 out of schools. Families are encouraged to review public health guidelines together and teach children and youth about the importance of proper hand hygiene, physical distancing whenever possible, avoiding touching one’s face and safety while using a non-medical face mask. Students that feel unwell or are experiencing any symptoms must stay home and seek clinical assessment.
If members of the community have specific concerns about the province’s reopening of schools plan or the Guide to Reopening Schools, the Health Department encourages them to reach out to the Ministry of Education and/or the Ministry of Health. Families in unique situations that require individual assessment and a tailored response for risk reduction should discuss their situations with school administrators and teachers.
August 12, 2020
Last week, the Government of Canada introduced the COVID Alert app, a notification app that provides information regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 to help control the spread of the virus. COVID Alert is free of charge and can be downloaded to your smartphone by visiting the Apple App store or Google Play store. This app works by letting people know of possible exposures to COVID-19 before any symptoms appear by using Bluetooth technology to exchange random codes with nearby phones. Everyday, the app checks a list of random codes from people who tell the app that they have tested positive for COVID-19. If you’ve been near one of these codes in the past 14 days, you’ll receive a notification. The COVID Alert app does not use GPS or track your location. It has no way of knowing : your location; your name or address; your phone's contacts; your health information; or, the health information of anyone near you. No one will get any information about you or the time you were near them. The COVID Alert app is just one part of the public health effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Everyone is still encouraged to follow all public health guidelines and recommendations, continue to stay informed, practise physical distancing, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wear a non-medical mask or face covering in all indoor, enclosed public spaces. You are urged to use the app for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, that way when people in your area report a diagnosis, you'll be notified if you were near them. COVID Alert does not replace manual contact tracing by local public health units and it does not replace medical advice. If you get sick, you are encouraged to contact your healthcare provider.
August 5, 2020
The provincial government has released a plan for reopening schools for in-class instruction for the 2020-2021 school year. The government’s plan was developed in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the provincial COVID-19 Command Table and paediatric experts. Elementary schools (kindergarten to grade 8) will reopen with in-class instruction five days a week. Some secondary schools, deemed to be lower risk, will reopen with a normal daily schedule of five days a week, while most secondary schools will reopen with an adapted model of part-time attendance with class cohorts of up to 15 students, alternating between attending classes in-person and online instruction. All school staff and students in grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical masks or face coverings. Parents will continue to have the option to enroll their children in remote delivery. The Health Department has well established relationships with area schools and school boards. Health Department staff is committed to continue working with local schools and school boards to support planning and implementation of protective measures, to ensure the health and safety of staff and students in our area schools. We recognize that parents have many questions about how safety measures will be implemented at their children’s schools. We are engaged with our provincial partners and will share new information with our community partners and residents as it becomes available.
July 30, 2020
The Health Department continues to identify new and innovative ways to keep area residents informed about the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Today, we have released the report COVID-19 in Durham Region, Epi Summary 1 – Describing the Pandemic. This report is a snapshot of the epidemiology of COVID-19 activity in Durham Region from its beginning on Feb. 24 to June 18, prior to entering Stage 2 of the government’s reopening framework on June 19. The report presents information about confirmed cases in Durham Region, explains relevant terminology, and includes details of how public health analyzes and uses the information. Readers can review : key highlights; a summary of cases over time; a detailed explanation of institutional outbreaks; a summary of case demographics; an explanation of how public health determines exposure source; and, an overview of case severity and outcomes. As the community reopens, the Health Department must continue to collect, review and share data to mitigate risks and help control the spread of illness. We are committed to keeping area residents informed throughout the pandemic. Future epi summaries will provide additional information about changes over time and demographics.
July 28, 2020
Today, I issued updated instructions to expand the use of mandatory face coverings to all indoor, enclosed public spaces throughout Durham Region. These instructions are an extension of the directions provided on July 6 and are issued to help with efforts to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Although many members of our community are currently wearing face coverings as outlined in my instructions from July 6, there continues to be a risk for increased cases of COVID-19 in the community during Stage 3. Mandatory face coverings in indoor, enclosed public spaces during Stage 3 will help us to continue to reduce the risk of increased spread of illness and aligns with other regions and municipalities, and other public health units. Indoor, enclosed public spaces include any spaces open to the public where the public interact with each other and with staff of these establishments. These spaces include places where goods and services are sold, municipal facilities, including libraries, indoor attractions, event spaces, indoor entertainment facilities, athletic facilities, dining establishments, and private transportation services. Some establishments have separate guidelines and regulations and are not included in these instructions, such as schools, childcare centres, day camps, places of worship, hospitals, offices not open to members of the public, and outdoor spaces. The Health Department will focus enforcement activities on educating community members about the mandatory requirements for non-medical masks or face coverings. Business operators should make every effort to remind customers to wear a face covering, but also be mindful that some in our community may be unable to wear a face covering for very valid reasons. I ask all area residents and business operators to be respectful, work together and recognize that some people may be exempt from wearing a face covering for various reasons including health concerns, age or religious reasons. Business operators should not deny access to goods or services if a face covering cannot be worn, and no person is required to provide proof of exemption. Please remember to continue to practise physical distancing wherever possible even when wearing a face covering, and refer to Health Department resources on how to keep safe while using your non-medical face mask or face covering, choosing a proper non-medical face mask or face covering, and how to make a no sew mask.
July 23, 2020
On July 24, Durham Region can move into Stage 3 of the provincial government’s Framework for Reopening our Province. The province’s decision was made in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and was based on results of key public health indicators. In Stage 3, almost all businesses and public spaces can reopen with public health measures in place to protect staff and the public. Certain high-risk places and activities may not open during Stage 3 due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A complete list of places that can and cannot open in Stage 3 is available in A Framework for Reopening our Province : Stage 3. Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors. While gathering limits will be increased and residents will be able to get back to most regular activities, everyone must continue to follow public health advice, practise physical distancing and limit close contact to members of their social circle of no more than 10 people. Public health measures that residents can take to protect themselves and others (e.g. proper hand hygiene, staying home if feeling unwell, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces often, avoid touching one’s face, etc.) have not changed and are recommended to reduce the spread of germs. Please refer to Health Department resources on durham.ca/novelcoronavirus for actions you can continue to take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With everyone’s commitment and cooperation, we have seen progress across Durham Region and a decrease in the number of new cases of COVID-19. In Stage 3, we will need the continued commitment of all area residents to maintain these gains and prevent an increase in the spread of illness.
July 15, 2020
Currently, Durham Region is in Stage 2 of the government’s reopening framework and we may receive communication about movement to Stage 3 in the coming weeks. During Stage 2, we have seen many local businesses and workplaces reopen including restaurant patios, recreational water facilities, some personal service settings, malls and other area services. As the Region continues to reopen, we must all remember that the risk for the ongoing spread of illness remains. Area residents are asked to continue following public health advice to prevent a potential increase in COVID-19 spread in our community. The Health Department’s COVID-19 web page provides numerous resources that can help residents understand the status of COVID-19 activity in our Region, and the preventative measures that they can take to keep themselves and others safe. Residents can find : information about COVID-19 testing and accessing test results; up to date information on COVID-19 cases in Durham Region through the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker; a comprehensive Community Reopening Toolkit that includes guidance to residents and businesses to prepare for the safe reopening of our community; Section 22 class orders and special instructions that I have issued; information about non-medical masks and face coverings, and resources to help residents choose, make and use non-medical masks; up to date information about travel; and, additional facts about COVID-19. Through the various stages of reopening, please continue to stay informed, practise physical distancing, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wear a non-medical mask or face covering in commercial establishments. Please visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus regularly for the latest information, resources and tools so you can stay safe while getting back to your normal activities and routines.
July 9, 2020
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Durham Region Health Department had to close clinics and suspend many regular programs and services to ensure our capacity to respond to COVID-19, comply with provincial direction and ensure public safety. Now that the number of new cases of COVID-19 has been decreasing across the Region, the Health Department can begin to restore priority programs and services with protective measures in place to ensure the safety of clients and staff. The Health Department is pleased to advise residents that we are gradually restoring our clinical services. Clinical programs began to see clients on July 6 and we will slowly be increasing availability and the range of services throughout the summer. Services are now being provided at the Breastfeeding, Oral Health and Sexual Health clinics. Residents can call Durham Health Connection Line at 1-800-841-2729 to make an appointment. Currently, all clinic visits are by appointment only and walk-in patients will not be accepted at any location to help control the spread of COVID-19. Clients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, assessed regarding their appointment needs, and will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to all in-person clinic appointments. Our Infant and Child Development program will be providing virtual care to clients and the Immunization program will provide appointments for priority clients. The Health Department is also working hard to ensure delivery of priority health protection programs. West Nile virus surveillance activities began at the beginning of June and weekly adult mosquito surveillance results are provided on durham.ca. Public health inspectors have also been investigating all animal bites and scratches to prevent the spread of rabies to residents. The Health Department has completed 670 rabies investigations, so far this year. Public health inspections are also still focused on ensuring that required preventative measures to safeguard against COVID-19 have been implemented. As the Health Department begins to restore its programs and services, COVID-19 will continue to be a public health priority. We will continue to review new information, assess the risks to the public and will adjust our restoration plans as required.
July 7, 2020
While cases of COVID-19 are currently decreasing in Durham Region, the risk for the ongoing spread of illness remains as the Region continues to re-open. That is why I have issued instructions to commercial establishments, currently permitted to operate under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, Ontario Regulation 263/20 – Stage 2 Closures, to have a policy in place to prohibit people not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering from entering or remaining in the premises. The use of non-medical masks or face coverings in commercial establishments is an additional public health measure (along with physical distancing, hand and cough hygiene, and staying home when sick) that may prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the community. Non-medical masks or face coverings will be required in commercial establishments currently operating during Stage 2, while the provincial Emergency Orders remain in force. The Health Department will be taking a progressive enforcement approach to ensure compliance, with a focus on education. Residents can support local businesses by paying attention to signage and following instructions at commercial establishments. Both individuals and businesses who do not comply with the requirements may be fined. Please refer to the COVID-19 Fact Sheet for details on the commercial establishments included in the instructions, establishments that are excluded, and people that are exempt from wearing a non-medical mask or face covering in commercial establishments. A number of tools and resources have been developed to support commercial establishments and help residents to comply with requirements, including tips for choosing a proper non-medical face mask or face covering, how to make a no sew non-medical face mask or face covering and how to keep safe while using your non-medical face mask or face covering. Please continue to be vigilant and follow public health advice as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
July 2, 2020
Across the province, there has been an increasing number of COVID-19 outbreaks at agricultural workplaces employing temporary foreign workers (TFWs). TFWs play a vital role in our agricultural industry and provide essential support to local farm owners/operators. As TFWs may be living in shared seasonal accommodations with limited opportunity for physical distancing, they can be at increased risk of illness from COVID-19. On June 24, I issued a class order, under the authority of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, that will strengthen our ability to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of our essential food sector workers. The class order is a legal tool to help ensure that agricultural farm owners/operators and staff comply with the directions set out in the order. Farm owners/operators who employ TFWs are required to implement public health measures and take actions listed in the order to minimize the risks to health for those they employ. In addition to the class order, Region of Durham Paramedic Services has been working hard to collect swabs for testing from TFWs to support our surveillance testing efforts. The surveillance testing will help to proactively prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the temporary foreign worker and agricultural worker populations. Detailed resources have also been developed to provide information to farm owners/operators and TFWs about precautions they should take in response to COVID-19. The Health Department is continuing to fight the spread of COVID-19 across Durham Region and is working to help protect vulnerable populations in our community.
June 30, 2020
health system capacity, public health capacity, and laboratory testing for COVID-19. For each of the indicators, users can see if Durham Region is meeting the goal, approaching the goal, or does not meet the goal. Details on the definition of each indicator are available in the Technical Notes on the Data Tracker. whereas the other data reported on the Data Tracker continue to be updated daily. The data are continuously reviewed and discussed with community partners to help inform local planning. Please continue to visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus regularly for the latest information, resources and tools to help keep yourself and your family safe as the province begins to reopen.
June 25, 2020
With the arrival of summer and the opening of local public beaches, it is understandable that area residents will want to spend time enjoying the water. While current research shows that the risk of COVID-19 transmission from recreational waters is very low, we know that COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when in close contact with others. In public spaces, including while swimming, playing and relaxing at the beach, it is very important for residents to practise physical distancing and stay at least two metres (six feet) away from anyone outside of their household or social circle. Residents are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 if physical distancing is maintained while in the water and on the shore. Before heading to the beach, ensure that you are prepared : check the Durham Region Weekly Beach Report; self-screen to check for any COVID-19 symptoms; pack alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60 per cent alcohol) and disinfectant wipes to be used during your beach visit; and, consider taking a bag with you to easily and quickly dispose of your garbage. Please follow instructions and respect signage at the beach. Changes will be implemented to protect beachgoers and facilitate physical distancing and proper hand hygiene where possible. For more information, refer to the Health Department’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Public Beaches. Please stay home if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or you have been in close contact with anyone who has been sick with the virus. We encourage area residents to enjoy outdoor activities while using personal protective measures and staying safe.
June 23, 2020
While it may appear that things are beginning to get back to normal within Durham Region, we must continue to remind ourselves that our fight is not over. Due to everyone’s collective efforts and taking actions like practising physical distancing, wearing a mask when physical distancing is a challenge, frequent handwashing, staying at home when feeling unwell, and keeping high touch surfaces clean, we have seen a decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases across Durham Region. As more area businesses and services reopen and a greater number of residents are out within the community, it is more important than ever to continue to take actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Handwashing and physical distancing continue to be some of the most effective strategies to protect yourselves and others. At this time, people in Durham Region are also strongly encouraged to wear a non-medical mask or face covering if physical distancing is not possible. Please refer to Health Department resources for tips for choosing a proper non-medical mask and how to keep safe while using your non-medical mask. The Health Department continues to evaluate the latest evidence and considers all options, based on provincial information and the local context to provide area residents with public health advice that will help keep everyone safe.
June 18, 2020
The province announced that Durham Region can move to Stage 2 of the government’s reopening framework on June 19. Stage 2 allows for the reopening of many businesses and workplaces including restaurant patios, recreational water facilities, some personal service settings, malls and other area services. A complete list of businesses and facilities that can open is available at ontario.ca. Dates and approaches to reopening may vary based on our community’s local needs and the ability of each business or service to meet workplace safety guidelines and public health advice. Clients and consumers will see many changes in the way services are provided. Local businesses will depend on the continued support and cooperation of their clients to ensure everyone’s safety. The Health Department has compiled information in a Community Reopening Toolkit intended to provide guidance to residents and businesses to prepare for the safe reopening of our community. All area residents and businesses are encouraged to review the information in the Toolkit to familiarize themselves with actions they can take to protect themselves, their clients and their staff. It is important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and community spread is still occurring. If you have any symptoms or if you have been in close contact with someone who is sick or has COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or if you have returned from travel outside of Canada, STOP, go home, self-isolate and consult Health Department resources to determine next steps. Please continue to practise physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
June 16, 2020
Practising physical distancing continues to be a key strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Thank you to all area residents and community partners that have been working hard to follow public health advice to help keep community members healthy and safe. Everyone’s cooperative efforts have helped us to move past the peak of COVID-19 infection in Durham Region. Now that we are beginning to see a decrease in the number of new cases reported in our Region, we can broaden the number of individuals with whom we maintain close contact. The provincial government is encouraging people throughout Ontario to establish a social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing. This means that residents may be able to hug, touch and be close with family and friends outside their immediate household, which will support the mental health and well-being of all residents.
- Start with the people you live with or who regularly come into your household
- If there are less than 10 people that you currently live with or come into your home regularly, you may add family members, friends or other households to your circle
- All members of a social circle should agree that they will be part of your social circle and no other social circle
- To ensure safety of your social circle, practise physical distancing with any individual outside of your circle; and,
- No one should be part of more than one social circle
Remember that everyone in a household must be part of the same social circle.
The provincial government has developed a step-by-step guide on creating a social circle during COVID-19. If someone in the social circle begins to feel unwell, the individual must immediately self-isolate and should inform other members of the circle. Individuals that may have been exposed to COVID-19 can arrange to get tested by completing the Lakeridge Health online assessment form. Please stay informed, be vigilant and follow public health advice as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.
June 11, 2020
As the provincial government gradually begins to ease restrictions, Durham Region residents will need to continue to be vigilant and take protective public health measures to prevent themselves and others from becoming ill. the provincial government released an expanded testing plan which includes: asymptomatic, risk-based testing; targeted testing for vulnerable populations; and, ongoing testing to respond to and manage outbreaks. Testing and contact tracing help us to understand transmission. Residents who are symptomatic (people with at least one symptom of COVID-19, even mild and atypical symptoms), residents who are asymptomatic (people with no symptoms but who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19) and individuals who are at risk of exposure in their workplace, can get tested. Testing for COVID-19 is through an upper respiratory tract specimen (nasopharyngeal swab, nasal swab and/or viral throat swab) to test for the presence of the virus. Residents who would like to be tested for COVID-19 must complete the Lakeridge Health online assessment form. Once the form is submitted, the Assessment Centre will respond and provide further instructions. The Assessment Centre does not accept walk-in clients. It is always important to remember that a test will only provide a point-in-time result. Residents exposed to COVID-19 following a negative test may develop symptoms and may need to be tested again. If you have been tested and you develop symptoms at a later time, you must immediately self-isolate to prevent others from becoming ill. All residents, even those with negative test results, must continue to practise physical distancing, wash their hands often and take additional public health precautions, such as using a face covering (non-medical mask) when physical distancing may not be possible, to keep themselves, their families, colleagues and community members healthy and safe.
June 9, 2020
With the help of Region of Durham Paramedic Services, and the support of our local partners including group homes, retirement homes, shelters and our Social Services colleagues, 3,140 swabs for testing have been collected from residents and staff, as of June 8. In addition, thanks to the collaborative efforts of our administrative services staff, paramedics. we have successfully completed surveillance activities at over 50 facilities. We hope that the enhanced surveillance testing will help to protect vulnerable populations in our community.
June 4, 2020
While some restrictions are slowly being lifted and more businesses and services are identifying ways to reopen safely, the work of the Health Department continues to be focused on COVID-19. We are now seeing that there is an overall decrease of new cases reported in the community, but we did see a small increase over the past week and data show that community spread is still occurring. That’s why our focus continues to be on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Staff remains committed to providing support across Durham Region to ensure that all sectors and residents have the information they need to continue to protect themselves and their families. Over the past few weeks, the Health Department has implemented : enhanced surveillance testing and has supported testing of all staff and residents in long-term care homes and staff in emergency childcare centres; Region of Durham Paramedic Services is obtaining nasal swabs from retirement homes and other congregate settings; a new Community Reopening Toolkit was launched on May 29; there have been a number of enhancements to the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker, including detailed information on institutional outbreaks and cases reported by exposure source; and, staff continues to focus on case and contact management and consistently exceeds the provincial target of contacting 90 per cent of newly identified cases within 24 hours. The Infographic which highlights some of the Health Department’s COVID-19 response activities and achievements to date has been updated. While we are working on a plan for restoring Health Department programs and services, COVID-19 will continue to be a priority. We remain committed to protecting the health and safety of area residents and will continue to keep our community informed of public health measures that will help to further decrease the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Durham Region.
June 2, 2020
The provincial government continues to ease restrictions and more businesses and services are opening in Durham Region. As businesses and services begin to reopen, every precaution should be taken to ensure the health and safety of the community and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Health Department has launched a new online resource to provide businesses and the community with information on the various stages of reopening of services as announced by the provincial government. The Community Reopening Toolkit is designed to help users navigate through resources from numerous organizations that are providing information to help with the requirements of reopening businesses and services. Information in the Community Reopening Toolkit includes links to resources from a variety of industry agencies and numerous guidance documents for sector-specific businesses and services. The Health Department has also created downloadable resources – such as signage and flyers – which can be used by businesses and services to help them plan and understand the requirements for reopening services and amenities. The toolkit will be constantly updated as new openings and phases are announced and obsolete information will be removed. To access the Community Reopening Toolkit, visit durham.ca/reopeningtoolkit.
May 29, 2020
Our advice to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community continues to be to stay home as much as possible and practice physical distancing. Thank you to everyone who is doing their part and only going out when necessary. You are helping us to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in Durham Region. At the same time, residents should also pay attention to their health and any symptoms that require urgent attention. Residents should always call 911 if they are in medical distress and need urgent care. Emergency departments, paramedics and 911 services are continuing to respond to medical emergencies. The Region of Durham Paramedic Services has implemented numerous measures to ensure the safety of patients who require transport to hospital, as well as the paramedics providing care. Local hospitals have also taken precautions and implemented changes to ensure the safety of patients such as frequent cleaning, staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), frequent hand-washing, separate care areas for patients with COVID-19 and screening at emergency room entrances. Some of the signs that may indicate a medical emergency include : unconsciousness, lack of breathing, or lack of pulse; chest pain or discomfort; severe pain; shortness of breath or dizziness; choking; broken bones; severe bleeding; trouble seeing or speaking; sudden, severe headaches; and sudden weakness, numbness, or tingling in the face, arms or legs. If you are in medical distress and need urgent care and have symptoms of COVID-19, call 911 and let the operator know that you may have COVID-19. This will ensure that paramedics arriving on scene can take appropriate precautions. For more information on when to call 911, please visit the Emergency Services web page on durham.ca.
May 28, 2020
This week, May 25-29, is Privacy Awareness Week. This is a global effort to promote awareness of privacy issues and the importance of the protection of personal information. This year’s Privacy Awareness Week arrived during both uncertain and unprecedented times. Durham Region Health Department, much like many health care providers around the world, is learning to adapt and respond to the very serious challenges presented by COVID-19. As circumstances are changing rapidly, the demand for timely and relevant information requires that we adjust to new ways of operating. We understand that personal health information needs to be shared to prevent and manage COVID-19, and that public health concerns are front of mind in this current pandemic. The Health Department is also aware of its role in supporting public trust and confidence in the handling of such information, and our Health Information, Privacy and Security (HIPS) team work very hard to maintain that public trust and confidence. In taking steps to manage the pandemic, the Health Department has implemented information handling practices to :
- Address an increase in requests for access to personal health information
- Share aggregate information with other health care providers
- Provide insightful information relating to the outbreak in Durham Region through our COVID-19 Data Tracker
- Enable health care providers to report outbreak information electronically to the Health Department
- Enable staff to access lab test results to facilitate timely follow-up
- Implement reasonable and appropriate safeguards for sending and receiving personal health information
On-going and annual training and awareness in privacy and information security for all Health Department staff helps keep us abreast of developments in appropriate safeguards, and equips us with the information we need to confidently and correctly handle personal health information. This is all very important work of the HIPS team as they continue to ensure the protection and care of our community’s personal health information.
May 25, 2020
COVID-19 has also created added strain on paramedic services, as paramedics need to be careful not to expose themselves to the virus and risk spreading it to others in the community. This means wearing numerous kinds of personal protective equipment (PPE) several times per shift, which is necessary to protect both paramedics and members of our community. In addition, the diligent work of the logistics and operational support staff, who work behind the scenes everyday, is imperative to ensure our paramedics are able to provide the best service to the residents of Durham Region. As key members of first responders, all members of RDPS play a vital role in the response to COVID-19 and I thank them all for their ongoing commitment to our community during these challenging times.
May 21, 2020
On May 13, the case definition for COVID-19 was updated to include multisystem inflammatory vasculitis as an atypical presentation in children. This inflammatory illness has recently been reported in a small number of children worldwide in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the symptoms associated with this illness include persistent fever, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms (including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea), as well as rash. This multisystem inflammatory vasculitis has symptoms that may also occur in Kawasaki disease (an illness that causes inflammation of the arteries). Parents should contact their health care providers if their children experience these symptoms. Residents may have also heard of COVID toes in the media, which refers to skin findings observed in some individuals with COVID-19, characterized by swollen, painful and/or itchy lesions on the feet, toes and fingers. At this time, the Ontario Ministry of Health guidance has not identified COVID toes as an atypical symptom in children. If you have concerns about your child’s health, contact your health care provider. Please continue to follow public health advice to protect yourself and your children from COVID-19. Continue to practice physical distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water, avoid touching your face and keep surfaces clean and disinfected. If you experience symptoms, please stay home and if your symptoms worsen, seek clinical assessment by either completing an online self-assessment, or contacting Durham Health Connection Line, Telehealth Ontario or your health care provider. We are committed to sharing up to date information and advice to help keep residents healthy and safe. Please continue to visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus for resources and tools relevant to our community, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.
May 19, 2020
The Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA), one of Durham Region’s community partners, will re-open conservation areas on May 20. CLOCA has many beautiful conservation areas throughout Durham Region to enjoy, and it is very important for our health and well-being to remain active, get outdoors and appreciate nature. the risk of COVID-19 spread remains in the community. We ask that visitors follow physical distancing guidelines and use personal protective measures to protect themselves and others from becoming ill. We remind all visitors to : not gather in groups and avoid crowded places; limit close contact with individuals outside your household, both in indoor and outdoor spaces; stay at least two metres (six feet) away from other people; greet others from a distance with a wave or a nod; pay attention to physical barriers in place to ensure physical distancing; avoid touching your face; keep hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands often; cover your sneeze with a tissue and immediately throw the tissue in the garbage, practice hand hygiene and if you do not have a tissue, sneeze into your sleeve or arm; use contactless payment systems and avoid handling money as much as possible; and wash your hands with soap and water at the first opportunity. Please remember to stay home if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or you have been in close contact with anyone who has been sick with the virus. As the government continues to ease restrictions, residents should stay informed by visiting durham.ca/novelcoronavirus, often and referring to the most current and credible public health information and recommendations available from the Province of Ontario, Public Health Ontario, Government of Canada and World Health Organization.
May 15, 2020
The provincial government has begun to ease restrictions on businesses in a staged approach. Residents will be able to visit additional seasonal, retail and household businesses, as well as participate in some seasonal services and activities. Please visit the Province of Ontario for the most up to date information. it is critical that we all continue to maintain physical distancing, wash our hands frequently, clean high-touch surfaces often, and follow instructions when accessing services. As businesses begin to re-open, residents will see many changes in the way that services are provided, such as minimized use of cash transactions, needing to make appointments for service or pick-up, and being asked to remain in one’s car for curbside pick-up transactions. Since there is still a risk of COVID-19 spread in the community, these changes are crucial to maintain the health and safety of employees and clients. The Health Department is committed to supporting local businesses by providing advice on measures they can implement to operate in a safe way. If we all work together and support each other during this transition period, then we will all be able to get back to our normal routines and the activities we enjoy sooner. Please continue to stay informed, follow instructions and stay home when possible, so we can decrease the number of new COVID-19 cases in our community.
May 13, 2020
The Health Department’s COVID-19 response to reduce the spread of illness and protect the health and safety of area residents is a true team effort. Our response has benefited from the expertise of administrative support staff, epidemiologists, nurses, paramedics and public health inspectors. Our administrative support staff has been instrumental in helping to manage resources. The team has assembled more than 4,700 testing kits for use by community partners. The epidemiologists have developed the informative and interactive Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker to provide residents with detailed information on the status of COVID-19 in our community. Our nurses have been working hard to respond to all inquiries, support residents that have tested positive for COVID-19 and follow contacts of confirmed cases. In addition to responding to ongoing emergency requests for service throughout our community, Region of Durham Paramedic Services has provided significant support to the COVID-19 response by obtaining nasal swabs for testing from area residents, emergency child care centre staff and long-term care residents and staff. Our public health inspectors have been essential in managing outbreaks in facilities and conducting investigations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. While most of our staff in Oral Health and Infant and Child Development has not been working in their regular program areas, their assistance has been essential as they have been redeployed to provide much needed support with work on COVID-19. Our talented Community and Resource Development team that works very hard to keep residents informed every day, has prepared an Infographic which highlights some of the Health Department’s COVID-19 response activities and achievements to date. Every Health Department staff member has a vital role in helping to keep residents informed, healthy and safe, and I am very appreciative of their hard work and enduring commitment.
May 12, 2020
Today on International Nurses Day, I acknowledge the unwavering commitment, highly effective collaboration, expertise and care demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 response by our nurses who work in public health. As the need for resources to address COVID-19 grew, our nurses across all programs immediately responded. They changed their schedules, shifted gears, received training and jumped in to provide support to residents and local partners. The Health Department has a team of highly skilled nurses who have been working with their colleagues to keep residents and local stakeholders informed, support residents who are ill and protect those at risk of becoming ill. Over the past three months, our nurses have completed more than 48,000 phone interactions with residents and community partners, managed more than 1,100 COVID-19 cases, followed almost 2,200 contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and completed more than 14,000 nursing assessments to determine if further medical intervention is required. Our nurses are excellent listeners and skilled problem-solvers who work to understand the unique experiences and challenges faced by area residents. Our nurses also work collaboratively with colleagues across the Health Department to ensure a coordinated response utilizing the experience, expertise and skills of our diverse staff. As key members of the Health Department team, our nurses have played a vital role in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we will continue to rely on them to help us through this challenging time.
May 7, 2020
The spread of COVID-19 in the Region’s long-term care homes continues to be a very serious concern and we have been working with our long-term care partners to implement outbreak control measures to prevent further illness. In addition to measures already implemented to help reduce the risks for long-term care residents and staff, the Health Department and local partners have mobilized resources to conduct surveillance testing for all staff and residents in long-term care homes, and staff in emergency child care centres by May 15, in accordance with provincial direction. The enhanced surveillance testing will help to further understand the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes and will help to proactively prevent the spread of COVID-19 in local emergency child care centres. This significant undertaking involves a collaborative approach which can only be achieved with the efforts and support of our local partners including long-term care homes, child care centres, Lakeridge Health, and our Social Services colleagues. I am thankful for an excellent team of administrative services staff. and I am grateful for the highly skilled paramedics that are supporting COVID-19 response activities and conducting testing where needed. Thanks to the support of our local partners and coordinated efforts of everyone, we anticipate that our surveillance activities will be completed within the provincial timeline and we hope that the enhanced surveillance testing will help to protect vulnerable populations in our community.
May 5, 2020
On April 25, the Ontario government announced that community and allotment gardens can be used across the province. This announcement recognizes that these gardens are an essential source of fresh food for individuals and families, including those who face food insecurity. Any person who uses community and allotment gardens in Durham Region must do so in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Health Department. We are very supportive of these invaluable community initiatives and we are working closely with our community partners, such as the Durham Integrated Growers for a Sustainable Community (DIG), to provide advice, instructions and recommendations regarding the safe use of community and allotment gardens to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the community. Please refer to the Health Department’s guidance document Community & Allotment Gardens During COVID-19 for residents and community partners, and follow instructions to use and operate these gardens in a safe manner.
May 1, 2020
The Health Department has been actively involved in COVID-19 response activities since before the first case was confirmed in Canada. As COVID-19 began to spread rapidly across the globe, the Health Department mobilized its resources and began implementing measures identified in the Health Department Emergency Master Plan. Some of the Health Department’s pandemic response activities include : assessment and surveillance; case management and contact tracing; communication; development and implementation of new policies and procedures; documentation and reporting; facilitating testing; and, response to inquiries. Throughout the pandemic, we have ensured ongoing collaboration with local community partners. We are thankful for the support from our community partners who have helped us to coordinate activities and resources to keep residents safe and informed. Using the latest evidence and recommendations received from provincial partners, our staff has developed communications, guidance documents and resources for local stakeholders and the public. Resources are continually updated as we learn more about COVID-19. Our public health nurses continue to work closely with residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to help identify potential risk for their family members, friends or other community members who may have had contact with these individuals. By assessing the risk of exposure to others, contacting community members that may have been exposed, and providing instructions and information about next steps and self-isolation, our staff work to minimize the further spread of COVID-19 in the community. The COVID-19 situation is continually evolving and new information is being shared by the provincial and federal governments daily. At this time, the risk to the community from COVID-19 is ongoing. We are committed to keeping residents and local partners informed of the status of COVID-19 in Durham Region. You can read a detailed summary of the Health Department’s COVID-19 response activities to date in the most recent Durham Regional Council Information Package.
April 29, 2020
During this time of stress and uncertainty, it is critical that we take actions within our control to stay mentally and physically strong. Choosing nutritious foods and practicing healthy eating habits will give your body the nutrients it needs to maintain and promote good mental and physical health. While we encourage residents to limit their trips to the grocery store to once a week, we also encourage you to continue to make healthy choices when meal planning and shopping. It can sometimes be difficult to be mindful of our eating habits when spending more time at home, but we can take this opportunity to plan what we eat and cook more healthy and nutritious meals. When grocery shopping, remember to buy plenty of fruits and vegetables, choose whole grain foods and choose protein foods that come from plant sources, like beans and lentils, more often. Our Healthy Eating web page has several resources to help you make healthy food choices and practice healthy eating habits. There is also information on cooking on a budget and budget-wise recipes which may help residents who are living with lower incomes at this time. Please visit the COVID-19 Community Resources web page if you or your neighbours need help in accessing healthy foods.
April 27, 2020
Over the past few weeks the Health Department has received many good questions about how COVID-19 is transmitted and the risks to the public in community settings, such as grocery stores. Scientists continue to study this virus and its characteristics, and are learning more every day. Public health professionals use the latest scientific evidence to provide the best advice possible to politicians, decision-makers and the public. Current evidence shows that the most common person-to person transmission of COVID-19 occurs via infectious respiratory droplets, which are produced when someone coughs, sneezes or speaks. The respiratory droplets are heavy and fall to surfaces quickly. The virus enters a person’s body by respiratory droplets containing the virus that adhere to mucous membranes of a person’s eyes, nose or mouth. An uninfected person can come into contact with these respiratory droplets either through close contact with someone who is infected, or by touching a surface or an object contaminated with the virus and then proceeding to touch one’s eyes, nose or mouth. The amount of time that the virus survives on surfaces varies depending on the surface itself and environmental conditions; the current range is between hours to days. This is why it is very important that we all continue to practice physical distancing by keeping at least two metres (six feet) away from others, wash our hands often and clean areas that are touched frequently (such as doorknobs). Please be aware that wearing gloves or non-medical masks alone will not protect you if you do not practice proper hand hygiene and proceed to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. If residents choose to wear gloves at a grocery store, touch an infected surface and then proceed to rub their eyes with their glove, there is a serious risk of infection. In health care settings where aerosol-generating procedures are performed on an infected person, such as intubation, the procedures can generate airborne-spread which can scatter the virus further in the air and can be inhaled. Medical professionals must wear appropriate personal protective equipment when performing medical procedures and coming in contact with patients. You can stay informed about the latest evidence regarding COVID-19 by visiting the Government of Canada, Public Health Ontario and World Health Organization. Staying informed and following the advice of public health professionals is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill.
April 24, 2020
The current conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic such as boredom, drastic changes in routines, increased stress, isolation, job loss and uncertainty can lead to an increase in alcohol and cannabis use. The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction commissioned a Nanos poll which shows that many Canadians are drinking more while at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Drinking alcohol and consuming cannabis have many immediate and long-term health risks. Immediate effects of alcohol can include loss of judgement, falls and injuries, and alcohol poisoning. Long-term risks include cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke; drinking as little as one drink a day increases a person’s risk for seven different types of cancer. Health risks associated with regular or heavy cannabis use include problems with thinking, memory or co-ordination, impairment leading to injuries, hallucinations, mental health problems, and breathing or lung problems associated with smoking. While you are focusing efforts to protect yourself, your loved ones and community members from COVID-19, please be aware of other actions and behaviours which may increase risks to your health. You can visit our Alcohol and Cannabis web pages for tips and resources to help protect your health from the risks of alcohol and cannabis.
April 22, 2020
Many of you have asked the Health Department for more information to help you understand the status of the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We continue to identify new and improved ways to keep residents informed so that we all have the information we need to be able to fight COVID-19 together. In my previous message about long-term care homes and retirement homes. Today, I am sharing how we have enhanced the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker to provide residents with detailed information on the status of COVID-19 in local hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes. The enhancements provide information on current outbreaks in the Region and allow you to view case statistics by facility and facility type. You will also be able to see when an outbreak in a facility is declared over. We continually discuss these data with our hospital, long-term care home and retirement home partners to identify where we need to focus on mitigating risks and where greater support is needed to manage outbreaks and prevent further illness. The information on the Data Tracker is updated daily and can be accessed at durham.ca/covidcases. Please visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus for resources and tools relevant to our community, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates so that you have the information and knowledge to keep yourself and your family safe.
April 20, 2020
We understand that this is a very difficult and stressful time for families who have loved ones living in long-term care and retirement homes. Residents in long-term care and retirement homes are some of the most vulnerable members of our community, and are at significantly greater risk of becoming ill from COVID-19 and suffering serious health consequences. Our heart felt condolences are extended to those who have lost family members and friends to COVID-19. The health and safety of all residents, including those in our area long-term care and retirement homes, are our top priority. Health Department staff has been working with long-term care and retirement homes to provide guidance and information that can help to reduce the risks for both residents and staff of these homes. We have been supporting long-term care and retirement homes to implement outbreak control measures including following Ministry of Health directives, supporting appropriate use of personal protective equipment, increasing environmental sanitation, cleaning and disinfection, emphasizing the importance of hand hygiene amongst residents and staff, and we maintain daily contact with homes to provide additional public health support as needed. We respond to requests quickly, facilitate testing when needed and ensure that results are received as soon as possible.
April 16, 2020
For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any event we have experienced before. It is a very stressful time for all and sadly for some within our community, the challenges and hardships are far greater than they are for others. Taking care of our mental health is very important during this difficult time because good mental health helps us to cope with life’s stresses. Some of the things you can do to improve your mental health are eating a healthy diet, finding opportunities to be physically active and getting enough sleep. Please visit our Mental Health web page for more information and resources to support adults’, children’s and teens’ mental health. The Province of Ontario has provided a list of mental health and addictions services that are accessible online or by phone to support children, youth and adults who may be experiencing anxiety, stress and other mental health challenges, and for individuals who are unable to access their regular in-person counselling supports. Please take care of your mental health and reach out if you need help.
April 14, 2020
Thank you to everyone who is doing their part to stay home, as much as possible, and only going out when necessary. You are helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. While we ask residents to only go out when necessary, it is still very important for our health and well-being to keep physically active. Many of us are now working from home and children have been out of school for four weeks. It is very easy to spend too much time being inactive while sitting for long periods and playing video games, reading, working at a desk, using a computer, or watching television. Remember to stand or stretch at least every 30 minutes to help reduce your sedentary time. Even though it is quite challenging to meet recommended activity levels at this time, there are resources that can help provide some ideas on being active while at home. You can visit our Physical Activity web page to get ideas for being active indoors, such as playing active games, cleaning or putting on some music and dancing. The World Health Organization has also provided suggestions for being active during the COVID-19 pandemic. Going for a run or walk in your neighbourhood is still a good option to keep physically active, but only if you can practice physical distancing and keep at least two metres (six feet) away from others when outside.
April 9, 2020
With increasing numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in communities across the country, governments and public health experts are continually identifying additional actions that we can all take to protect ourselves and others from becoming ill. As the situation evolves, we are also learning more about the virus everyday. We must all continue to follow instructions and wash our hands often, practice physical distancing if we must go out, avoid touching our faces, clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces frequently and self-isolate if we feel unwell. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has now advised that wearing a non-medical mask, such as a homemade cloth mask, is an additional measure that we can take to protect others in our community from becoming ill. Non-medical masks can help to reduce the risk of others coming into contact with respiratory droplets. Please refer to additional information on wearing a mask posted at durham.ca/novelcoronavirus and follow recommendations by PHAC on how to do so safely.
April 8, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold globally, we have been inundated with information from a variety of sources such as television, radio and social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). With so much material available to us, it is sometimes difficult to separate accurate information from false information. It is very important to stay informed and up to date with the most credible evidence possible so that you can protect yourself and others in our community. We continue to share information with you as it is available. In addition to our web page, durham.ca/novelcoronavirus, and online resources, please be sure to refer only to credible sources of information such as the Province of Ontario, Public Health Ontario, Government of Canada and World Health Organization. Staying informed and following the direction and guidance of reliable sources is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community and #FlattenThe Curve.
April 7, 2020
We know that COVID-19 is spreading throughout our community and residents with no travel history or known direct contact with positive cases are getting ill. I have now taken more progressive action to protect the health of Durham Region residents. Using my legal authority under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, I have issued an order that requires anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19, or anyone who has had contact with someone who has COVID-19, to self-isolate for 14 days or longer, if directed by public health staff. Those that do not follow this order can face a fine of up to $5,000 a day. For more information and certain exceptions, please visit durham.ca/novelcoronavirus. We have seen around the world how fast this virus can spread. We must all work together to keep each other healthy and safe. Please do your part and stay home when you have been instructed to self-isolate.
April 6, 2020
It’s spring time and we’re finally starting to see milder temperatures. Understandably, everyone wants to spend time outside; but during these unprecedented times, we all must remember to keep our distance when going outside. On March 30, the Government of Ontario extended the Declaration of Emergency and issued a new emergency order to close all outdoor recreational amenities such as playgrounds and sports fields. Social gatherings of more than five people are also prohibited at this time. To protect yourselves and the health of our children, please respect the provincial orders and do not use play structures, basketball courts or any outdoor recreational amenities. When going outside for a walk, keep at least two metres (6 feet) away from others and remind your children to do the same. We all need to do our part to #FlattenTheCurve and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
April 3, 2020
so that residents are better informed of the status of COVID-19 in our community. Our new dashboard, the Durham Region COVID-19 Data Tracker, shows the number of COVID-19 cases in Durham Region by status (home isolation, hospitalized, resolved, deceased), municipality, age and gender. This resource also displays the number of new cases and cumulative cases by reported date and onset date, and is a very useful tool to keep up-to-date on the Health Department’s COVID-19 response. This information will help us to see if our actions such as social/physical distancing and self-isolation are helping to "flatten the curve", or if we need to do more. The information on the dashboard will be updated daily. Please visit us at durham.ca/novelcoronavirus often and follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates. The COVID-19 Data Tracker was created with the assistance of the Region of Durham’s Corporate Services – Information Technology Division and the Data, Mapping & Graphics Group within the Planning & Economic Development Department.
April 2, 2020
Please protect yourself and others by self-isolating if you have been instructed to do so. Self-isolating will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to your loved ones and within our community. Anyone who begins to feel unwell (fever, new cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing), is returning from travel, or has been given instructions to self-isolate by their health care provider, public health, or their workplace must self-isolate for at least 14 days. It is also recommended that anyone over 70-years old and individuals who are immunocompromised should self-isolate to protect themselves. Self-isolating means staying home and avoiding all contact with others. This means not even leaving your home to get essentials from the pharmacy or your local grocery store. If you find yourself in this situation, reach out to a family member, neighbour or friend to pick up a few essential items or ask your local pharmacy about delivery options for necessary prescription medication. Remember to keep at least two metres (six feet) away from individuals who are delivering essentials to you. Please visit Durham Region’s COVID-19 Community Resources for a list of community agencies that can support residents who are alone or need help.
April 1, 2020
While the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any situation we have experienced before, our emergency planning and pandemic preparedness activities have helped to ensure that we are ready to respond to this public health emergency. We have a robust Emergency Master Plan, highly-skilled, trained and knowledgeable staff, and strong partnerships within the community which have helped us mobilize and coordinate our resources to keep community members informed and safe. We are always learning from our experiences and make the necessary adjustments and improvements to protect the health of our residents. Although our efforts are currently focused on managing and responding to COVID-19, we continue to act on critical public health concerns, health hazards and other infectious and communicable disease outbreaks. We constantly assess our capacity and resource needs to ensure continuity of essential services. The health and safety of Durham Region residents is our number one priority.
March 31, 2020
The health and safety of Durham Region residents is our number one priority. At the Health Department, staff are working very hard to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Durham Region. We do this by keeping local residents and community partners informed. facilitating testing for priority individuals, responding to inquiries, and developing health education resources. We also provide advice to Region of Durham and local area municipalities based on evidence, federal/provincial guidelines and local data, so that municipal/community leaders can make the important decisions that will help protect the health and well-being of our community. The situation not only changes daily, but often hourly. We continue to be engaged with our provincial partners so that we can share important information with residents as quickly as possible, to ensure that we continue to support you in this time of uncertainty.